Welcome to Gold Ridge
Luther Burbank Experiment Farm
In 1885 Luther Burbank bought land in Sebastopol and for the next forty years conducted his large-scale plant experiments on these 18 acres. During his career he introduced over 800 varieties of fruits, flowers, vegetables, and grains. He developed many of California’s plums and prunes, the ancestor of the Idaho Potato, the Shasta Daisy, and novelties such as plumcots, thornless blackberry, and spineless cactus. See Luther Burbank Biography
After his death in 1927 his wife leased the property to Stark Brothers Nursery until 1957. In 1973 she sold the property to the Sebastopol Area Housing Corporation, which shortly thereafter began development of the Burbank Heights Housing complex. At the time of the sale of the property, the Corporation agreed that the three acres in the northwest corner of the property be preserved. This parcel includes the cottage and many important plant specimens developed by Burbank at the Farm.
By the mid 1970’s the cottage had fallen into disrepair, and the property was overrun with poison oak and blackberries. The Western Sonoma County Historical Society was formed to restore and preserve the Farm. In 1975, as its first order of business, applications were filed to place the Farm and Burbank’s cottage on the National Register of Historic Places. The property was placed on the register in 1978, and the Society has continued since that time to work at restoring the Farm.
In 1995 title to the three acres was released to the City of Sebastopol who, in turn, leased the Farm to the Western Sonoma County Historical Society.
visiting luther burbank’s experiment farm
As a City Park, maintained by volunteers of the Western Sonoma County Historical Society, the Farm is open from dusk until dawn every day of the year. Please note that currently there are no restrooms available at this property. Our address is: 7781 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472. (Please enter at 7777 Bodega Avenue, Burbank Heights and Orchards Senior Housing).
Aerial View of the Gold Ridge Farm
ways to visit the Farm
- Take a Self-Guided Tour at Luther Burbank Experiment Farm
Stroll the grounds or take a tour any time: You can find a self-guided tour brochure on the kiosk, the barn, by the door to the cottage, or in the mailbox by the cottage.
See our Self-Guided Tour
- Schedule a Docent-Led Tour
Docents at Luther Burbank’s Experiment Farm in Sebastopol provide guided tours of the historic farm, cottage, and barn, to groups of adults and schoolchildren. Our tour cost is $5 per adult, $2 per child, with a minimum of $25. Call 707-829-2361 to schedule a tour.
- Attend our Open House
Burbank’s historic cottage is open for our Open House and we also offer Docent-Led tours at this event. Volunteers will be at the Nursery to help with your plant selection. Please see the website calendar for the date of our next Open House. (Postponed due to the Pandemic)
- Visit our Nursery
Our nursery is open daily and there you can purchase a variety of plants. Most of the plants sell for $3, for 4″ pots or $5, for 1 gallon pots and payment is by the honor system. Please note payment envelopes are next to the small barn door, right of the nursery, and please slip your payment into the slot on that door.
- Stop by on Wednesday Mornings
Our volunteer workday is Wednesday from 9 AM to Noon. At this time you can talk to our volunteers, ask questions, and possibly get a peek into the cottage.
- Visit the Historic Cottage
Local historians, intent on preserving the Burbank legacy in Sebastopol, formed the Western Sonoma County Historical Society in 1974. The National Register of Historic Places registered the cottage in 1978. At the cottage you will find significant photos of Luther Burbank and his experiment farm, excerpts from his notebooks, and volumes dedicated to Burbank’s life and experiments. The Cottage Farm Gift Shop has a variety of items related to Luther Burbank including books, jams from the Farm, T shirts, and household items with Burbank prints. Our books range from $4.00 to $24.00 books related to his plant experiments and we include recipes for fruits and vegetables and medicine. Our household items include Tote bags, aprons, dish towels printed with Burbank stencils. We also have gift cards painted by local artists of fruits and blossoms for $5.00 each.
The Farm is a Unique Laboratory
Here you can see some of Burbank’s experiments that he worked on more than 90 years ago. Perhaps some of his experiments are only half finished! And here you can view plant hybrids that do not exist anywhere else in the world.