Devoto Gardens: Stan Devoto

How did you get your start?
Stan and Susan Devoto moved to a property with an old apple orchard outside Sebastopol in 1975 and began taking agricultural classes at the local junior college. They developed a love for farming and revived the orchard, eventually leasing more land for cut flowers. Over 30 years later, after welcoming three daughters into the world and losing Susan to cancer, Stan now farms cut flowers and more than 100 varieties of apples, including several heirloom cider apples for his daughter’s cider company, Golden State Cider.

What do you love most about the work?
“I enjoy the different seasons,” explains Stan. “The apple trees are asleep for four months but we’re busy all the time. We start pruning in January and harvest from August to December. I’m proud that the apple trees are certified organic and our flowers are grown without synthetic pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.

What is your go-to recipe this time of year?
“I love to finish a meal with a bit of cheese, sliced apple and cider,” Stan says. “I really don’t bake pies with my apples.”

How does the Napa Farmers Market support your farm?
“I started selling at the Napa Farmers Market back when it began, some 25 or 30 years ago on Tuesdays,” Stan reports. “I love meeting the customers and hearing how they enjoy our apples and flowers. And, of course, it’s great for a farmer to be paid that day when you sell at a market, instead of waiting, like you do with wholesale clients.”

What’s new?
“We planted 450 apple trees this year and always have some new varieties of apples for sale each year. This year, for example, we have Merton Russet from England. A great balance of sweet and tart.”