G. L. Alfieri Farms
150 acres in Escalon and Ripon, about 90 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
Gary Alfieri along with 2 full-time and 10 seasonal or part-time workers.
Gary's grandfather Gasper began farming this land in 1926, growing alfalfa hay using horse-drawn plows. An almond orchard was planted in the late 1920s. Gary's father Joseph began working on the farm when he returned from serving in the army during WWII. Gary and his two brothers and sister were raised on the farm. Gary grew up farming alongside his father, and took over the farm when his father passed away. He has been running the farm on his own for 24 years. Gary, who has been single all his life, was active as a foster parent and adopted four children who he raised on the farm.
For years Gary has farmed with little or no pesticides, and established beneficial insects like lady bugs. He catches insects with traps but does little or no spraying. Disease-resistant varieties help prevent the need for additives.
Sandy loam. Alfieri builds up his soil using a combination of cover crops like mustard and clover; compost when it is economical; and if the soil needs a certian nutrient such as potassium, he provides it. He uses commercial fertilizer as needed.
Drip and flood irrigation with water from reservoirs.
Hand weeding, mowing, and a minimum of herbicides.