In addition to expanding that initial parcel to 500 acres of Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, he and his business partners at Lodi Farming grow cherries, walnuts, olives, wine grapes and alfalfa on a total of 1,750 acres. Diversity is good business, but apples remain their core passion.
“There’s an old saying that when you plant a tree, you plant hope,” Jeff says. “Watching apple trees grow, flourish and produce an abundant crop is a feeling beyond compare.”
While not a traditional apple-growing region until about 30 years ago, California today hosts a thriving apple business, Jeff says.
“We have a unique advantage in the marketplace,” he explains. “Because we’re able to begin harvest on our Galas four weeks before any other growing region, we serve a niche in the fresh market.”
He adds that the growing array of apple varieties on the market is a tasty benefit to consumers. “Thirty years ago, a consumer may have only had the choice between Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. Today, hundreds of varieties with a range of textures and flavors can satisfy consumers’ unique taste preferences. It’s really incredible.”
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