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Spotlight on SD Farming

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  • 25 Jun 2015 4:23 PM | Deleted user

    Mark Collins is all about balance. Work life balance (he lives where he works) and balance in business. I’m touring one of Mark’s nursery growing grounds in Escondido on a foggy morning in January. Mark takes a call from an employee at another site as we pause exploring the nursery in his pickup truck. “We’re getting a bunch of dirt delivered and my guys are telling me it’s full of rocks. We go through a lot of soil…” He’s interrupted by his cell phone; it’s the owner of the company delivering the dirt. They reach an agreement, and then Mark is back to pointing out the plants as we continue driving. Conduct an interview, conduct business, and check the plants. Balance: that’s what Mark aims for.

    Mark Collins owns Evergreen Nursery which is among the largest wholesale landscape nurseries in the region with locations in Carmel Valley, Oceanside, and El Cajon. We’re driving on 230 acres tucked in a box canyon in north Escondido, where Mark grows much of the stock that will supply his retail locations. Evergreen Nursery grows and sells virtually anything that a Southern California homeowner, landscaper, or developer would put in the ground. “General practitioner would be a good descriptor of what we grow,” he explains. “We service our own stores. We don’t sell little plants to anybody, we just put all our plants into our stores. In terms of customer base, we’ve got 40,000 customers in San Diego and all over the west, and its people that are actually going to use the plants.”

    We pull up to a greenhouse and get out. “We are working so hard on the greenhouses because the nursery industry has these ups and downs, to say the least, and when there’s downs there are plants all over the place, and when there’s ups you can’t get things.” He speaks clearly. “But we’re flatter. We don’t have those ups and downs. We kind of know what we’re going to do, and since we know what we’re going to do, we can produce stuff for ourselves. Therefore when everything goes short and there’s that one particular item that can’t be had, we still have enough of them for our regular customers.” Under a nearby shade structure he points to a green bushy plant covered in white roses. “This prop facility is just to keep us stocked up. For instance, those are all iceberg roses right there. Now, iceberg roses are a little short in the marketplace, but it’s not going to bother us a whole lot. We’re going to grow our own. We don’t worry about not being able to source a particular plant, we’re going to scratch it out ourselves to the extent that we can. That’s a lot about what we do.”

    We walk past a long stretch of potted plants with dark green leaves and blooms in a range of colors. “These are all camellias that we’ve grown from scratch. This seems like a lot of camellias, but by the time you spread them out over a whole year and spread that over three landscape centers plus our wholesale guys, it’s just about right. You can see there’s all different varieties. Again, it’s all about balance.”

    The company keeps sales records of what they produced and sold year to year, and they rely on this data to help them make decisions of what to grow for future years. “For us it’s just about staying in balance. Numbers. I don’t want to grow 20,000 of one thing. I don’t want to grow 10 of one thing. I want to grow what makes sense based on what sold last year.”

    Mark comes from a line of nurserymen. “My dad owned the biggest nursery chain in California. When I was growing up it was NurseryLand, and my dad’s dad was a nursery guy up in LA, and his dad was a rose grower in St. Louis.” Mark started Evergreen Nursery in 1973. Today it’s Mark’s son, Steven, who runs the day to day operations at Evergreen’s three landscape centers, and who’s helped update the company’s greenhouses. “My son is very techy compared to me; I’m just a mechanic. I keep things from being broken and find out ways to make things work,” he says.

    Mark walks to an area where row upon row of young citrus stock are planted. Many have ripe fruit hanging from their branches. “What we are doing a lot of, by choice, is citrus.” Under the asian citrus psyllid quarantine shipments of citrus stock into and out of the county have virtually stopped, but for Evergreen that hasn’t been a problem. “We sell it all right here. There’s a few citrus growers here in San Diego that really do a fabulous job, but there’s still not really enough supply, and when the citrus psyllid made it a hard ballgame it made me even more invigorated about doing it.” There are 32 varieties of citrus planted. “We’re using this as a sort of citrus proving grounds. For us it’s not market testing, its more direct, it’s about taste. We’re not reliant on the overall market, we’re reliant on the market through our own stores. We bring our employees here and have them taste citrus, so that when Mrs Johnson - which I lovingly call our customer - when Mrs Johnson’s landscaper shows up and says Mrs Johnson wants a fruit tree garden, what do I want to give her? Our employees know because they’ve been out here tasting, and it really makes a difference.”

    Grow what people want at the right numbers, work with the setbacks and challenges, keep the numbers balanced; Mark applies a similar principal to resources. On the property we’re touring he says, “There’s 4 wells and enough solar panels to run them all, and that’s basically it. That’s sort of the way of the future for agriculture in San Diego. Have a well and a solar panel. That way you can function.” By limiting the price variables of water and energy, he thinks, a farmer can make a go of it.

    Mark has been in the business long enough to have seen many things before. We walk past a stand of Queen palms rising high into the air. He notes, “a few years ago, Queen palms went on their ear. You couldn’t give them away. But we’re still selling some right now. So these things kind of come in circles.” And as the cycles keep turning, Mark and Evergreen Nursery will try to stay balanced.

  • 25 Jun 2015 4:14 PM | Deleted user

    piglets explore at Cook Pigs in Julian

    One could say that Cook Pigs started with a bit of an odd obsession with pigs. In 2011 Krystina and Mike Cook were living in Fallbrook and had recently welcomed their second child into their lives. They were becoming more intentional about what food they were feeding their growing family, and looked into raising a pig for their own consumption. Krystina got into it. Really into it. “My whole family thought I had a serious problem with pigs. They actually thought that maybe I had post-partum depression, because this was bizarre. It was a bizarre obsession,” she says.

    Out of that obsession started a small business. Krys and Mike raised heirloom breed hogs for themselves and began reaching out to farm to table restaurants to sell a few. At that point Krys realized something. “I learned I was pretty good at marketing, and we had this really niche market. I started getting chefs excited about it in LA and all of a sudden we got these write-ups in the LA Times and LA Weekly. I could have been selling a ton of pigs a week.”

    It was at that point the extended family took a closer look at what Krys and Mike were doing, and soon put a business plan together. The Cooks sold their home in Fallbrook and with financial backing from the rest of the family bought a larger property in Julian. In Fallbrook, they had only room for 20 pigs on the property at a time. In Julian, over 400 pigs of nine distinct heritage breeds roam freely through a carefully designed environment.

    The environment at Cook Pigs Ranch is designed to mimic the Iberian Peninsula where the world famous Iberico pigs are produced. “Iberico is the highest quality pork in the world. If you can get it, it sells for $150-200 per pound here. Here in Julian, we’re right under 5,000 ft. elevation and we’ve mimicked an Iberico pig, to the extreme now. We’ve placed them on rolling hills just for that purpose, and under oak trees which we are very specific about the kind of oak trees and the acorns. We take a lot of pride in this, and the pigs are living a supreme type of life,” Krys explains.

    Krys doesn’t mince words when she describes what sets their pork apart. “We’re about trying to preserve the heritage breeds. I’m about selling this pork to people that respect it as much as we do here. The chefs that are putting it on their menu, they label it as a Cook Pig and that’s not part of a deal we make. If you’re going to spend that much money, then people should know and care where it’s coming from, and respect the animal as much on the plate as it is here on the ranch. So when people complain about our prices, sometimes we do have room to move, but if you’re comparing us to a high end Smithfield brand, to us that’s insulting. That’s not even close. The conditions our pigs live in we take a lot of pride in. I say it’s transparent farming. We want people to come here. We have open ranch days all the time. We want people to know about their food, and be informed and educated.”

    Aside from being able to roam around the property Krys describes as “hog heaven” and eat wild acorns, Cook Pigs are also on a free feed program of a specialized food Krys developed with a swine nutritionist that keeps them naturally dewormed and healthy. “This whole property, if I was to describe our farm technique, is psychological. I’m a serious crazy pig person. We do everything for the pigs that is designed to make them happy and make them stress free.”

    Cook Pigs is doing more than raising and selling their own happy hogs. In November last year, they opened a USDA certified cut and wrap meat processing and retail shop in Kearny Mesa, sharing block space with other notable food purveyors like the Meat Men and Societe Brewing. It is the only USDA certified cut and wrap facility in the region. For swine, the next closest is in Fresno. Now, local livestock producers can get animals processed to USDA standards allowing that meat to be sold individually packaged at the retail level. This has already made a significant difference to one local farm.

