Recently the Santa Rosa Press Democrat featured an article about couples working together. Reporter Diane Peterson interviewed one of our fellow vendors from the West End Farmers Market in Santa Rosa and his wife. The discussion in the article was how couples are able to work together and the challenges and rewards that presents.
Corrie and Janet have worked together for over 30 years of their 35 year marriage. Starting in about 1985 Janet joined the dental practice that Corrie started as the only dental hygienist. Together they worked as partners in the practice, each bringing their skills and special talents to the enterprise while raising their three children, leading 4-H groups, coaching high school and travel softball and , of course, farming.
When Corrie sold the dental practice in 2008 Janet continued on part time as a hygienist to ease the transition. In 2010 they sold their 1120 acre almond, walnut and prune ranch in Tehama county and began farming their Sonoma County property full time.
The skills they had learned in the dental office have held them in good stead in the world of farming and farmers markets. The ability to communicate with customers, deal with sometimes demanding people and work together with each one specializing in an area of the operation, trusting the other to do their job well, are all skills they used in the dental office. They use their experience with infection control in their office every day as they oversee food safety on the farm. Planning and record keeping also are essential in both endeavors.
Both Corrie and Janet earned biochemistry degrees from UC Davis and bring their scientific backgrounds to problem solving on the farm. Long years of dealing with pests on a large farm have taught them that staying ahead of the problem is important. Using organic techniques requires careful observation and encouraging the balance in the natural world to keep pests and diseases from getting out of control. Similar to dentistry, prevention is key. Strengthening plants so they can resist diseases and pests is somewhat akin to prevention in dentistry.