The farm had a main house, a large barn, and a garden shed, where Kottke and Holmes slept.
Jobs took on the task of pruning the Gravenstein apple trees. "Steve ran the apple orchard," said Friedland.
"We were in the organic cider business. Steve's job was to lead a crew of freaks to prune the orchard and whip it back into shape."
Monks and disciples from the Hare Krishna temple would come and prepare vegetarian feasts redolent of cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
"Steve would be starving when he arrived, and he would stuff himself," Holmes recalled.
"Then he would go and purge. For years I thought he was bulimic.
It was very upsetting, because we had gone to all that trouble of creating these feasts, and he couldn't hold it down."
Jobs was also beginning to have a little trouble stomaching Friedland's cult leader style.
"Perhaps he saw a little bit too much of Robert in himself," said Kottke.
Although the commune was supposed to be a refuge from materialism, Friedland began operating it more as a business;
his followers were told to chop and sell firewood, make apple presses and wood stoves, and engage in other commercial endeavors for which they were not paid.
One night Jobs slept under the table in the kitchen and was amused to notice that people kept coming in and stealing each other's food from the refrigerator.
Communal economics were not for him. "It started to get very materialistic," Jobs recalled.
"Everybody got the idea they were working very hard for Robert's farm, and one by one they started to leave. I got pretty sick of it."
Many years later, after Friedland had become a billionaire copper and gold mining executive—working out of Vancouver, Singapore,
and Mongolia—I met him for drinks in New York.
That evening I emailed Jobs and mentioned my encounter.
He telephoned me from California within an hour and warned me against listening to Friedland.
He said that when Friedland was in trouble because of environmental abuses committed by some of his mines,
he had tried to contact Jobs to intervene with Bill Clinton, but Jobs had not responded.
"Robert always portrayed himself as a spiritual person, but he crossed the line from being charismatic to being a con man," Jobs said.
"It was a strange thing to have one of the spiritual people in your young life turn out to be, symbolically and in reality, a gold miner."