How to Participate
Sierra Bounty is currently run entirely by volunteers. From harvesting produce for the Access to Healthy Food program, to helping out on the farms, we have a team of committed volunteers working to make a strong local foods economy in the Eastern Sierra possible. Through and with our volunteers we seek to promote awareness about issues of food, access, hunger, and agriculture in the Eastern Sierra. Sierra Bounty also mentors motivated individuals to design and implement their own projects in support of local agriculture in the Eastern Sierra.
Following is a list of the Sierra Bounty farms:
Simis Ranch - Joel Ellis and Kristie Nelson have been farming full-time at the historic Simis Ranch, northwest of Mono Lake, since 2006. Kristie has a background in wildlife biology, and as a staff member of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, monitors California Gulls at Mono Lake. Joel worked over 10 years for the Inyo National Forest, also doing wildlife biology, and has lived and gardened on the Simis Ranch since 1993. Their vegetable garden is only about ¼ acre in size, around 10,000 square feet, but they attempt to utilize every square foot of soil through intensive double and triple-cropping. They also employ season-extending methods, such as low poly tunnels, cold frames, and even old wool blankets. They only use organic methods, although the garden isn’t certified as such. Crops that Simis Ranch produces for Sierra Bounty tend to be sturdy, cold-hardy ones, like potatoes, lettuces, spinach and arugula, onions, carrots, leeks, broccoli, kale, and shallots.
Seismic Gardens - Since 1994, Martin Freeman and Dori Cann have been tilling the soil below three 14,000-foot mountains in Big Pine. They take pride in the beautiful heirloom tomatoes growing in their colorful garden. They operate using three backyard gardens including those of two neighbors, who are happy to back the Freeman’s efforts to grow food for their community.
Apple Hill Ranch - Farmers Rick and Lauralee Devore have a large variety of apples, plumbs, peaches,pears, asian pears, nectars, cherries and all garden veggies. The ranch is open to the public 7 days a week from 7am to 5pm, and is located at 475 Sierra Grande in Wilkerson just south of Bishop,CA.
The Pumpkin Patch - Ken and Nancy Deboy purchased their one acre property in West Bishop about 40 years ago, so that their children and other 4-H members would have a place to raise animals. At the same time, they planted a large vegetable garden and a pumpkin patch on the property. The kids called the farm “The Pumpkin Patch." Though their garden is not certified organic, Ken and Nancy grow by organic standards. No chemical pesticides or fertilizers are used in their garden. The Pumpkin Patch is known for fresh gourmet garlic. This year Ken is growing 7 heirloom varieties. He also grows some of the best premium blackberries available in the area. Five varieties grow in the lush blackberry patches, and he is always on the look-out for other varieties to extend the berry season. Ken’s favorite things to grow in the garden are beautiful gladiolas and dahlias. For people who enjoy baking, Ken and Nancy grow several kinds of Heirloom Indian flour corn. After the corn is dried it is milled into cornmeal and corn flour, using a stone mill. Nancy also sprouts hard red winter wheat and soft white winter wheat and mills it into fresh flour. Nancy ’s real passion is her herb garden. Many varieties of sage, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sweet marjoram, garlic chives, chives, lavender and dill are sold fresh, often in an bouquet of mixed herbs. Other produce growing in the garden are varieties of very sweet cherry tomatoes, large tomatoes, paste tomatoes, several kinds of winter squash, pumpkins, large sweet onions, green beans, Chinese long beans, eggplant, beets, kale and Swiss chard.
Boyd Farming and Livestock - Marci Boyd is a third generation farmer from Fallon, Nevada where she was raised on her family’s hay farm/cattle ranch. Casey was born and raised on a small farm in Bishop with only a brief hiatus to Reno to pursue a degree in Rangeland Livestock Production. Both started gardening more seriously in 2009 to try and grow more food in an effort to provide local, sensibly raised products to the Eastern Sierra that are seasonably available in the Sierra cold-desert climate. They do not spray anything on their produce, and insecticides are not used. In 2010 they set out on a venture to provide a local grass fed meat, starting with pasture raised Dorper sheep and then added pastured poultry. Dorper and White Dorper sheep are a meat breed developed in Africa in the 1930s to thrive, and come to market weight on the range. Many breeders in the United States have selected these two breeds for specialized grass finishing operations.
Bishop Creek Farms - Bishop Creek Farms is a resurrection of the type of small farm found a century ago in the Owens Valley. Bruce Willey & Steve Baldwin have created a farm that unites community, land, and place. It is farm that proudly adheres to agrarian principles where smaller is smarter, local is fresher, and a quality harvest is the result of using farm practices that are both sustainable and economically viable.
They grow quality, organic produce using time-tested, sustainable methods to ensure care for the land and produce grown in the most healthy and purest way possible. No chemical fertilizers or herbicides, and wise water use are priority.