    Paul Grieb is a co-owner of Primal Pastures, a farm in Temecula raising pastured lamb, chickens, and beef. They market their products almost exclusively online. “Customers order online, then we have farm to door stuff on delivery throughout Southern California,” he explains. Having Cook Pigs’ new facility in their relative backyard has expanded what Primal Pastures can offer customers. “Previously we had to have our meats butchered up in Paso Robles, but having them here is so much closer and convenient,” says Grieb. “We need USDA certification to sell to our customers, and Paso Robles was the closest. It’s a lot more convenient now. We can do smaller quantity batches because the transportation isn’t so bad. It keeps it in the community. If we raise, kill, butcher, and consume it here, that makes a lot more sense than driving it all over God’s green earth.” Plus, he adds, it gives them confidence in the product. “It’s good insurance for us; once it’s stamped USDA we know it’s been fully inspected and it’s safe. I guess that’s kind of the purpose; USDA is there to verify health and safety and cleanliness, but it’s better for the customer knowing that the food safety is there.”

    Krys admits that it’s been a slow start on the processing side. “We haven’t had a huge outpouring of ranchers, but we’ve had a few,” she says. It’s a chicken and egg conundrum; there aren’t a lot of livestock producers doing direct marketing because there was never a USDA facility near enough to make the finances pencil out. Now there’s a facility and the Cooks are hoping it’s a build it and they will come scenario. But having the facility, “it controls our product, and that’s the largest part of it,” she says. “We have such a really niche clientele, and they change their cut and wrap orders every week. We couldn’t outsource that now, it’s way too custom.”

    Looking ahead, “I think that one day there will be, I hope, more ranchers. Especially if we can get a slaughter facility set up here, then that’d be a huge deal. But that’s a huge feat, and we’re not going to do that,” Krys says laughing. Then again, Krys’s family thought she was crazy for looking at how to raise pigs.

  • 07 Jan 2015 4:26 PM | Deleted user

    San Diego Crop Profile: WinegrapesSan Diego winegrape production by the numbers:Triple B Ranches Syrah on the vine in Pauma Valley

    Acres in production: 842*

    Total value of winegrapes sold: $6,512,870*

    Avg. cost per acre of new vineyard installation: $30,000. Includes labor, certified root stock, protective vine covers, stakes, irrigation, and trellising hardware.

    Avg. annual cost per acre of vineyard maintenance: $5,000. Includes labor and water costs.

    Annual water use per acre: dry farm up to 1 acre foot

    *As reported in the 2013 Crop Statistics and Annual Report published by the office of the San Diego County Dept. of Agriculture, Weights and Measures.

    As Californians endure a third year of drought and calls for water conservation grow louder - while simultaneously there is certainty in water costs increasing and uncertain supply – San Diego growers are making shifts in their permanent crop selections. Winegrapes, vineyards, and wineries have been getting a lot of press by local media in recent months, and for good reason.

    The Mission San Diego de Alcala off present day Mission Road in San Diego is credited as the home of the first sustained vineyard planted in California by Father Junipero Serra in 1779. Throughout the 1800’s small vineyards dotted the San Diego landscape and the California wine industry was flourishing, with many California wines winning competitions in Europe. By 1900 California wines were regularly being exported to Europe, Australia, and the Orient. It all came to a halt in 1920 with Prohibition. Wine production in the state fell 94% by 1925, and the industry in San Diego never recovered to what it once was.

    Today, throughout the county growers are planting new vineyards. The number of acres planted to winegrapes has jumped 400% in the last two years. On many farms, especially in areas like Fallbrook, vineyards are moving into acreage previously occupied by thirsty avocado groves. The reason is vines take just a fraction of the water to produce a crop that avocados require. As more acres are converted to vineyards, it’s worth asking: what does it take to grow winegrapes in San Diego?

    “Grape growing can be extremely nuanced,” says Chris Broomell. “Cultural practices in the vineyard need to be very well timed to produce the fruit you want to get from the vineyard.” Broomell is a third generation farmer from Valley Center, and is winemaker for Vesper Vineyards in Escondido. He also does vineyard and winery consultation. “Growing grapes isn’t easy; there’s about 25 different things throughout the season that can go wrong, minimum.” But, he says, “If you’re growing something that has any sort of good reputation, and growing it well, there’s not enough of it.”

    That sentiment is echoed by Elaine Lyttleton, a Ramona grapegrower and winemaker and owner of Hatfield Creek Vineyards and Winery. “In our first year of production we sold our grapes to local winemakers for .55 cents a pound. But then, as the vines matured and aged, and we developed a reputation as a grower of good fruit, we sold our fruit for .80 cents a pound. I’ve heard now there are several growers charging $1 per pound.”

