About the Farm
We’re Jolie and Hunter, part of the crew at Devoto Gardens, a diverse family farm in Sonoma County, California. We grow flowers, apples, and wine grapes, limiting ourselves to small production of the highest quality products possible. We also produce DEVOTO ORCHARDS CIDER, artisanal fermented ciders from our farm’s most charismatic apple varieties. Every product on our farm is seasonal, and is only sold during that season. We have some sort of flower or branch year round, as seasonality of flowers changes just as rapidly as veggie seasonality. We’re proud to be growing 100+ varieties of certified organic apples. Being a family of Italian-heritage and coming from a lineage of winemakers, we love our wine, and this climate is perfect for pinot noir production. We’re located within the border of the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation, and just across the street from the Sonoma Coast appellation. We love what we grow and we want to share our lifestyle of food, flowers, and fermentation with anyone who enters.
Where it all began:
Circa 1970’s, Berkeley, CA: Stan and Susan Devoto were a young couple in their mid 20’s and wanted something more fulfilling than their current lives offered: Stan was a master carpenter and Susan worked in an office for Wells Fargo. One beautiful day, they took a drive up to west Sonoma County to visit some friends. The day was picture perfect—they were surrounded in redwood trees, grassy meadows, wildflowers, and a patchwork of rolling hills, all the while being cooled down by the coastal breeze. They wanted to get back to the land. So they worked and eventually saved enough money to buy a bit of land. After purchasing property on Gold Ridge Road in Sebastopol, they cultivated their small parcel of land and became some of the first micro-green growers north of the SF bay.
Their salad mix was a work of art, consisting of several different varieties of flowers, greens, and herbs. A couple years later the Devotos moved down the same road to a 20-acre parcel that was covered in old apple trees and a 1920’s farm house. Stan became fascinated with the art and science of growing apples, and had a knack for specialty varieties, both heirlooms and hybrids. Meanwhile, Susan was a walking flower/plant encyclopedia, so they started growing all different types of field and “wild” flowers. By this point, the three Devoto girls (Christina, Jolie, and Cecily) were running around the farm like crazy children and going to farmer’s markets with their parents. Many years passed as they farm established its roots in the bay area farming industry.
In 2006, Stan planted a couple acres of Pinot Noir, which had been a dream of his for many years prior. Today, we farm 9 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and continue planting many more flowers, lettuces, apples, tomatoes, and peppers all for commercial sale. In 2012, we started the farm’s cidery.
About the Cider
We fell in love with cider years ago. After traveling to Spain and learning cider making from the old-world masters, Jolie (a Devoto daughter) and her soon-to-be husband moved back to the family farm. Although their intention was to be full-time farmers, the duo started the cidery as a value-added product and now work making and selling cider full time.
Although we grow some amazing apple varieties more than suitable for hard cider, we decided to launch “Save the Gravenstein,” our first release using only 100% Gravenstein apples. A political statement, perhaps? Yes. We’re not uprooting our apple trees like most of the county. We’re holding our ground and as long as we’re here, and always planting and grafting more trees. We’re apple growers first, and cider makers second, so we believe that all of our ciders start in the orchard. Next year we’ll be releasing different “snapshots,” if you will, of the orchard during different times of harvest. Drink more cider, save more apples.
In 2013, we increased cider production over 400% and introduced two new field blends, both different ‘snapshots’, if you will, of different times in the orchard. Our ‘1976’ is a semi-dry cider blend made from 17 varieties that bear in September/October. Our ‘Cidre Noir’ is a blend of 7 varieties that bear in October/November.