John and Armen Carlon and 2 or 3 seasonal interns, along with 60 seasonal employees.
9 of 60 acres are actively farmed in Forest Ranch, about 190 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
John and Armen purchased their farm in 1986, after John studied agriculture in college and farmed overseas in Saudi Arabia. They decided to plant blueberries because they saw them as a sustainable crop that would provide an opportunity to develop a financially viable family farm.
The Carlons’ goal is to replicate nature and produce high quality blueberries with no off-farm inputs. They are working to create a fair and positive working environment, improve the natural aspects of their land, and integrate their farm into the larger natural landscape including the watershed, native habitat, and wildlife. Sierra Cascade Blueberry Farm is one of the oldest blueberry farms in California.
John is the co-founder of River Partners, an environmental nonprofit that has planted over a million native trees and restored thousands of acres of natural habitat. He also serves on CUESA’s Board of Directors.
California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
Volcanic based silty loam soil. Native grasses are grown as permanent cover crops between rows of berries. The Carlons strive to support the microflora and fauna in soil.
Water is the most limiting component of production. They use on-site wells using solar power to drip irrigate and try to eliminate water run-off.
Hand weeding and machine cultivation.
The only bothersome pests are birds, but the Carlons accept that birds will eat some berries during the harvest time and do not worry much about it.
Blueberries are one of the few popular edible fruits native to North America. They have been eaten by Native Americans for many hundreds of years.
Forest Ranch, California
The original Saint Benoît (or Saint Benedict) founded several monastic communities across Europe. Over centuries, these communities have crafted some of the best artisan food products in the world.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »