Whittenberg Farms is based on just over 50 acres along Reeds Creek, in Tehama County, California. The original property was approximately 120 acres and was homesteaded in 1877; Zach Whitten's great-great-grandparents bought the place in 1919. The home ranch consists of a stretch of Reeds Creek and its riparian forest, along with several cleared and leveled fields. The south piece is a mostly wooded ridge, and includes several seasonal streams and ponds. The north piece is just over an acre, and mostly used for growing children.
The home ranch, although smaller than the south piece, is where most of the stock is for Whittenberg Farms: cattle, sheep, and poultry. The main garden is also on the home ranch, where we grow corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, and more. The south piece is home to the happy, healthy, humanely-raised hogs; whereas the wooded ridge makes second-rate pasture for cattle and other grazers, it makes first-rate ground for hogs, thanks to the abundance of acorns and other woodland foods.
Our Mediterranean climate means cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. One way of looking at the climate would be to say that there are really only three seasons: summer, fall, and then right back to spring, with new growth appearing in December around here, while much of the rest of the US is just entering the dormant cold of winter. The greatest challenge of climate is the dry season; some years have no appreciable rainfall for over six months. Acorns on the ground continue to supply feed to the hogs year-round, but to provide grass for the grazers, we are planning to irrigate a number of pastures, largely using solar and wind power to do so. The need for irrigation over the course of the year strongly correlates with the availability of solar power; wind is less reliable, but still of use.
The intent of Whittenberg Farms is to manage the land and other resources in a holistic manner, keeping always in mind what is good for the land, good for the animals, good for our family, and good for our community.