Schletewitz Family Farms
Ronald W. and Annette Schletewitz
4662 S. Leonard Avenue
Del Rey, CA 93616
Markets: MPC (November – May) and Aptos (December – May)
Products: Citrus fruit: oranges, blood oranges, clementines, satsumas, tangelos and oro blanco grapefruit, grapes and yams.
History/Philosophy: The Schletewitz family has been growing fruit outside of Fresno since the 1920s. After leaving Russia for the U.S. in 1925, Carl Schletewitz, Ronald's grandfather, started farming in Sanger, located approximately 15 miles east of Fresno. Ronald's father John bought his father's farm in 1949 and added the land to a ranch he had purchased down the street.
When John passed away in 1958, Ronald, 15, took over operations with his five siblings also working on the farm. Because the farm had lost its biggest wholesale client prior to his father's death, Ronald contacted his uncles who had been doing business at farmers markets in San Francisco. The decision was made for Ronald to head to San Francisco to sell at the Alemany farmers market, which Ronald said was open six days a week in 1959.
Ronald later formed a partnership with his brother Stanley, and the two expanded their farmland to close to 1,000 acres, on which they had both trees and vines. They also had 90,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse, which was used as a commercial warehouse.
Eventually, Ronald, his wife Annette and their three children: sons Eric and Jeff and daughter Michelle, branched out on their own and currently farm 300 acres, including on farmland in Del Rey, which is located 10 miles southeast of Fresno. Ronald's son-in-law Erik Kisbye runs the farmers markets part of the business while Ronald's son Eric has his own business, which is still part of Schletewitz Family Farms. Jeff also works at farmers markets; he has his own kettle corn business called Kettlepop.
In total, Schletewitz Family Farms sells its fruits and vegetables weekly at roughly 75 farmers markets, stretching from Lompoc in Santa Barbara County northward into Northern California as well as in Northern Nevada.
Schletewitz Family Farms joined the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets in 2003.
The Schletewitz family grows what they themselves like eating with a goal of providing wholesome food for others to enjoy.