    What makes a good winegrape? “I tell people every vine gets handled personally - not just driving through the rows - but each vine gets hands on treatment at least nine times during the grow season. Between pruning and training to the cordon and tucking the new growth between catch wires, leaf pulling, hitching. A lot of hands on work – that gets you really good grapes,” says Lyttleton.

    “Grapevines are weeds; they’ll grow anywhere but that doesn’t mean they’ll produce good fruit,” says Broomell. “We’re seeing more attention to detail in every aspect of growing, and choosing the best variety for the vineyard site. Manipulation of the vines can work for you or can hurt you; if you leaf pull too late it’s a waste, too early and you’ll get sunburned fruit, but if you get it just right you’ll get the desired effect of better airflow and disease and mildew prevention and better quality fruit. Most cultural practices are done by hand; pruning, shoot thinning, leaf pulling, harvest. Annually, the most expensive cost in vineyards is labor.”

    But finding experienced workers can be a challenge. Elaine Lyttleton describes a recent harvest. “During harvest this year, there was a team of workers conversant in grape harvesting; did a fine job, worked hard, got the harvest in. I called them to come in the next week, and they never showed. I wouldn’t have been able to get the harvest in if it hadn’t been for friends. Good working crews to help small vineyard owners are crucial. There are several vineyard installers around now, but from a maintenance standpoint laborers with winegrape experience are few and far between.”

    Attention to detail, choosing the right variety of grape for the site, perfectly timed cultural practices; all requirements of producing a superior wine grape. What about soil and microclimate? Broomell explains, “the first thing I look for when I approach a future or existing planting are what species of native plants are growing around the site? What is growing naturally can tell a lot about the soil and climate of a particular site. From there a vineyard can be designed to best work in that space and find the grape variety that will do best.” In San Diego County that typically means southern varieties: southern Italian, southern Mediterranean, and Spanish. These include popular varieties like Syrah, Vigonier, and Sangiovese, and also some lesser known grapes like Tempranillo, Grenache, and Albarino.

    Growing good grapes takes dedication and attention to detail, but the upshot gets back to what’s driving new plantings in the first place: water. Some growers like to stress the fruit with less water to get a certain result, other growers apply more. Suffice to say, there are grapes being grown in San Diego dry farmed with no irrigation, and with up to an acre foot of water per year. Either way you grow it, winegrapes are a crop with history, a growing market, and significantly less water cost than other traditional permanent crops. It’s a safe bet we’ve not seen the end of new vineyards.

  • 07 Jan 2015 11:19 AM | Deleted user

    Star B Ranch and Hop Farm

    If you’re looking for proof that farmers are innovators, look no further than Star B Buffalo Ranch and Hop Farm. Ken Childs and his son-in-law, Eric March, and their families have found success on their Ramona ranch growing and selling products that few others can: grass-fed buffalo and hops.

    The Star B Ranch and Hop Farm started in 1979 when the Boeckmann family acquired 1,050 acres in east Ramona and challenged daughter Denise and her husband, Ken Childs, with creating a business to offset the ranch’s operating costs. Neither had any agricultural background, but they did have a passion for the land and the smarts to recognize an opportunity when they saw it. Says Ken, “We had the land, we've got plenty of water (so far), and we’re located in Southern California. All we needed was an idea that could take advantage of what we had. Although we had a lot to learn about raising and containing buffalo we also had little experience in the highly competitive meat industry. But we believed that the history of the American Bison and the low fat qualities of the meat offered us an opportunity to build a business.”

    Indeed it did. Today the Star B Ranch is one of the best known producers of both high quality bison breeding stock and bison meat in the nation, with an average year round herd of about 30 animals. Within eight years of bringing the first buffalo to the ranch, Star B won a National Grand Champion trophy for a two year old bull, and were the first bison producer to place a one pound package of USDA inspected ground bison in a Southern California supermarket chain. Ken became President of the American Buffalo Association and Founder and Past President of the Western Bison Association. “Opportunity drove us to become bigger and better,” explains Ken.

    Today, the ranch is feeling the effects of the drought with little grass growing in the pastures, and Ken works to manage additional feeds costs to the bison. He found Fodder Solutions, a feed container that grows barley from seed to grass in six days, and can produce 42 seventeen pound fodder “biscuits” per day. “We feed a 17 pound fodder to each animal and then they go out and graze. The fodder and natural grazing is a great combination that can add weight gain for my growing calves and good milk production for my buffalo cows,” says Ken. Even with the costs of the barley seed, water, and power required for the unit, the fodder costs are still just 50% of current hay prices.

