From the root-marker along the highway, a narrow paved road leads to Oak Hill Farm, nestled against the western slope of the Mayacama Mountains. The farm is part of a larger 700-acre ranch owned by Anne Teller, widow of Otto Teller, a renowned conservationist who died in 1998. The founding property of the Sonoma Land Trust, it is permanently held under a conservation easement. Surrounded by oak and manzanita woodland, this protected land rises 800 feet above the valley and toward the Mayacamas Ridge, where wildlife such as deer, mountain lions, bobcats, and foxes roam free.
The Tellers bought the property in the 1950s and, on a florist friend's recommendation, planted perennial greens and flowers that later evolved into a wholesale flower business. In the mid 1960s, the Tellers purchased the neighboring Johnson Ranch. This expanded property included a red barn housing 12 dairy cows. One of these animals was so full of personality, she was known throughout the Sonoma Valley.
The Tellers first set about transforming the barn from a dairy and storage facility into a retail store. After completing renovations on the lower floor and clearing out vintage cars stored upstairs, the Red Barn Store was opened to the public, and featured sustainably harvested produce, cut flowers, and artfully arranged bouquets.
Today the three story, 100 year-old barn has many uses. The retail store is located at ground level along with two open bays, one for loading and a second containing a walk-in refrigerator. Dried goods are stored on the middle floor, and on the third story, produce for handcrafted wreaths, such as garlic and chillies hang on drying racks. At this time of year, the Red Barn Store is stocked with and gourds, flowers, vegetables, fruit, handcrafted wreaths, and holiday decor.
Over 30 successful years, the Red Barn Store has become a mainstay within the local economy. The roots of the eucalyptus tree may be shallow, but the roots of this farm run ever deeper within the Sonoma County community.