As I watched Larkin play his wooden flute, I was memorized by the blissful sounds filling the air. My soul soared to a place far beyond the heavens, and I was captivated by every note. The audience that night at Kala, in Astoria, enjoyed every song with happy tears and smiling faces. It was right around Thanksgiving time, and I suddenly felt overwhelming gratitude for Larkin Stentz and his legacy. My mother was a talented flutist, but she played more traditional music. The sounds coming from Larkin’s flute were nothing like I had heard before and left me longing for more.
Larkin Stenz is a well-known name around Clatsop and Pacific County. I first met him at one of my yoga classes. He has a calm demeanor and beautiful energy that ignites the room. It wasn’t until sometime later, when I signed up for his CSA program at Green Angel Farms, that I began to learn the full extent of his talents. He is not only a skillful musician, but is also the steward of a sustainable living farm, and has traveled the world as a Master Gardner and teacher.
Larkin plays a bunch of different flutes, and each one produces a unique sound. From the clear piercing notes of his silver electric flute to his handcrafted bamboo flutes, each has a magical tone. One of his most popular albums is Stairway to Emptiness, released in December of 2007. The international, meditative production features the beautiful songs of “Whale Symphony” and “Infinite Heart.” At one of my yoga classes, he graciously gifted me another of his albums, appropriately named, “Inside the Astoria Column,” where he recorded the entire album from inside the column. The reverberation and resonance of the notes are remarkable as they bounce off the historic walls of the famous Astoria landmark, creating music that will take you to another place and time.
When Larkin isn’t busy recording and performing his music, he is managing his sustainable farm. Green Angel Gardens, located at 6807 Sandridge Rd. in Long Beach, is an icon of the community. It’s a charming small organic farm that provides quality fresh produce to local restaurants. Out in front of the farm is a little farm stand where you can stop and purchase products directly from the gardens. You might find colorful chard, tasty apples, fragrant basil, or butter leaf lettuce, depending on the season. Typically the farms stand is unmanned, so customers are asked to leave funds behind in the appropriate jar. It’s an unusually simple and trusting approach in today’s materialistic time.
While you’re there, you might want to sign up for Green Angel’s C.S.A. (community supported agriculture) program, although with just an acre of land cultivated, and two greenhouses, it is limited to 30 members. For only $25 per delivery, you receive a share of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, and maybe even one of Larkin’s decadent homemade loaves of bread. According to the farm’s website, “Pickups are every Friday in Washington and every other Friday in Oregon. Participants pay up front! This helps to provide the farm with working capital to grow the food and to purchase supplies and produce from other farms.” Purchasing a CSA share is a terrific way to buy delicious fresh produced fruits and veggies while supporting local agriculture.
People have traveled from around the world to learn from Larkin. He sometimes hosts WOOFing and intern volunteers eager to learn sustainable agriculture practices from a Master Gardner. Volunteers do things like seeding, planting, weeding, watering, composting, collecting eggs, caring for the chickens, and some light carpentry. The farm also features a compost toilet, solar energy, and a geodesic dome greenhouse.
Green Angel will always be grateful for Larry Warnberg who spearheaded the planning and construction of the dome with many volunteers. They call the dome “Bucky” in honor of Buckminster Fuller, designer of the very first domes. Some of the sustainable living practices incorporated into the design of the dome include insulated raised growing beds and a state-of-the-art thermal mass water tank to store and release heat. it also has a circulation system for heated air to be directed under the raised beds to keep the plant’s roots warm and healthy, and a northern internal wall that reflects heat and sunshine during the winter months for maximum efficiency. While visiting the farm, make sure you say hello to the friendly turkey and the free-range chickens that are always happy to receive a little affection.
With so many talents, Larkin Stentz has had a lasting positive impact on the local community, and our greater global community. His music and farm have created a legacy that has touched the lives of the people who adore him, including his large family and neighbors on the Washington State Peninsula..