CCOF shares a big appreciation to Bill Reynolds of Eel River Produce in Humboldt County for his expertise in seed breeding and commitment to organic agriculture. Reynolds, a certified organic farmer since 1989, is an organic farmer specializing in dry farming and known for developing the dark start zucchini, Eel River melon, stella blue squash, and other crops.
As told by Zea Sonnabend in an issue of Certified Organic, over twenty years ago Reynolds was having a difficult time finding a zucchini desirable for wholesalers. He worked with John Navazio to cross the hybrid “Raven” and heirloom “Black Beauty” zucchinis. The result, the dark star zucchini, is a successful variety known for high yields, disease resistance, a good shelf life, and a superior taste. Others of his varieties are widely available and are staples for organic operations large and small.
CCOF inspector Beth Dominick fondly remembers working with Reynolds on the annual inspections of Eel River Produce, where he demonstrated a deep love for his land and farming. One year, Reynolds recommended she just walk across Eel River and he would pick her up on the other side for the inspection instead of driving the long, bumpy log truck road or crossing the seasonal summer bridge to the farm.
Off the farm, Reynolds is known as a caring mentor with endless charisma and charm. He participated in the CCOF apprentice program and frequently spoke at EcoFarm conferences about dry farming, seed breeding, and more. His expertise was shared with countless students, organic farmers, seed breeders, and CCOF staff and inspectors.
As Reynolds retires and slows down off the farm, CCOF and the organic community sincerely thank him for his many decades of commitment to organic and his legacy in seed breeding. His children will continue to farm Eel River Produce with Reynolds’ practices, values, and pride. Thank you, Bill!