Farmer Spotlight: Dinner Bell Farm – You’re Invited to a Chicken Party


Molly Nakahara of Dinner Bell Farms with her flock of chickens.
Molly Nakahara of Dinner Bell Farms with her flock of chickens.

Dinner Bell Farm Owners: Molly Nakahara and Paul Glowaski

Tell us about your farm and what you love about farming:

Dinner Bell Farm broke ground in 2010 and has been on a journey to create a successful, small-scale farm ever since. Dinner Bell Farm is a micro- family farm located in Chicago Park, CA, just outside of Grass Valley.  We run a 30 acre, diverse farming operation specializing in pasture-raised Mangalitsa and Mulefoot hogs and specialty fresh flowers.  By playing an active role in our community, staying true to our values, and closely observing the land we steward, we aim to create a model farm that is financially successful, ecologically sustainable, and socially just.

We farm because we love this earth and we believe that ecological agriculture is part of the solution.  We farm because we believe that nutritionally dense food is a human right.  We farm because we KNOW that there is a better way to treat the animals we eat.   We farm because we want food production to be a viable way of making a living.  We farm to grow the food and flowers that grace the tables of you and your loved ones.

What is challenging about farming?

Molly Nakahara harvesting flowers.
Molly Nakahara harvesting flowers.

Farming is very rewarding and very challenging. Up here in Nevada County, there is not a ton of agricultural land available.  It is tough to grow a farm business to a successful scale without enough land.  We’re glad to hear that the local land trust is getting more involved in buying agricultural easements and protecting farmland- it is of vital importance to the success of local farms!

What advice would you give someone who wanted to get into farming?

Put the time and energy needed to create a really good business plan and then be flexible! Become a part of the farming community – not just those farmers who do things the way you do but all farmers and ranchers.  Agriculture is a collective act and by respecting and learning from each other, we grow!

How can our local community support your business?

Spread the word about wedding flowers from Dinner Bell Farm! Check out our website for more info.  We also have our pasture-raised chicken for sale right now through our online marketplace.  We’d love for Sierra Harvest supporters to enjoy some of our delicious chicken.  We’re planning to throw an awesome Chicken Party on the pick-up day in early June.

What’s your vision for local food in our community? What would you like to see happen?

We’d love to see more legislative support for small farmers in our area. Larger tracks of protected agricultural land that can be made available to small farmers at agricultural prices instead of high real estate market values.   Exemptions that allow small ranchers to legally farm-slaughter animals.  Farm businesses are small businesses so the more we can to do make Nevada County a favorable place for small business, the more we help farmers.

Molly in the peach orchard.
Molly in the peach orchard.

How long have you been a Farm to School Partner with Chicago Park, what does being a farm partner entail and what do you enjoy about being a farm partner?

We’ve worked with Chicago Park School for a few years now and we LOVE it! We have a great team (Joy Drew from Backbraken Acres and CPS parent Heidi Zimmerman) and together have been able to create some really fun farm activities for the kids.  We have the students come out to Dinner Bell Farm and it is always a blast feeding the animals and exploring the farm with the students.  For the past two years, we’ve also gone into the schools and helped each student sow a 6-pack of vegetable starts for a Mother’s Day gift.  We grow the starts out in our greenhouses and then each student has a beautiful, nutritious gift for a special mom in their life!  We love connecting with the families and students in our community Our hope is that they see Dinner Bell Farm as an asset to our community – we are helping to preserve the great agricultural landscape of Chicago Park pioneered by families like the Bierwagens.  We want to be a part of what makes living in Chicago Park great!

Anything else you want to add?

We just want to encourage the Sierra Harvest community to keep on supporting our small farm community. We are so fortunate to live in a place that produces a huge diversity of high quality food.  Take advantage!  Your taste buds will thank you for it!