Last weekend, we drove north through California, stopping for a day in Santa Cruz. We had heard about a beautiful biodynamic initiative called Blossom’s Farm, but we had not been able to connect with the farmers ahead of time. After spending the afternoon with Daniel Bittleston, we were planning to drive on to Sacramento, but he assured us that we would not want to leave the area without meeting Delmar McComb and Carin Fortin.
So, directions in hand, we drove down into a forested cove, plodding along in the old Volvo with the hopes of finding Blossom’s Farm. Wondering how we would ever get back out of there if we had to climb back up that mountain, we turned onto a rough one-lane road and proceeded further into the woods. Part way up we came head to head with a pick up truck. A really BIG black pickup truck. With nowhere to turn, limited visibility, and a steep drop beside us, we decided not to budge. After staring straight ahead for about two minutes, the driver of the truck reversed until she found a pull off, and we pulled up beside to explain our situation. The driver did not know the farm or the farmers, but was familiar with the land, which is owned by the Odwalla heiress. A moment later, another truck was coming up behind us. The woman said, “I think that’s who you’re looking for” and drove on. There was a brief exchange between the two drivers, and the second one pulled up beside us. Indeed, it was Delmar and Carin, exhausted from a long day and a bit perplexed as to why we were looking for them and who we were.
After we introduced ourselves from our car window, explained our project, apologized for showing up unannounced, and offered to leave (not sure how we were going to turn around but prepared to try), they encouraged us to follow them ahead. “You’ve come all this way. At least, come sit down for some tea.” We passed through the forest behind them and, as we crested the hill, the ocean spread out before us in the distance. Delmar and Carin welcomed us to their home, and we sat with them in their kitchen for conversation. The space was filled with warmth and light. The care they have poured into the house and land was palpable. We felt incredibly welcomed and were so inspired by the enthusiasm with which Delmar and Carin entered the conversation and their openness to a surprise visit from two traveling anthroposophists.
Delmar started Blossom’s Farm in 2008, and Carin joined him three years ago. The farm is named for Blossom, the first cow Delmar had on the land. She became a true community cow, as the only way to offer raw milk was for members of the community to purchase Blossom. So she became the shared cow of twelve families, under Delmar’s care. Blossom has now passed away, but her name lives on, as does the spirit of community she engendered.
Carin and Delmar have created a magical space on the farm, which is teeming with life and beauty. Their lease on the land, however, is month to month, so they move forward in every moment with great trust and courage. They are currently looking for their own land to create a more permanent home, which they would like to share with others in an expanded community.
Collaboration was a strong theme of our conversation. Delmar serves on the Executive Committee of the Biodynamic Association of Northern California. He is also a member of the School of Spiritual Science in the Santa Cruz community, which we have found to be truly open to new forms and striving. Both Delmar and Carin believe strongly in building alliances. They have worked to form connections to farmers working out of permaculture, and shared that it’s amazing what is possible when you come together with others who have shared values. You must be willing to let down your fences: “Be vulnerable and allow.” If our language suggests a separation, we must change it. Our language should be able to resonate with other people. We can’t stay in our bubble.
Delmar and Carin believe that biodynamic farmers could learn a lot from permaculture and that biodynamics would have a lot to share in return. For example, is it always the best model to plant rows of one crop, even with the best rhythm of crop rotation? If we look to the model of a food forest, we could consider another way of planting that has the potential to be more effective without sacrificing the biodynamic impulse. We can think of an oak savanna with its diversity of vegetation. How does nature do it? If we can find smarter model and marry it with biodynamics, there’s no conflict here.
Dennis Klocek is someone who has taken indications from Rudolf Steiner and made them his own. He has developed new biodynamic preps out of his own initiative, which might have been shocking to some. Steiner called for anthroposophists to be men of initiative. Can we meet this call in all of our activities? Can we meet it in our being?
Having grown up in Switzerland, a question Carin holds is how we can be more approachable and accessible when we meet others. Considering our context, Carin shared that America is really important for the world. California, in particular, has so much potential in that it is moving and not static. Carin holds a picture of a different Goetheanum that is filled with transparent, colorful light. Steiner’s book, How to Know Higher Worlds, is a life tool for her. To Carin, anthroposophy has to do with awakening and understanding. She has a dedication and commitment to humanity, to grow and serve.
Delmar said that his true work is to change the world. No wonder we came to see this couple! “I look at the farm, and I see everything,” he said. When we asked him what anthroposophy is to him, Delmar said that it is about being willing to lose, to practice non-attachment. Can we be willing to lose monetarily? Are we willing to sacrifice that which seems to be our freedom? When we work out of true freedom, we open so many windows. Anthroposophy is a way of viewing the world that makes him want to embrace life. Our task here is to grow into it and co-create, to be an instrument of the divine.
We asked what lives in their hearts, and they responded with connections. Carin spoke of the evolving individual and the development of the ego. It can be hard to get people together and committed as a group when the “we” is lived in different ways. How do we live in the “we” again in a way that is appropriate for our times?
Considering threefolding, they said, “Sometimes it seems like there’s nowhere else to go, but there is another way, and that’s threefolding.” They recommended Johannes Rohen as a resource. He is a renowned anatomist who has applied his research into the human organism to a vision for a renewed society. Rohen has a work called Functional Threefoldness in the Human Organism & Human Society.
The farm is developing tinctures, bitters, and other products out of their garden. They have pitched the idea to Rudolf Steiner College bookstore, and Elderberries would love to carry some of these items in Hollywood as well. Carin and Delmar were so generous in hosting us for a short visit. We even left with our own comfrey salve, seeds, and Blossom’s Farm t-shirts!
A question Carin and Delmar are carrying is how to have economic and environmental viability with the farm organism. Delmar and Carin are matched so beautifully in their strength and care for the world. We are so excited to carry forward the word of their efforts and vision as we travel into other communities. Meeting friends who feel an inner necessity to serve with all that lives within them for the good of humanity with every thought and breath, to allow oneself to be an instrument of the Divine, to have a wish to literally be an instrument of the Divine! rocks our world and encourages us in our hope that a Michaelic renewal of civilization can be brought forth in our time. It was definitely worth the journey down the mountain and through the woods!