Woodleaf farm still at market despite wildfire damage

Woodleaf Farm focuses on harvesting a variety of fresh peaches. Photo by Alexis Suk

BERKELEY, Calif. —  Evacuations in Oroville, California, have left townspeople uprooted and disoriented for the past six months because of the widespread Butte County Wall Wildfire. At Woodleaf Farm, also known as Peach Jamboree, the fire took all but the crop itself.

Owner Danny Lazzarini bought the farm in the Sierra Mountains in 2016.  She and partner Drew Seidman planned to continue the farm’s current produce offerings; they have more than 2,000 fruit trees, according to the Ecology Center’s website, planted on eight acres.

They produce many varieties of peaches, including white, yellow and red peaches. Although they produce a variety of crops, they only have “three months of the year to make a living,” Lazzarini said in a recent interview.

Woodleaf Farm made one of their first appearances since the fire at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market on Saturday. Photo by Jordan Willis

The raging wildfire set the two back right in the middle of their short harvest season, only adding to the devastation. The fire took all three of their homes on the land, along with a cabin, barn, packing shed, personal possessions and all of their tools and equipment. But the fruit was spared. They were at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market on Saturday, one of their first public appearances since the fire.

“About 95 percent of the peaches are fine,” Woodleaf Farm employee Em Reaves said, explaining how the farm can survive for now but the future is unpredictable with all of their supplies destroyed.

“We’re trying to rebuild with no resources, and it’s really hard, but what else are you going to do?” Lazzarini said. She added that they are constantly being faced with new challenges on the farm but will continue to work through them. Despite the demolition, Woodleaf Farm does not plan on abandoning the land; instead, they are going to rebuild. They are focused on going to markets and asking for donations on GoFundMe.com.

“This is an incredibly shocking loss, but we are grateful to be alive and safe…This will be a true test of strength and willingness to carry on and recover,” Lazzarini said in a recent Instagram post.