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Beyond the Berry 

Lao's farm stand stocks the greens

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Lao's farm stand off Highway 12 near Sebastopol is known all over Sonoma County for its beautifully red and juicy strawberries, but the locally grown berries aren't all that farmer Lao Saetern and family have to offer.

Lao grew up in a family of farmers in Thailand. His family grew crops without any pesticides or chemicals, using traditional farming methods and water buffalo to plow the fields and tend to the crops. Lao's strawberries have graced the side of Highway 12 for about nine years, but it wasn't until five or six years ago that Lao started selling other kinds of produce. He grew vegetables for family and friends, but didn't think about selling the produce until his customers started asking.

Though strawberries are the main produce, you can now also buy green beans, apricots, squash, zucchini, onions and much more. There's currently an abundance of cherry tomatoes, onions, green beans and apricots, and within the next two weeks there will be more vegetables as they come into season.

The farm stand is run by all members of the family, including Ryan Saetern, who comes back for the summers when he is not in school, to help his father run the stand. Lao's strawberry stand is located on Highway 12, right after Duer Road, and is open most weekdays, but get there early because the hours are dependent on how long the strawberries last!

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