Meet the fabulously gay farmers redefining California agriculture.
Cody and Thomas Nicholson Stratton, the Foggy Bottoms Boys, are Northern California's fabulously gay agricultural power couple with a massive social media following. (Courtesy of @foggybottomsboys)

Meet the fabulously gay farmers redefining California agriculture.


Dairy farmers brought Humboldt County’s tiny Loleta to life—then the industry’s decline turned it into a ghost town more than 100 years later.

But now, a pair of fabulously gay farmers are bringing the nearly forgotten village back from the dead. The magical engine driving its resurgence? Ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

To their almost 200,000 combined followers on TikTok and Instagram, the Foggy Bottoms Boys are the champions of regenerative and sustainable foodways, slinging nuggets of wisdom with humor, insight, and panache. At home in Loleta, Cody and Thomas Nicholson Stratton (with some assistance from their son, the "tiny farmer") are an agricultural power couple who are helping to redefine the image of California’s farmers and ranchers.

Cody and Thomas Nicholson Stratton, the Foggy Bottoms Boys, at their cow-to-cone ice cream shop, Jersey Scoops.(Courtesy of @foggybottomsboys)

“For the most part, the farming and ranching community is fairly supportive of us, and we’re definitely seeing more and more people from the LGBTQ+ communities taking part,” says Cody.

“A lot of farmers and ranchers place value on contribution: What are you bringing to the industry, to the community. The fact that we’re engaged, we earn our spot because we’re contributing.”

It's been 10 years since the Nicholson Strattons began engaging in Loleta’s farming community together. For Cody, it was a homecoming. He’s the sixth generation to work the farm first settled by his great-great-grandfather.

The Nicholsons were early adopters of organic, says Cody, focusing on soil health, plant life communities, wildlife habitat, and sustainable agriculture. But until Thomas’ arrival, producing milk destined for Rumiano Cheese Company, California’s oldest family-owned cheesemaker, was the primary game of their certified humane Jersey dairy.

With his outsider perspective and a background in business administration, marketing, and non-profit food systems education, Thomas pushed the farm’s boundaries, helping them to develop new operations to complement and honor its heritage. “Diversifying is kind of a necessity for farms and family farms now,” he says.

Sustainably raising sheep for wool was their first project, creating fiber products like yarn, dryer balls, and one-of-a-kind throws. Then came free range eggs courtesy of a brood of hens that rotate around the ranch alongside the sheep in self-sustaining chick trailers. Grass fed beef and lamb sold by the cut and as whole-animal shares followed, as well as a handful of fun farm-themed merch—all available online.

Thomas Nicholson Stratton with the Tiny Farmer and a resident of the farm.(Courtesy of Foggy Bottoms Boys)

As they grew, social media helped them to share their unique role in the food system, a connection not many of us have in an era of industrialized, supermarket-ready agriculture. “That’s a beautiful part for us,” says Thomas. “Knowing the power of being able to tell a story and to find that affinity among human-kind.”

Jersey Scoops, their cow-to-cone ice cream shop on Loleta’s Main Street, is one more tool in the family’s agricultural Swiss army knife. “All the ice cream is made in house using about 100 gallons of milk from our cows,” says Cody. New flavors—Wookie Cookie (Girl Scout thin mints in chocolate ice cream) in homage to Star Wars, Danish butter cookie to honor Cody’s family origins, and bubblegum in celebration of Pride—arrive weekly. Goat’s milk ice cream will also make its debut this summer.

As an ambassador of joy, their ice cream is helping the Foggy Bottoms Boys to continue the work of overcoming the expectations and negative assumptions of LGBTQ+ individuals in the farming and ranching community.

Jersey Scoops is helping to bring the town of Loleta back to life.(Courtesy of Foggy Bottoms Boys)

“It’s not uncommon to see other dairymen coming into the ice cream shop every day or telling us the flavors they want us to start making or specials we should name after them,” says Cody. “We find those pockets of acceptance sometimes in areas that we least expect.”

Diversification isn’t just the key to sustainable food production, but to the entire food system, Cody continues. “Bringing people to the table with different backgrounds doesn’t just make it more beautiful, but more resilient.”

Thomas agrees. “For me, there’s an aspect of making sure people know they have a space in agriculture. It’s not easy,” but the LGBTQ+ individuals engage in agricultural spaces, the more they will “quell the fear” of those who’ve had few opportunities to interact with people with diverse identities.

// Jersey Scoops, 348 Main St. (Loleta),

The gals providing the milk for the cone-to-cream ice cream shop, Jersey Scoops.(Courtesy of Foggy Bottoms Boys)

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