At the crossroads of City and County sits a 2.5 acre piece of land, tended with the utmost care and passion by Ross Snyder, “Farmer in Charge” of Wobbly Wagon Farm. A 25 year resident of Lincoln where he and his wife raised their two boys, Ross spent his career with Caltrans and after 31 years of dedicated service decided to retire and put his heart into growing.
As Ross gave me a tour of his “Suburban Farm”, his passion and optimism for life, family and his farm was addictive. We wandered in and out of his organically farmed crops and landed upon a row of heirloom tomatoes. Ross pulled one off the vine and gave it to me to taste. As I bit into the juicy fruit I was amazed at the full, sweet, delicious flavor. Sure to be prevalent in ALL of his produce.
Ross and Wobbly Wagon Farm can be found any Wednesday during the Sun City farmer’s market and his harvests can be found in the Tahoe Food Hub. If you would like to buy straight from the farm, just give Ross and call and he will set you up. Wobbly Wagon Farm, a Lincoln favorite, keep them in mind when you buy local.
Keep It Local.
1. Where are you located?
At 846 Virginiatown Road on the Northeast corner of Lincoln. At the edge of city limits, within the Placer County unincorporated area, and along the greenbelt north of the Auburn Ravine.
2. What do you grow/raise?
Seasonal market vegetables and fruit, including several varieties of new potatoes, beets, onions, Swiss chard, green beans, squash, eggplant, snow peas, edamame, turnips, okra, three varieties of pumpkins, three varieties of Asian pears, Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches and plums. Some herbs such as basil, lavender, oregano, and rosemary. We also have approximately 50 laying hens, and currently 5 sheep.
3. Where do you sell?
At the Sierra Fresh Farmer’s Market on Wednesday mornings at Lincoln Hills (Sun City), Orchard Creek Lodge, and at Newcastle Produce in Newcastle. Most recently, to the Tahoe Food Hub, which is a small farms collaborative network serving the greater Lake Tahoe area. Some on-site and off-site direct sales to friends, neighbors and acquaintances.
4. How did you get into this business?
Through a lifetime of pleasure gardening that continues to grow in scope and variety, and a conviction that as a community we should embrace local foods, consumed on a seasonal basis, in a sustainable manner. Word of mouth demand for our produce has encouraged us to undertake Market Farming.
5. How many acres is your farm/ranch?
3 acres, with two acres under cultivation, and one half acre in fruit trees. Although a small operation, we utilize crop rotation, season extension methodologies and intensive companion planting to maximize yields. We allocate space for hedgerows, windbreaks, and habitat “islands”. Our ½ acre pond is fed by NID and home to extensive wildlife.
6. What do you love about what you do?
The satisfaction of producing a high quality of fruits or vegetables and the knowledge that our friends, family and the community at large will enjoy and benefit from these foods. We also enjoy the ability to work from home, the personal growth of learning new things, and applying previous skill sets. We know that we are building a stronger community, and are pleased to encourage healthy, seasonal eating. The early mornings are pretty awesome too.
7. Is there a downside, something you wish you could change?
The notion that much of our food chain is taken for granted. Many people don’t understand where good food comes from, how much work it can take, yet how rewarding and satisfying growing nutritious, fresh food can be. The economics of small-scale farming are a challenge.
8. How many people work your farm/ranch?
Currently two, with some intermittent labor and equipment operation outsourced on a task specific basis.
9. What level of importance do you personally place on the product you provide in regards to the overall health and welfare of the community?
A very high level of importance as stated above. We make contributions of our extra product to viable local charities as practical, and believe that locally produced and consumed farm products are more sustainable, while benefiting the local economy, and cleaner local air and water ecosystems. One might argue that local foods would greatly support our national security in an adverse geo-political scenario as well.
10. What kind of support do you receive from the community in terms of a belief in locally conscious shopping?
Generally positive, although our society is enamored with convenient foods and have become accustomed to global food sourcing. Many people would rather shop exclusively at the supermarket than bother with the farmer’s markets or direct purchases. It is also a matter of people being unaware of the true cost of globally sourced food produced by large corporate interests.
We are fortunate to live and work in Placer County and Lincoln with their rich history of agriculture and rural community. Many ordinances and regulations make consideration for farming activities, even on a small scale.
11. What is your perfect day? Work, fun or both.
Probably both work and fun. The satisfaction of accomplishing a farming activity successfully, and the pleasure of sharing the effort and experience with my wife, family, or close friends. We enjoy learning new things, and sharing those ideas or skills with others. Farming related travel is also a pleasure for us.
12. Primary contact info:
Ross and Lori Snyder at [email protected]