    In 2008, Ken and his son-in-law, Eric March, saw an opportunity in hops. With the burgeoning craft brewing scene in San Diego, Ken and Eric looked at what they had and saw a market. One of the four ingredients in beer production, hop cones lend the bitter flavor and floral aromas to beer. The cones grow on vines trained vertically and each vine can produce anywhere from two to six pounds of hop cones.

    Ken and Eric decided first to try their hand growing hops on a small scale, but today they are the largest hops grower in the county with two acres planted and 3,000 vines in the ground. 3,000 mature vines could optimally yield over 12,000 pounds of wet hops. Sold at $15 per pound to home brewers and $10/lb wholesale to local craft breweries, that’s starting to look like more than hobby money, but Ken admits in the past it hasn’t penciled out. “The problem is the difficulty of harvest. It’s just extremely labor intensive and there wasn’t enough margin to hire the people. We struggled with that. We were either going to give up, or step up.”

    They stepped up, and earlier this year purchased a refurbished Wolf hop harvester from a company in Northern California. “What it does it gives us the ability to expand,” says Ken. “Operating two acres, we were struggling just trying to harvest everything in the window we have. The ripeness of the hops and harvest is a short window, about two weeks. Optimally you want to harvest in one week. This machine will give us ability to harvest two acres in two days.”

    But being able to grow the cones and get the harvest in doesn’t get the product sold. Eric worked to establish relationships with local brewers and today Star B’s hops have been featured in beers from many popular breweries including San Diego Brewing Co., and Ballast Point Brewing Co. Ken and Eric haven’t stopped at getting their own hops sold. “Eric and I decided that in an effort to maintain a leadership role as a hop farm in Southern California it would be a good idea to contact other hop growers and form a hop alliance or association, to come together to share ideas, information, and marketing and promotional opportunities,” says Ken. The first meeting was held November 15th at Valley Center Brewery and about 15 interested farmers showed up.

    Star B Ranch and Hop Farm has become a leader in the bison industry and as a hop grower with effort, no small amount of innovation, and by producing a quality product. Says Ken of the road he and his wife Denise and their families have taken, “This all takes a lot of work and sacrifice to build your business and take advantage of opportunities when you see them. For two Southern California baby boomers with no agricultural experience I think we've done pretty good.”

  • 14 Aug 2014 2:17 PM | Deleted user

    Groundcover is a descriptive term applied to many plants that because of their particular growth habit are used to literally cover the ground. They are used often to control erosion, add beauty and texture to a landscape, and keep weeds down. Richard Martinez of Martinez Farms is the largest producer of groundcover in San Diego County. Below he answers questions about this popular and useful type of plant.

    Top commercial varieties produced in San Diego:

    Iceplant and Gazanias. Red Apple is by far the number one seller and is grown year round. There are about 15 different iceplants. Iceplants don’t sell year round; when it’s in bloom people buy it. Gazanias are grown year round because they produce flowers 8 months of the year. Myoprum pink and white is popular because of its drought tolerance, it doesn’t freeze, and doesn’t take much water. Those four are the top varieties, but there are a lot of others.

    What is the planting and harvesting timeline for groundcover in San Diego County?

    The top four varieties are planted year round and sold year round. Peak time is the spring when buyers get spring fever. Winter is the slowest season. Market time goes spring, summer, fall, winter .

    Is there a peak season in groundcover production?

    Spring by far.

    What is the general market?

    Home Depot takes a lot of product, and landscapers and licensed contractors. We sell to some homeowners. The general public is hard to deal with because a lot of time they don’t know exactly what they want.

    What are some of the challenges of producing groundcover in San Diego County?

    The biggest challenge with groundcover is heat waves. Heat creates a good environment for fungus and fungus will become active in certain varieties. That’s the biggest challenge. Another is groundcover is not grown from seed, you have to have mother stock. Everything is from a cutting. When you have extreme heat or extreme cold it hurts the mother stock. So you don’t produce as many cuttings. It’s not as if if you want 100 plants you order the seed. There is a lot of stock management. If you want a good crop you need good stock management. Groundcover is pretty tough. There are very little pests. Bedding plants you’re constantly spraying because the pests just love the bedding and vegetables, but groundcover you can leave it alone, you spray it a lot less. For every 10 times you spray bedding or vegetables, you’ll spray groundcover once. It’s a very hardy plant.

