Arata FruitByron , CA
Michael Arata's father still remembers delivering nectarines with his father to the San Francisco produce terminal in the 1940s and 1950s. They've been farming for over 50 years, hand-harvesting the trees and vegetables. They maintain the acreage with 4th generation family members who work the farm with his father, and together they pick the fruit and run the business.
They're not organic because they have to make the farm pay its way without over-charging the public. The family has been farming since 1918 when they didn't have "organic" or pesticides, just farming naturally.
He says that people don't realize that organic and conventional farming can work well together. Arata does not receive grants or government loans like organic farming but they don't use chemicals unless it is absolutely necessary.