Sometimes we just want to slow down, smell the roses and chew the cud at one of the hidden gems in or near our Town. One such place is the SMIP Ranch on Bear Gulch Road. The name, which originally stood for originally ‘Syntex Made It Possible’, was given by owner Carl Djerassi, an organic chemist who, at Syntex, in 1951, was responsible for the synthesis of norethindrone, the basis of the first effective oral contraceptive. SMIP now stands for ‘Sic Manebimus In Pace,’ or ‘so we shall remain in peace,’ according to Djerassi’s son, Dale. Ever since 2002, SMIP Ranch Produce has run an organic permaculture farm on three acres of the land. The focus is on sustainability, good land stewardship, and quality produce. Herbs and vegetables are grown for the Village Pub in Woodside along with other restaurants.
The site also hosts the Djerassi Resident Artist’s Program, a live-in artists colony and workshop that was developed as a memorial to Pamela Djerassi, Dale’s sister, who was a gifted artist. The Program has provided over 1,500 artist residencies, and currently serves approximately 80 artists each year – all free of charge. It is the largest artist residency program in the West. Members of the public can visit this hidden Woodside jewel since tours of the sculpture garden are conducted several times a year and the program periodically hosts fundraisers.
Hopefully, you’ll take an opportunity to enjoy some of the farm’s produce at the Village Pub, or take time to visit the sculpture garden. For more information on the Artist’s Program go here and for information on the organic farm read this article in the Redwood City Daily News.