Meet Samantha Zangrilli and Cheetah Tchudi
Samantha Zangrilli went to Chico State and graduated with a degree in Environmental Politics. Cheetah Tchudi went to Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington and graduated with a degree in Agriculturally Ecology. The couple met in 2008 at a local farm and where married in a year. The duo now farms 40 acres in Yankee Hill, Ca. With 35 sheep, 200 chickens, 50 ducks, 2 pigs, 5 dogs and 4 cats. They are primarily shepherds first and also take on such tasks as land management with NRCS. Along with having a common passion of farming the couple also loves to ride bicycles.
Tell us about your business.
We farm 40 acres of oak savanna, brush land, and pasture in Yankee Hill, California. Seated between the immense wilderness of the Plumas National Forest and the great bread-basket of the Sacramento Valley, we manage our land for both the production of food and expansion of wildlife habitat. We utilize non-violent and non-chemical means of controlling predators including having two guardian dogs on duty 24/7. We are a farm producing a diversity of food including gourmet duck eggs, pasture raised poultry and lamb, dried and added value herbal products and cut flowers. Samantha Zangrilli and partner Cheetah Tchudi make up the ranchers, egg and flower farmers. Susan Tchudi Mother to Cheetah is the brain and force behind Everything Herbal. Our farm uses the highest quality feeds and inputs available to us. We use Sea Kelp throughout our program. Kelp provides both plants and livestock with micronutrients not otherwise found in commercial feeds and fertilizers. We give our pasture poultry electrolytes, probiotics and grit. We also move them onto fresh ground every day and humanely harvest them.
What is your mission + vision statement?
We subscribe to the belief that an ecosystem, natural or agricultural, is more stable when there is a diversity of species. We do not grow crops in monoculture, instead we see the farm as a place where synergisms observed in nature can be brought into symphony. At TurkeyTail Farm we see agriculture as a management of relationships; utilization of photosynthesis, degradation and digestion to make efficient uses of all our resources, from the oak woods of the Foothills to the rice fields of the Sacramento Valley.
We employ landscape perspective to manage pests; using natural pest-predator relationships to control garden pests, not synthetic or “organic” spays. By providing a diverse ecosystem and habitat for pest-predators, our insect problems are nearly near zero. When pest problems do develop, we do not reach for a chemical or bottled solution, instead, we understand the pest is an indicator of nutrient or ecosystem imbalance (and try to adjust our management accordingly). Our garden program is not focused on yields or pounds produced; instead our goal is nutrient balance and healthy soil microbiology.
What do you love most about your job?
Our Land is our church. Our animals are our family. The food that we are producing will go to feed not only ourselves but the community and the families in it. Making good food for good people is what makes us the happiest.
What do you like to do for leisure?
When Cheetah is not building something on the farm you can find him on the mountain biking trails in Bidwell park. Sammey loves to wild craft from the land and expand her knowledge of reuse and recycled crafting.
What songs do you listen to or what things do you do to get your creative juices flowing?
Sammey’s favorite band in Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. Cheetah loves Solid Steel.
What was your favorite part of the creative process + photoshoot?
Knowing I am making something that is not only good for me but good for the Earth.