John Lagier and his wife, Casey Havre, along with 4 part-time employees.
120 acres in Escalon, about 79 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
John started farming in 1979 with an 80-acre almond orchard and 18 acres of cherries. In the early 1990s, he transitioned to organic practices. The farm’s mission statement reads, “Lagier Ranches recognizes its responsibility as a steward of the Earth. This value is reflected in environmentally conscious use of water, energy, and other resources with our organic farming practices. This is a socially responsible organization based on a sound ethic of fairness to customers, employees, regulatory agencies, and our community.”
John and Casey met at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in 2004. At their stand, they also sell handmade jams, jellies, marmalades, and other fruit preserves under Casey’s Loulou’s Garden label.
California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF) since 1997
The farm’s Veritas fine sandy loam soil is amended with compost, ground limestone, gypsum, and sulfate of potash. Fish emulsion, compost teas, seaweed, and legumes, planted as cover crops, add essential plant nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Additionally, the cover crops provide a habitat for beneficial insects while preventing soil erosion and compaction.
Lagier uses furrow irrigation for the sweet corn, flood irrigation for the almonds, drip irrigation for the berries, and micro-sprinklers for the cherries and Paw Paws.
Hoeing, mowing, and cultivation. No-till practices are used in the orchards. The planting of annual and perennial cover crops crowd out weeds.
Lagier has developed a multi-prong strategy for handling pests: traps and owl boxes reduce gopher populations, parasitic wasps control insect pests, and cold water blasts on hot days control mites.
John is a fourth-generation farmer on his land. His great-grandfather raised mules and dry-farmed wheat and barley; his grandfather farmed grapes and raised cattle, and his parents grew melons, tomatoes, grapes, and almonds.
McGinnis Ranch is steep: it sits on a 12% grade. The harder it rains, the less fun it is for Howard, who sometimes spends days replacing soil that has washed down the hill. But the grade allows maximum sun exposure and extends the farm’s season significantly.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »