Faces of Portola Valley

Maybe we aren’t the only ones curious about what was down the long driveway off Alpine Road marked “Treeland.” Given that the sign says “wholesale only,” we never ventured down, at least until we met Haydi Danielson.

Haydi, along with her sisters, are the daughters of Susan and John Boething, who started Boething Treeland Farms in 1952 in Southern California. There are now 10 farms altogether, 400 acres in northern California and 500 in SoCal.

“We were all raised the same way,” Haydi said. “You go to high school, you go to college, and then you join the family business.

“I’m number two in age, and I went straight from college to the business, as expected. Not surprisingly given that we are a family business, the first and second generations occasionally butted heads.

“So I escaped to the East Coast and Yale. But then I came back.”

The Boething Treeland property in Portola Valley is 50 acres, a somewhat surprising cluster of trees and plants in the middle of bustling Silicon Valley.

“We grow a lot of Coast Live Oak and trees in the Madrone family here,” Haydi explained. “In addition, we grow shrubs, perennials, succulents and grasses. Our clients are primarily landscape contractors.”

Treeland’s 35 employees do a little of everything — irrigating, pruning, staking and pulling weeks. Haydi appreciates their loyalty, as most come to work and stay on the job for years.

“It’s really great to be in a business that is good for the earth,” she said. “Given that there is so much concern about global climate change, I view it as a pure stroke of luck that my parents started a business that has the potential to offset carbon emissions.

“And of course there is the obvious bonus: I get to spend time with lots of trees!”

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2019

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