A Conversation With Emma Torbert From Cloverleaf Farm

We were fortunate to have the chance to speak with Emma Torbert from Cloverleaf Farm to hear about the unique structure they have and the sustainable practices that they use. Emma got her masters in Horticulture from UCD and worked for the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis for seven years. Cloverleaf is an 8-acre organic orchard and farm outside of Davis, California on the Collins Farm that specializes in peaches, nectarines, apricots, figs, berries, and vegetables. The Cloverleaf follows regenerative principles including no-till, rotational grazing, and cover-cropping. The farm is co-owned by Emma Torbert, Katie Fyhrie, Kaitlin Oki, Yurytzy Sanchez, Neil Singh, Tess Kremer, and Kyle Chambers; who all manage the farm together in a cooperative and consensus-based fashion. You can find The Cloverleaf Farm’s produce at the Sacramento Farmers Market on Sundays and at various grocery stores in Davis, Sacramento, and the Bay Area. 

Cloverleaf seems to break the mold of what a traditional farm functions like. Traditionally farms are passed down generationally within families, but all of your farmers come from diverse backgrounds, how did that model get started at Cloverleaf?

“We started out a group of four women and then the farm passed through a number of different partners. As different people were leaving we were realizing that for the sake of future transitions and the longevity of the farm operation a worker-owned cooperative farm would be best, although we are currently still structured as a partnership. There are currently seven partners right now.”

“We’ve been working with the California Center for Co-op Development for the last four years trying to figure out a way that everybody can own equal equity in the farm. 2014 was the first time that we started profit sharing and equity sharing. The equity sharing is not yet equal but that is what we are working with the CCCD on.”

“One of our core principles in our vision statement is working as a team. An important thing in thinking about farm management for us is recognizing everybody’s different skills and working together without an established hierarchical structure. We rotate who gets to be the crew leader every couple of weeks, so they are essentially the boss for those two weeks, which means everyone gets a chance to step into a leadership role.”

How do you limit your greenhouse emissions?

“In terms of limiting our carbon footprint, we do a number of things. In terms of the transportation of our food, we try to deliver as locally as possible. We purposefully choose markets that are closer and do not take our products further than the bay area. We are always making the decision to try to sell closer to home.”

“As for what happens in the field, all of our vegetables get grown no-till. Our orchards and all of our annual crops are no-till, which means that we don’t use a tractor very often at all. In doing that we use less fossil fuel. We’ve also put solar panels around the farm, and can’t wait until we can add more.” 

“Something else that really contributes to greenhouse gas emissions is water use. We use moisture sensors so that we use as little water as possible. We tread that fine line of watering as little as possible without stunting the growth of the trees in our orchards.”

What are your pest management practices?

“We are an organic farm so we don’t spray any pesticides while the fruit is on the trees. We do use pheromone sprays, which disrupt the mating cycles of a lot of stone fruit pests. We put out raptor perches and owl boxes. The main pests that we have trouble with are ground squirrels and gophers.”

How do you try to limit your food waste?

We’ve been trying lots of different things for many years and I feel like this year it’s all coming together, we have very little food waste coming from our farm right now. Our compost pile is pretty tiny right now considering the size of our farm.

“We have an Ugly Fruit club, which allows people to buy our third-grade fruit at a discounted price. We also create a lot of value-added products like jams and dried fruit, which allows us to still sell our less aesthetic fruit instead of wasting it.”

“Something else that we do is donate to the food bank, especially this year when we’re worried about our community being food insecure.”

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Natural Teeth Whitener

Simple, effective, and affordable!
Made with only 3 ingredients…

Looking for a way to brighten your smile without the harsh chemicals? Well we have a great natural solution for you!

Turmeric

Turmeric is a bright orange root vegetable closely related to ginger. When dried and ground into a powder it becomes an earthy spice that is popular in Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian cuisine.

The bright color compounds found in turmeric are responsible for the whitening effect and with consistent usage it’s been shown to have results similar to using activated charcoal.

In addition turmeric is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and truly stands out when it comes to oral health.

Studies have shown that brushing your teeth with turmeric is comparable to using mouthwash when it comes to removing plaque building, killing bacteria, and reducing inflammation! Turmeric has also been shown to prevent gum disease and relieve oral pain.  

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is known for its versatility, popularly used in everything from lotions and lip balms to baked goods and popcorn, so it’s not much of a surprise that it is also amazing for oral care.

Coconut oil is rich in anti-microbial fatty acids, such as lauric acid. Studies have shown that lauric acid attacks harmful bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.

By preventing plaque build-up and improving gum health coconut oil helps to keep your teeth white. 

Baking soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is generally used as a leavening agent in baking and is  popular as a deodorizer due to its ability to absorb smelly food particles. You may have also seen baking soda listed as an ingredient in some toothpastes as it is well known for its oral care benefits, specifically teeth whitening!

When brushing with baking soda it acts as a mild abrasive that can help remove stains. Some may worry that this abrasion could damage tooth enamel but according to the American Dental Association, silica particles commonly used in toothpaste as an abrasive agent are actually much harder than baking soda particles.

Baking soda also acts as a mild base which helps to alkalize your mouth, creating an environment that is hard for bacteria to grow in.  

All three of these ingredients have their own oral health benefits and when combined they make for an extremely effective teeth whitener that’s affordable, all natural, and easy to make!

To Make:

Only 3 ingredients needed:

  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil 
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2-3 drops of essential oil (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar.

It helps to use slightly softened, but not melted, coconut oil.

Turmeric is also notorious for staining anything and everything yellow (except your teeth!) so be cautious when measuring and mixing it.

For less coconut taste opt for a refined coconut oil which will have a much more mild coconut flavor compared to unrefined.

You can also add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to make the mix more pleasant tasting!

To Use:

After brushing your teeth with regular toothpaste and rinsing, scoop a pea-sized amount of the homemade teeth whitener onto your toothbrush and use it just like you would toothpaste.

You may want to use a separate toothbrush from your regular one as the turmeric will most likely stain the brush.

Store in a sealed jar at room temperature. 

Use up to once a day or every other day for best results.

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