Visiting Pollock Farm is a step back into the early and exciting times of California’s first years as a state. After entering the driveway lined with decades-old olive trees artists arrived at the home and headquarters of this historic farm which includes the original Wells Fargo Express building for Yolo County.
The structure — still featuring the original brickwork and iron doors — was used from 1861 to 1872 to safely secure gold coins from the many bandits who roamed the early state. Standing on high ground on the east bank of Cache Creek, the building also served as a way station for travelers and businessmen of the era unable to cross the creek to Cacheville, the county seat at the time. The quaint aviary behind the brick structure, built at the same time, now sits abandoned, another testament to those early days.
Today Lynnel and Herb Pollock own and operate (along with their two sons) this 137 acre farm that sits on Class 1 soil, the highest classification there is. The Pollocks, who have lived here for 30 years, chose to put the farm into a permanent agricultural easement with the Yolo Land Trust in 2006, so that it must always only be used for agriculture, saving it in perpetuity from being developed for other uses. “We enjoy the rural life,” says Lynnel, a former Yolo County Supervisor, former president of the Yolo County Farm Bureau, and one of the founders of the Yolo Land Trust. “We own the land and we live on the land.Not many people are able to do that anymore.”
The 1950s house they live in, surrounded by tall oak, sycamore and pecan trees, sits not far from the cattle barn of an earlier vintage. “It’s on its last legs now,” says Lynnel, “after last year’s heavy storms.” The farm features sunflowers, now at the tail end of the the season, and 35 acres of walnut groves. There is also a refurbished equipment barn and a variety of old and antique farm equipment. “I think it’s a privilege to preserve a part of the past on this farm,” says Lynnel. “It’s wonderful to be the keeper of history.
Portrait of Herb and Lynell Pollock taken by Charles Vincent McDonald. All other photos courtesy of YoloArts.