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Churchill Orchard

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The Ojai Pixie Tangerine Origin Myth (per us)

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Jim Churchill writes:

This is Church, my dad. He spent his life making and distributing superior educational films; a lot of people passed through Churchill Films on their way to jobs in the industry.

My folks moved to Ojai in 1956, when I was 9 years old, and we lived there full-time through 1961. When we moved back to LA, my folks kept the house in Ojai, and I became a weekender. I always regarded Ojai as my home, even though for years I was not there more than I was there.

In 1972 Church bought 40 acres which became the orchard. He was a canny dude and he detested the stock market; when he inherited some money he took it out of stocks and invested it in the land. He was never a farmer; for him the orchard was more to take advantage of the favorable tax treatment afforded orchards in the 70's and to sell off parcels as the land appreciated and as he needed the money. It was his retirement.

Being a family of knowledge-workers, everyone, including me, is surprised that I went into farming. It has taken me years to think of myself as a farmer; I initially came back to work at the orchard only because it was a way to live in Ojai. The orchard was originally all avocados; it was changing from avocados to tangerines that sucked me in. I love tangerines, I love turning people on to the experience of really good fruit, and I feel like the luckiest man in the world to be working for myself.

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