A Foundation of FLORA
Trinity River Farm
By Nathan Butler | Photos by Sheala Dunlap
Good soil, plenty of water, lots of sun, and Tom O’Gorman; that is how you make your garden grow. Nestled in a picturesque valley of the Trinity River you will find Tom and his horticulture hard at work providing the local community and produce pilgrims from as far as Switzerland and Belgium, with not just healthy vegetables and succulent fruits, but beauty as well- with more flowers than could be listed. “I have a green thumb.” says Tom. “There is something to it. By the time I was 13 or 14- wherein other kids would mow lawns or rake leaves for pocket money, I already had a reputation that I could grow roses and flowers.” For over 40 years his farm has been family owned. “For a while it was a hippie commune when my uncle owned it, but it did evolve into a family farm. I was a very fortunate 21 year old. It’s not common that a 21 year old finds their spot.”
Don’t doubt the commitment of the tomato lover. “Tomatoes are our #1 crop. A vine ripened tomato tastes better than one picked a little too soon.” Often, large commercial farmers will pick their produce early so they have time to be shipped to stores possibly states away. “Tomato lovers will eat a tomato everyday from the day they are ripe until the day they are gone. People will get excited about sweet corn or even peaches, but peach lovers won’t necessarily eat a peach everyday all peach season.”
Trinity River Farms is a flourishing 25 acre property. In regard to the size Tom says, “small by American standards, but probably average on a world standard.” Aside from the fruit stand, there is a scenic grove that has hosts weddings with a captivating view of the river. “We have had weddings, company picnics, family reunions here. One wedding we had, the groom was from Australia and we had a bear come down and take a bath in the river. That was quite exciting for all the Australians, since they don’t have bears [like that] in Australia.” Tom says Bigfoot has yet to make an appearance at any of the weddings. There are places to picnic. “We encourage people to wander around. We have pick-your-own flowers.”
The farm has many facets. “We have a mixed fruit orchard across the street. We have a peach orchard on the other side of the barn.” Tom says describing the diversity of his farm. Inside the barn he has “a 1946 tractor that’s still a big part of the business.” There are greenhouses bursting with color and life, fields adorned with ribbons of flowers, and hundreds of trees dotting and lining the farm.
You won’t see Tom’s harvest in the supermarket any time soon. “Our business plan is definitely slow growth, but it seems to be working Our main plan for the future is that we hope to have a small cafe in Willow Creek.” I don’t know if he owns a closed sign. “We are open everyday from the 1st of April until Thanksgiving.”