Table Bluff Farm is a first-generation, woman-owned, 2-acre micro-farm practicing no-till vegetable and flower production in Loleta, California.
Hannah Eisloeffel founded the farm and runs it with her partner, Nic; their dog, Farmer; and a heritage Kunekune pig named Pumpkin. Table Bluff Farm puts the planet before profits to ensure that all can participate in a vibrant, regenerative food system that reflects and shares Nature’s Bounty in Humboldt County.™ They currently offer the lowest-priced CSA food box in Humboldt County for low income families, as well as barrier-free CSA boxes to the Wiyot Native American reservation nearby.
As a farmer who always wanted to have a farm by the ocean but was on a tight budget, Hannah says she had to have realistic expectations of the acreage she could afford. What is now Table Bluff Farm was once a compacted, overgrown horse pasture full of dying Ponderosa pines and oddly placed landscape trees. This posed many challenges that required creative thinking.
Hannah knew that the land would need to be restored in order to have a productive piece of farmland. It was at this point that she chose to develop Table Bluff Farm with a regenerative, permaculture-principled approach.
Hannah applied for and received the NRCS EQIP grant, which helped her successfully finance the conversion of a pasture to a regenerative market garden. This allowed her to purchase a 30′ x 96′ high tunnel greenhouse where she now has a no-till vegetable garden. Next, she applied for and received both the CDFA SWEEP and HSP grants, allowing her to purchase drip irrigation and both native and non-native trees as well as shrubs to create a windbreak/hedgerow and wildlife habitat. It was in the middle of implementing their first NRCS grant that Hannah and Nic learned from Connor Murphy, Manager of Santa Rosa Community College’s Shone Farm, of an exciting opportunity with an organization called Kiss the Ground.
Through Kiss the Ground’s Farmland Program, Table Bluff Farm was able to access the Regrarians platform, which gave them real-time assistance and consultation for designing improvements to make their farm a more functional small-scale producer of no-till vegetables and cut flowers. The Farmland Program also connected Hannah to the Understanding Ag platform, a valuable resource of the methods of successful livestock breeding and rotational grazing. They say these two opportunities combined have set them on a path to implement soil and water conservation methods specific to their property that go beyond those that their NRCS grants covered. Hannah and Nic have become inspired to be representatives of the possibilities that regenerative agriculture techniques provide.
Farmers Hannah & Nic say the participation in the Kiss the Ground Farmland Program has been elemental to their regenerative practice commitment. Table Bluff Farm doesn’t use mechanized tools for tilling the soil, and has almost no need for outside organic fertilizers, pesticide sprays, or other expensive or harmful inputs. All of these would necessitate an unnecessary and harmful reliance on fossil fuels. Instead, they utilize a holistic integration approach to their livestock and poultry production, incorporating them into the farm through biological till, crop rotation, and IPM management, while their (in-progress) permaculture-principled hedgerows will provide an abundant food forest and wildlife sanctuary for birds, pollinators, and more!
Table Bluff Farm provides local families an assorted box of seasonal produce, eggs, and flowers all grown on their two-acre micro-farm. As a woman managing a farm in a rural & disadvantaged area, Hannah says she it’s important for her to help make local, wholesome food accessible to all. That’s why she offers a CSA pay-as-you-go weekly subscription ($20/week) so as to limit financial barriers to accessing local, nutritious foods. She also offers delivery at a $5 fee to meet customers where they are.
Table Bluff Farm’s pasture-raised chicken eggs and meats can also be found at Loleta-based natural food stores or purchased from their website and farmers’ market booth. Hannah & Nic are also in the process of revitalizing a cider apple orchard by applying regenerative agriculture techniques. Once established, they will have their meat birds run through the orchard in the spring and develop a cover cropping system along with some beehives. In addition, they have leased 3 acres for a regenerative pumpkin patch that will include no-till, rotational grazing, lots of piglets, and another 8 acres to produce no-till corn and peppers.
Hannah and Nic’s scope of work is more than stewarding land and sharing their bounty, they are also helping others participate in the realization of the regeneration of the soil and food systems. Table Bluff Farm has partnered with Cooperation Humboldt, a group that seeks to end racial discrimination and barriers in Humboldt County. As part of their work with this group, Hannah and Nic have taken on the task of consulting on several sustainable food programs and are also creating a Pay-It-Forward food program, where wealthy patrons buy weekly CSA shares for disadvantaged community members. They are advocating to revitalize their little rural community of Loleta with the help of their investors and stakeholders. Additionally, COVID permitting, they hope to host a screening of the Kiss the Ground Movie in the park to raise awareness for the potential of regenerative agriculture, while connecting Table Bluff Farm’s offerings and sharing farming practices with their greater community. Recently they partnered with Wininger Farms in Fortuna, CA to help bring a no-till approach to their vegetable production and rotational livestock grazing in a pasture growing hay. Table Bluff Farms hopes to demonstrate the benefits of these practices to some of the larger cattle producers in their area.
Hannah says she understands that practicing regenerative agriculture necessitates taking a long-view of farming. As she starts her fourth year practicing regenerative agriculture on Table Bluff Farm, she is just starting to see the transformation from an anthropocentric farm design to a biocentric farm concept that incorporates wildlife-friendly hedgerows & pollinator-friendly native flowering species, perennial grasses, and healthier soils. Hannah is starting to see more woodpeckers, salamanders, songbirds, & beneficial insects (like honeybees, bumblebees, ladybugs, and praying mantis) on the farm. Once the pollinator-friendly hedgerows are well established, Hannah anticipates noticing more biodiversity above and below the ground, all while capturing and sequestering carbon.
If you’d like to learn more about Hannah and Nic’s work, please follow Table Bluff Farm on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. If you’d like to support their work, please check out their GoFundMe campaign to purchase a new delivery truck for Table Bluff Farm as Farmer Hannah recently got into an accident transporting compost.
Last but not least, Hannah says she is forever indebted to those in her community who came with pickup trucks, chainsaws, horse trailers, and helping hands (some holding Gin Fizzes), as well as the farm-ily network of CSA members they’ve built over the past 4 seasons, to make the farm what it is today.