Where ocean meets land: that’s where you’ll find Heidi Herrmann of Strong Arm Farm, who spends the better part of each summer meticulously hand-harvesting wild seaweed along the California coastline.
For episode 56 of the Good Life Revival Podcast, I traveled to Santa Rosa, CA to meet with Heidi and pick her brain about the ins and outs of seaweed foraging, and find out how this pursuit came to be such an integral element of her annual workflow.
As you’ll hear in our conversation, the California coastline boasts over 600 (!!) native species of seaweed, many of which are edible and some of which are highly sought after by chefs and health-conscious consumers who value the nutrient density and that inimitable local marine terroir. (Can you call it ‘terroir’ if it comes from the sea?)
But beyond her collection of wonderful macroalgae, I really enjoyed getting to know Heidi and learning how she makes ends meet in the remaining nine months out of the year when she isn’t solely focused on seaweed.
Heidi’s story as an educator who practices what she preaches is a great example, I think, of what’s possible when you’re willing to dive headfirst into sharky waters — so to speak :) — and work through the trial and error process of determining what niches you might be able to fill in your local community.
You never know where this might take you!
Strong Arm Farm is a half acre CCOF certified Organic farm located in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California. Heidi Herrmann (sole proprietor) personally collects the Sonoma Coast Seaweed as well as grows specialty cut flowers.
Heidi began Strong Arm Farm in 2009. Originally with a focus on mixed annual vegetables, now offering 2 main specialty crops: Seaweed and Tuberose. Heidi is a Sustainable Agriculture Instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College, at their renowned Shone Farm facility.
She has an Ornamental Horticulture degree from Cal Poly University, with emphasis in pest management and nursery production, and a Master’s from Sonoma State University, thesis: Experiential Agriculture Education. She teaches ‘Native Plants in Restoration’ focusing on habitat/mitigation plantings at Sonoma State University.
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