    Are there specific challenges unique to this crop?

    During the summer when humidity is high and it’s warmer, it is harder to grow. The plants don’t root as easy. During the cold weathe16r everything is dormant, it takes longer to root, but your rooting percentage is much better in the winter and spring. Summer is the worst time to plant pretty much anything.

    Is there anything unique about San Diego County grown groundcover?

    Not specifically, but we get away with growing more varieties here. In other areas where they get snow and extreme heat waves, they can’t grow and can’t sell for many months of the year.

    Are there aspects of groundcover that you find interesting or fascinating?

    I like them all because it’s my business. Many groundcovers are used basically for erosion control. Gazanias can go on hillsides, but more often they are planted in islands. Most groundcovers are perennial and don’t have to be changed out. They’ll take an occasional trim and use less water than annual color. All perennials will last for years if they are taken care of.

  • 14 Jul 2014 11:49 AM | Deleted user

    We are so glad people joined us for Farm Tour Day 2014. We love seeing people explore farms, meet the farmers and spend a day learning about San Diego agriculture. A few local groups have participated and one great group, Transition Laguna Beach created a video of their day on the Ramona Farm Tour Route!

    Check it out below - We look forward to seeing you next year for Farm Tour Day 2015!

  • 14 Jun 2014 12:11 PM | Deleted user

    Citrus grown in the desert near Borrego Springs faces some unique challenges when it comes to water and the weather, but those challenges create fruit that has its own special place in the market. Seley Ranches is one of the larger citrus producers in the region with 370 acres of certified organic lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines. Jim Seley talked to Farm Bureau staff about citrus grown in Borrego and what makes it special.

    Top commercial varieties?

    The biggest crop we have is lemons and grapefruit; we grow Lisbon and Eureka lemons. We also produce different tangerine varieties; Minneolas, Daisies, and Tangos.

    What is the planting and harvesting timeline for citrus in Borrego?

    One of the benefits we have down here is really our harvest time. We plant the young trees, generally, in February, and harvest lemons as early as August and as late as December. Grapefruit we’ve harvested as early as September and as late as April. Tangerines are much shorter; we’ll harvest - according to the variety - from late October to January. I think in San Diego, being more coastal, fruit comes off 30-60 days after us. Lemons grown in Borrego are going to be harvested October – November and the grapefruit peak will be January.

    What is the general market for your fruit?

    We have a local produce stand and sell fruit there and ship to a few local markets. We also ship fruit via UPS all over the state; we have a website and we get quite a few people who enjoy our fruit from Canada who have visited down here during the winter. Apart from direct marketing most of our fruit goes to Corona College Heights Orange and Lemon Association and that goes all over; to Japan, Taiwan, and of course to all the Whole Foods markets and places like that. We also ship through Sunrise Farms.

    What are some of the challenges of producing citrus in Borrego?

    Weather and water. We can get pretty cool in the winter, and of course we have the summer heat which we have to adjust our irrigation to. We do a lot of irrigating at night because of evaporation. We’re all under mini sprinklers. The soil is not heavy it’s a sandy loam, so we’ve worked hard over the years to add organic matter into the soil to help us on our water holding ability. We’ve always experimented down here; we put in drip irrigation in 1968 and ended up with micro sprinklers. It’s an ongoing challenge and that’s what makes it fun. I think we were one of the first in the desert to use drip irrigation for citrus, but we found out we couldn’t use drip irrigation with compost. You have to break that down and you have to use micro sprinklers to do that.

    What is unique about citrus grown in Borrego aside from harvest times?

    We have a very good quality fruit. It’s not a high acid fruit, it has a high sugar content. It just has great taste appeal to it. That’s why we have people from all over who have visited Borrego who go to our website and send our citrus as Christmas gifts.

    Are there aspects of growing citrus that you find interesting or fascinating?

    I enjoy the whole process; we have to constantly improve what we do. I guess it’s the same as any farmer feels. You work to get the optimum water and optimum fertilizer at the same time. Everyone may feel that what they’re doing is unique but we’re probably all doing the same thing. It’s the timing of the sprays, and the pruning methods, and the challenges that we have. We’re in our third generation now and the fourth generation is coming along. Our hope is that the farm will continue through the family generations.

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