Organic Gardens

Historic gardens, nestled between the coastal forest and the ocean, are the home of The Stanford Inn By The Sea.

Big River Nurseries is our USDA Certified Organic farm. In 1985 we began farming at the site of the China Gardens, which provided produce for loggers and mill workers. Fresh water from springs is rare along the coast but there is a natural spring feeding a pond on the land which is home to the Stanford Inn. The spring here runs throughout the year and provided fresh water to the China Gardens. Originally held in a pond formed by a dam made of redwood timber, Chinese farmers were able to grow produce during the summer and fall. The China Gardens were abandoned by the turn of the last century, 120 years ago.

We began farming as a landscaping feature. It was productive and as we had yet to build our restaurant we offered our produce and herbs to selected restaurants and grocers. Today, our production goes to Inn’s Ravens Restaurant.

Using French intensive, biointensive, and organic methods, we raise a wide variety of lettuces, cabbages, spinach, radishes and gourmet vegetables such as radicchio, mizuna, arugula, and tah tsai. Some beds are used to provide edible flowers for garnishes and salads and others are rose beds. We are also experimenting with a wide variety of fruit trees, learning which will flourish on the coast.

We are excited by our farming – particularly in that we can present this approach to gardening/farming to you. It is productive and beautiful while remaining in balance with nature.

Practicing sustainable and organic farming for over 30 years.

  • We are dedicated to responsible farming for your health as well as the health of the present and future planet.
  • The gardens are “double dug” in raised beds to enable better use of square footage and to reduce erosion.
  • Those who work in our gardens share the our philosophy of caring for plants, animals and people alike.
  • We approach farming using John Jeavons’ GROW BIOINTENSIVE® methods which are based on carbon and calorie farming as well as  French intensive, biointensive, and organic methods. You will find a wide variety of lettuces, cabbages, spinach, radishes and gourmet vegetables such as radicchio, mizuna, arugula, and tah tsai. Some beds are used to provide edible flowers for garnishes and salads and others are rose beds. We are also experimenting with a wide variety of fruit trees, learning which will flourish on the coast.

“The only vegan resort in North America, this Mendocino inn takes an unconventional approach to wellness…offering an extensive menu of classes, from mushroom foraging to tai chi to cooking…”
– California Magazine