FORESTVILLE -- After more than 45 years in the same rustic barn-style building, Kozlowski Farms has consolidated its specialty food country store, delicatessen, administrative offices and processing facilities in a new 10,000-square-foot structure located near the entrance to the farm near Sebastopol.
The store, located at 5566 Gravenstein Hwy. N. (Highway 116) five miles north of the city, opened for business June 15. The new building, with a traditional farmer’s market look and feel, is closer to the highway with ample parking for customers.
“The main floor of our new building features the retail center in front with fruit and vegetable processing operations and bakery in back,” said Cindy Kozlowski-Hayworth, president of the company.
The first level has 7,200 square feet of space, almost double the 4,000 square feet in the original store. The second floor has 2,800 square feet for the company’s administrative offices.
The former building will become a warehouse to store the company’s growing inventory of products including old fashion jams, jellies and preserves, barbecue and grilling sauces, fat free and canola-based salad dressings, vinegars, syrups and no-sugar-added (all fruit-sweetened) fruit spreads.
The list of specialty items also includes chipotle sauces, chutneys, marmalades, marinades, butters, mustards, pasta sauce, pies, tarts, cookies, apple strudel, bruschetta, cioppino, Russian River Valley wines and a variety of gifts and souvenirs.
[caption id="attachment_75513" align="alignright" width="350"] Kozlowski Farms' new 10,000-square-foot retail center and production facility in Forestville opened June 15. The second floor accommodates administrative offices. (image credit: Gary Quackenbush)[/caption]
The company also prepares gift baskets and boxes and offers gift certificates popular during the holidays and other special occasions throughout the year.
In the 1950s, Cindy Kozlowski’s parents, Carmen and Tony Kozlowski, bought the 21-acre parcel after purchasing an adjacent apple farm a year earlier.
This land was part of the old El Molino Rancho, a land grant belonging to the last Mexican governor of California, Gen. Mariano Vallejo, before he granted it to his brother-in-law, Capt. John Bautista Rogers Cooper, in 1834.
“My parents planted raspberries here in 1969 and harvested their first crop the same year, which led to the successful cultivation of blackberries, blueberries and cherries that became the cornerstones of the family’s preserve and vinegar business.
In 1999, the raspberries were replanted with pinot noir grapes and Mother Carmen’s eldest granddaughter, Tracy, and her husband Joe Dutton, began crafting the family’s boutique-production pinot noir at their Dutton Estate Winery near Sebastopol,” Ms. Kozlowski said.
Today visitors can still see this vineyard on the west side of the property. This was another reason for placing the new retail center on the east side near the highway.
In the early 1980s, Kozlowski Farms (707-887-1587, kozlowskifarms.com) embraced organic agriculture and became one of first California Certified Organic Farmers in Sonoma County. The production facility also is kosher-certified.
The second generation of this family-owned and -operated enterprise includes Carol, Perry and Cindy. In the third generation are grandchildren Kyle Hayworth and Janae Kozlowski, who continue the family's roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic and farm-fresh cooking practices established by their parents.
“We tell people that we don’t claim to make the most, but only the best products,” Ms. Kozlowski said. "Over the years Kozlowski Farms has become a Sonoma County classic turning homemade recipes into a quality brand recognized by a growing number of consumers and food retailers.