Lucero Organic Farms
25 acres in Lodi on several parcels of land, about 90 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Ben and Karen Lucero along with Ben’s son, Curtis Lucero, and 4 seasonal employees.
Ben has been an organic grower since he was a teenager, when he tended a backyard garden with his brother. He started his first organic farm in the 1960s and although he found it difficult to make a living, didn't give up. When the farmers' market movement took off 20 years later, Ben found his niche and made a real profit for the first time. In 2006, Ben's eldest son, Curtis, returned from the military to work on the family farm.
Ben and Karen ensure that their products are top quality and flavorful. "If it doesn't taste good," says Ben, "then I won't bring it to market."
Crop rotation, selection of resistant varieties, hand removal, creation of habitat for beneficial insects, owl boxes to control rodents.
Depending on the parcel, the soil types vary from a light sandy loam to a rich, dark, crumbly loam. Each is amended with an organic compost that contains no animal products. Fish emulsion and cover crops enrich the soil with nitrogen, a key plant nutrient. Crop rotation also helps to prevent depletion of minerals in the soil.
Water is sourced from the Mokelumne River and is delivered to plants via drip tape.
Hand and machine cultivation.