Alchemy Distillery, Amy and Steve Bohner

So what do you do when you already have the BIG JOB? — huge private and public construction projects that require full time management?  Why start a completely new business, that’s what!

Amy andflood map caltrans0005 Steve Bohner are the owners of Alchemy Distillery (oh, and also Alchemy Construction — which specialized in green building designs).  Using local grains that they have purchased from Rhonda Wiedenbeck of Beck’s Bakery (grown in the lovely fertile growing region of Honeydew, CA), they are making Boldt Whiskey.  Alchemy Distiller Alchemy bottles and boxes Alchemy Barrels Alchemy AmyIf you want to know about the head, heart and tails of the distillery process…learn about the whiskey trail…experience the majesty of the gigantic U.S. made distiller — Listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview.

Lisa and Laurence Hindley, Hindley Ranch

I heart gluten — I know, there are some of you that just can’t digest the stuff — but I just love it, love saying that bread is the staff of life, and eat it every day.  I got turned on by local wheat when Shakefork Farm started growing it many years ago — and I knew from talking to some oldtimers in Hoopa, that Humboldt County used to grow lots of wheat — but when farmers had to “get big or get out” the small wheat farmers were pushed out of business.

Kevin and Melanie Cunningham, John LaBoyteaux, Dan Primerano, and the Hindley’s are some of our new grain pioneers — and people like Rhonda Wiedenbeck from Beck’s Bakery and Jacob Pressey from Humboldt Regeneration (BEER!) make sure that it ends up in local products for us all to enjoy (and, if you want to make your own bread with it — Rhonda sells that too, at the farmers market).

The Hindley’s have a farm out in Honeydew and have been growing local wheat.  Listen Here — you can visit their Hindley Ranch website

Camp Grant Ranch, John LaBoyteaux

Update on Camp Grant Ranch — October 2016

If you hang around long enough and volunteer to pick pumpkins with John LaBoyteaux, then you are lucky enough to get an invitation to The Last Pumpkin Waltz harvest party.  The day was the stormiest on the north coast in a long time, water was pooling on Hwy 101 and coming from the sky in a great deluge.  I was a little worried I’d arrive to find that the party had been canceled — but of course, you know these tough Humboldt County folk — I wasn’t the only one who braved the storm to head down to Camp Grant Ranch.  Loads of home cooked foods were consumed, followed by pumpkin carving — which was good, because that was followed by a tasting of Alchemy Distillery Boldt Whiskey — in a fabulous drink that made all of that rain outside seem like a sunny day.  Not sure I would have handled the pumpkin carving knives well if I’d had whiskey first!big-ole-boldt-sunrise-recipe-card

Amy Bohner shows off a bottle of Boldt Whiskey -- which was promptly consumed by those attending!

Amy Bohner shows off a bottle of Boldt Whiskey — which was promptly consumed by those attending!


John LaBoyteaux checks out the label of his own personal bottle, a gift from Amy and Steve Bohner from Alchemy Distillery.


Sally carved this pumpkin before consuming the shot of Boldt Whiskey — honest!


However — Sally was happy to be the recipient of the first shot…


The label shows AGS-104 Rye as the grain varietal; the farm is Camp Grant Family Farm, Location is Clover Crossing, Lake County.

If you’ve followed the local food movement in Humboldt, I’m sure you’ve come across the name John LaBoyteaux — John generously donates much of his time to share his thoughts about supporting local farmers and land use issues.  He is one of the pioneers who is bringing wheat back to Humboldt.  That’s right, I said “back” to Humboldt.  In the early 1900’s Humboldt County was an award winning region for growing wheat.  These were smaller pieces of land that used smaller pieces of equipment to work them — not the giant combines you picture in the great plains region.  John recently helped with an effort to study different varieties at the College of the Redwoods farm down in Shively — soft and hard wheats that will soon be available at farmers markets.  John has worked with Rhonda Wiedenbeck from Beck’s Bakery to grow some varieties that she can include in her products so we can once again eat bread made from wheat grown in Humboldt.

At the end of August 2016 I was invited to a wheat harvest at Camp Grant Ranch — photos below give a small taste of the wondrous barrels of wheat that will make their way into Rhonda Wiedenbeck’s bread (Beck’s Bakery) and Steve and Amy’s spirits (Alchemy Distillery)…as well as some of my own pastries and breads!

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