Tory and Rebecca Torosian and their sons Tory Jr. and Sarkis, additional family members and two longtime field helpers.
Located 212 miles south of San Francisco, the 80-acre farm is situated at the base of Smith Mountain in the town of Dinuba.
Owned and operated by the Torosians for the last 50 years, the farm is a much-treasured family asset owing to its scenic beauty, rural feel, and abundant wildlife. Egrets, red-tailed hawks, white-shouldered kites, barn owls, and doves are among the many bird species that inhabit their fields, vineyards, and orchards, and California quails and pheasants nest in 40 acres of uncultivated open ground. The Torosians refer to their farm as “The Magic Ranch,” and they believe that great tasting, wholesome produce can only be grown on a happy and healthy farm.
The soil is amended with gypsum to lower the pH and to help reduce compaction. Aged manure is applied to boost the nitrogen content essential for plant growth and vigor. Seasonal mowing creates a layer of mulch on the soil surface that protects the topsoil from erosion and renews the organic component of the soil needed for biological activity.
Sourced from the King’s River and local wells, water is delivered to crops via canals and furrows. Water conservation measures include nighttime irrigation to reduce evaporation and mulching to conserve soil moisture.
Annual cultivation, hand weeding, and mowing. No synthetic herbicides are applied.
Knowledge and timing are key strategies used to control insect populations and disease. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), dormant oil, and synthetic pyrethrin to are applied to control larvae; sulfur, fungicide spray, and copper are used to control fungal outbreaks; and predatory mites are released to control crop-damaging mites. Organophosphates are not used.
One of the Torosians’ growing practices is music therapy. Their trees and vines enjoy regular doses of the Grateful Dead.
At G.L. Alfieri Farms stands a building constructed during the California Gold Rush that served as a stagecoach stop. The site was also home to the first schoolhouse in San Joaquin County.
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 »