Aptos, Carmel, and Monterey
Almonds, Asian pears, nectarines, apricots, apriums, peaches, plums, pluots, and cherries that are handpicked when ripe on the trees and at the peak of flavor. Specialties include Arctic Rose nectarines, and peach varieties White Lady, Snow King, and Trazee.
Steven’s family has strong ties to the land in California’s Central Valley. In the 1920s, his grandfather, Frank, started a 20-acre vineyard. Henry, Steven’s father, purchased most of the current acreage of Kashiwase Farms in 1948, planted it with peaches and almonds, and built the farmhouse in which Steven’s mother currently resides. After studying pomology and entomology at UC Davis, Steven began farming in the 1970s and converted to organic agriculture in the 1990s. Steven and Lisa live in town with their two children, Sammy and Rachael.
Certifications: California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF) since 1997.
Farmland: 206 acres. The farm is located approximately 124 miles away in Winton (10 miles northeast of Merced).
Soil: The stonefruit orchards are not tilled; the natural organic residue and supplemental compost help to fertilize the soil, retain moisture, and prevent topsoil erosion.
Weed Control: Hand and mechanical cultivation.
Pest Management: Pest populations are carefully monitored; beneficial organisms and/or certified organic controls are used to control insects and disease. Pheremone strips and Bt, for example, are used to minimize crop-damaging insects, and an application of copper spray is used to control peach leaf curl.
Water Use: To conserve water, drip emitters and mini sprinklers are used on the fruit trees, and manually operated impact sprinklers irrigate the almond orchards.
Workers: Five full-time employees (including Steven and Lisa); an additional 35 seasonal helpers assist with pruning, harvesting, and packing.
The 20 acres that Steven’s grandfather (a Japanese immigrant) first farmed in the 1920s are still part of Kashiwase Farms.