We try to grow what people like, which tends to mean
that we try to grow food that we like to eat ourselves.
We like to go down to the Citrus
Variety Collection at the University
of California at Riverside and find out what Toots Biehr
and Dr. Tracy Kahn and their small, embattled cadre
of graduate students like: they have close to 900 varieties
of citrus there, from all around the world, and have
a lot of opportunity for taste-testing. That's how we
found the Seedless Kishu.
We've been certified organic by CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) since 2007. We're fortunate in that the citrus and avocado varieties we grow don't come under heavy pest pressure (knock wood).
Cultural practices: We do lots of mulching to build
soil and get some weed control; we do an absurd amount
of mechanical weed control (mowing, weed eating, and
hand-pulling: weed control is far and away our greatest
cultural cost). We try to build the soil, create a healthy,
living web of microbial life in the soil and let the
soil feed the trees.
mulch comes either from local tree trimmers (the best
stuff) or from the City of Los Angeles. The LA material
is pretty good, but it does bring in a fair amount of
plastic toys, old baseballs, broken cassettes,
odd pieces of metal, and some pernicious weeds. I've
learned that if I let it sit for a couple of months
most of the weed seeds will get killed, but I learned
that lesson too late, so beginning in 1999 I introduced
into the orchard bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass
and other weeds that spread by stolons underground.
It's a bummer: the more effective we are in controlling
the annual weeds, the more we make room for the perennial
We're learning all the time. Probably some of the statements
of belief and practice which I've made on this page
will be subject to change as farming and economic conditions