From The Ground Up
Fresh organic produce has its roots in healthy, fertile land. As certified organic farmers, our growers take care to follow the agricultural guidelines of the USDA’s National Organic Program. For family farmers who have committed to fresh, organic produce as their life’s work, it’s crucial that soils on the farm remain stable and sustainable. Growers strategically plant their acreage with various crops throughout the growing season, which fortifies and diversifies soil nutrients, maintaining soil health.
After departing the American Midwest in the 1930s, the Lehr family began farming in Bakersfield, California. Focusing on quality while setting up their farm in California’s Central Valley, it wasn’t long before the Lehr brothers became known as “one of the best potato growers in the valley.” They’ve grown since their first 80-acre farm was planted in 1938, and their operations now include many other fruits and vegetables, including oranges, lemons, and bell peppers, to name a few. Known for being honest, humble people, to this day, their reputation still stands. Lehr Brothers is managed by Ron Lehr, Sr., who is the second generation running the farm. He is supported by third and fourth generation family members who carry on the agricultural tradition, such as Scott Pursel (left) and Shae Lehr (right), both third generation growers.
John Tobias (center) grew up in a dry farming and cattle ranching family in the agricultural town of Hollister, California. After he graduated from school, he began farming on his own, using conventional methods. After about fifteen years, he considered making a change to organic farming. “Growing organically was more in line with my environmental concerns,” said John, “and it seemed to be a niche that might work for us.” After a few years, he felt comfortable with the approach and was completely converted to organic by the early 1990s. His sons Michael (left) and Mark (right) are also involved with the farm: Michael works there part-time, as his professional focus is as a veterinarian in nearby San Ardo, and Mark, after completing his degree in crop science, recently joined as a full-time grower alongside his father. The bountiful Hollister, California, fields grow organic winter squash, onions, and shallots.
The lush fields at Skyline Potato – nestled in the San Luis Valley of Colorado – are located in a unique alpine desert at approximately 7,600 feet above sea level. The region’s cool nights and warm days provide optimum growing conditions for many crops. Rooted in decades of agricultural history, this farm encompasses 1,200 acres of organic red, russet and yellow potatoes. Dedicated to organic growing, Les Alderete is on the farm most days of the week to ensure quality and freshness.