We are presently considering to add a "permanent" live-in position at
Safan for a responsible individual or couple who possess skills required
to maintain the ranch. This is apart from the regular transient
WWOOFers who are also welcome to apply, as always.
Safan Ranch is 7 miles east of Highway 49 in Amador County near the town
of Plymouth, just outside the greater Sacramento metropolitan area, 2+
hours from San Francisco. This area is the historic home to the
California Gold Rush of 1849 and more recently, to a burgeoning
viticulture and wine-making economy. Amador is a rural county where
recent decades have witnessed the cattle ranches and walnut orchards
fall away to make room for boutique wineries and smaller farms.
We maintain 56 beautiful rolling acres, including several organic
gardens that we farm using permaculture methods. For 2010, we have
utilized just a single of those gardens, having offered the remaining
garden to a local permaculture group and to full-season WWOOFers who
might like to invest their own hand at a market garden. We also keep
goats, sheep, fowl, dogs and cats. Most of the land is rustic woodland
at about 2000 feet of elevation where we encourage selva pasture and
maintain a philosophy of low-impact use. We have hives for pollination
and honey production, we forage for wild mushrooms and we harvest a bit
of firewood, all of it sustainably. Here in the wine-country
(Fiddletown-AVA) of the Sierra Foothills and we also make wine each
fall, requiring ongoing attention of course throughout the year. We
practice only limited viticulture at present, this year we sold our
larger offsite vineyard and have now another offsite demonstration
vineyard of about 100 vines. We hope to plant both an onsite vineyard
and an exotic fruits orchard in the future. Presently we make most of
our wine in October from grapes purchased from neighboring vineyards. er
Safan Ranch is a member of the Amador Winemakers Association and
thereby has routine access to the full complement of winemaking
equipment and technology. We also grow hops and have successfully made
beer in the past with another batch brewing in our minds very soon.
We accommodate WWOOFers year-round with a two-week minimum, but
prefer to host longer-term interns for a stay of 2 months or more. Many
of our 60+ WWOOFers to date have remained with us 4-5 months.
Private, rustic lodging is provided in individual travel trailers
grouped about the property. There is no plumbing in the trailers
although power and heat are available if the need arises; a need that
has proven seldom. Major facilities are available in the main house,
including group meals, toilet, shower, and so on. There is an outdoor
shower house and water near the trailer campsites. Our group meals are
often extraordinary and have earned a bit of a following amongst past
WWOOFers. The accommodations too, have generally been rated highly. The
social situation changes constantly and while secondary amongst our
goals, it is usually quite good.
We are rooted deeply in the ideas of permaculture and sustainable
living. We generate little waste, reuse and recycle most everything and
regularly undertake building projects using straw bales, earthbags and
so on. We eschew packaged or prepared foods generally in keeping with a
healthy attitude and lifestyle. We are guilty perhaps of being a bit
zealous in this regard, but we feel that these ideals are quite
important and choose to share our surroundings with those who believe as
We are on the grid but use a solar-powered well for most of our
water needs. We are most grateful that the solar-powered pump was
installed with the assistance of one of our stellar past WWOOFers. As
were the walls of our power-independant earth-bag supported wine cellar.
Building projects on the docket still include a wood-fired sauna built
of earthbags and a wood-fired brick pizza oven.
Safan is home to The ArtRanch as well and provides residencies to
qualified artists who live and work along side our WWOOFers. We have
found a large number of our WWOOFers in the past have doubled as
artists, and we encourage a blending of the two. We maintain a studio
and gallery for artists of nearly every genre.
We are a small producer but there are many different things going on
and opportunities to learn and experience many aspects of rural life.
We are also well connected to the University of California Ag-Extension
system (UC Davis) and WWOOFers are encouraged to attend the free classes
offered nearby. We also work with several other CSA-participating
WWOOF-farms locally to share and trade WWOOFers as a matter of expanding
everyone's experience. This, of course, subject to the agreement of all
who are involved.
We ask WWOOFers to be prepared to work 30 hours weekly, some of that
work is great fun and offers a lot of learning, some of it simply gets
the weeds pulled! In the garden we look for help with irrigation,
weeding, mulching, planting, organizing and harvesting. Other projects
include apiary, green building projects, woodland management, tree
trimming, cutting firewood for the fall and building brush piles for
burning in the autumn and spring. We keep Goats, Sheep, Bees and Fowl
that require some tending as well as the ranch dogs and myriad other
things. In addition, everyone pitches in to keep up our communal space.
Longer-term visitors definitely are among our happiest in that they
have the opportunity to learn more and participate in a broader range of
tasks over the season. We take a great deal of pride in the investment
we make to teach and train those who visit Safan and who truly wish to
learn the art and practice of permaculture. We run a tight ship here and
we look for all participants to work responsibly toward our common goal
of self-sufficiency; this is a good stop for those who really expect to
operate a small farm one day and not-so-good for those seeking a
vacation or a brief respite along their tour of California. Our
operation here is managed carefully and intensely in order to feed the
greatest number of WWOOFers and artists we are able, all while consuming
the least of our Earth's resources. Most of our efforts are pretty well
dialed-in due to years of practice, but we always find there is
something new to learn as well.
From Sacramento, bus service is available to Plymouth just 10K away,
there is fairly easy public transportation from the town of Plymouth to
other locales. We speak English plus limited Indonesian and Spanish.
Sorry, we cannot host children or pets and as consumate omnivores,
we are also unable to accommodate vegans; vegetarians are welcome
however. We do not allow smoking and prohibit the use of hard drugs.
Please apply with detailed personal information including DOB,
Drivers License or Passport #, emergency contacts, references, your
resume or CV of your background, tell us of past WWOOF experiences and
send along links to your MySpace/Facebook/Blog pages so that we can know
more about you. And anything additional that would help us know you
better... interests, goals, experience, skills, passions, etc. What is
your timing like, when you would like to arrive, for how long do you
wish to stay, and what type of transportation will you be using to get
here are similarly things we need to know before we can extend our
invitation to you. Please be sure as well to tell us of any food
allergies/preferences and describe any medical conditions that might be
of concern or otherwise impact your stay with us. Most importantly, we'd
like to hear what it is you would like to learn from your stay here,
and why you chose Safan Ranch from all the WWOOF hosts available.
You should be aware that we live in a rural area with poor cell
phone coverage. Safan provides limited satellite WiFi and fairly good
cell service and broadband WiFi are available in Plymouth, about 7 miles
away. If you come to Safan, please be prepared with a warm sleeping
bag, a battery-run alarm clock (other than your cell phone) a towel,
gloves, a hat, sunglasses and a headlight (preferred), flashlight or
lantern. And if you need to make LD telephone calls, a calling card as
we have no LD service available. You also ought to pack along any
personal hygiene/first aid supplies you might need and finally, if you
are allergic to poison oak, we suggest you tote along whatever is your
favored prophylaxis or remedy/treatment as well for the inevitable
So, please get back to us at email@example.com with the requested information and we can
take it from there. Again, thanks for contacting us and we look forward
to hearing from you!