Rising Valley Farm - Bringing Back Biodiversity

Rising Valley Farm's new hedgerow lines the field edges

When Nile Estep, owner of Hacienda Hay & Feed, set out to revitalize a recently acquired 3-acre plot of land, it quickly became apparent that encouraging biodiversity would be key. Together with Jon Wescott, Farm Manager, and Lainey Chatham of Rana Creek Nursery, they began incorporating habitat.  

Hacienda Hay & Feed is situated in the heart of the Carmel Valley in California, occupying land that was among California’s first certified organic properties stewarded by organic pioneer Russel Wolter from 1947-2000. Nile purchased the 3-acre plot of land two years ago and integrated it into his business under the name Rising Valley Farm to honor the historic importance of the land.   

Central to Rising Valley Farm’s mission is to serve as an educational farm for the community. The farm hosts events to teach other growers how to integrate regenerative farming techniques into their own operations. Nile, Jon and Lainey decided that installing hedgerows would enhance the operation’s natural enemy population to help with pest control and teach others about the important role native plants play on a farm.

Wild Farm Alliance provided support for the hedgerow at Rising Valley Farm by helping select and install plants that support natural enemies and pollinators that migrate through the region. For example, Deerweed (Acmispon glaber) supports a large variety of migrating butterflies, including the Acmon Blue Butterfly. Plants such as Coyote Brush and Coffeeberry were planted to provide habitat for parasitoid wasps and other natural enemies like lacewings.  

Creating an operation that benefits wildlife and provides natural enemy habitat will help serve their experiential mission and further expand their regenerative practices.

Learn More about Rising Valley Farm:

Hedgerow Information

Location: Carmel, California
Date Planted: April 2, 2024
Length of Hedgerow: 177 feet
Goals: Habitat for beneficial insects and birds, ecosystem health, and demonstration/education for other growers
Total plants: 78
Scientific name, common name, and number of plants:
Achillea millefolium, Yarrow, 9
Achillea "Pink Grapefruit" Colored, Yarrow, 6
Acmisbon glabra, Deerweed, 3
Atriplex lentiformis, Quailbush, 3
Baccharis pilularis, Coyote Brush, 4
Ceanothus Concha, California lilac, 2
Ceanothus Snow Flurry, California lilac, 2
Epilobium canum, Fuschia, 10
Erigeron glaucus, Seaside Daisy, 5
Eriogonum fasciculatum, Buckwheat, 4
Frangula californica, Coffeeberry, 2
Morella californica, Wax myrtle, 2
Muhlenbergia rigens, Deergrass, 5
Penstemon heterophyllus, Penstemon, 10
Prunus ilicifolia, Hollyleaf Cherry, 2
Rhus integrifoloia, Lemonade berry, 3
Salvia mellifera, Black Sage, 3
Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird Sage, 10
Sambucus nigra, Elderberry, 2
Symphyotrichum chilensis, Aster, 5