Farming roots run deep in our family. As many generations back as we can trace, there’s been one “job title” associated with every generation – Farmer. From my family’s roots in Tennessee to our current home in Central California, farming has always been more than just earning a living, it’s a way of life. I look forward to going to work every day.
As a seventh generation farmer, I’m extremely blessed that my children and now grandchildren have joined me in the family trade. Together, we formed Family Tree Farms with a goal of growing the most flavorful fruit in the world. We felt certain that if we met that goal, customer loyalty would surely follow – and that has proven to be the case.
The Jackson family’s California roots began just after the Great Depression in the mid 1930s. Herschel Jackson followed his brother from Tennessee to the fertile soil of the San Joaquin Valley in the heart California. There Herschel picked cotton by hand and worked a team of mules in order to raise enough money to send for his wife Clara and their young daughter. Eventually the happy reunion took place. As time passed Herschel and Clara’s family grew as three sons became a part of the Jackson clan (David being the youngest). Herschel spent his time working the ground as a farm laborer in order to save enough money to pursue his dream of owning his own farm. Soon that dream would come to fruition as he moved his family to a forty acre ranch near the town of Kingsburg, California. There he grew a variety of crops that thrive in the dry, mild climate of the Central Valley. As Herschel tended the land, his children watched carefully and learned the family business. Herschel’s work ethic and his love of the land with which the Lord had blessed him left a lasting impression on all the children. As the children grew up, they all followed in their father’s footsteps, living and farming near Kingsburg. Herschel and Clara were married 74 years and died just weeks apart from one another in their home on the ranch.
David focused his farming efforts on stone fruit – peaches, nectarines and plums. In the early days of his farming career, he would grow the varieties that his packer or nursery salesman suggested. These were usually large, colorful, beautiful varieties but many were lacking in flavor. He knew that if they tasted like this when they were picked, they surely would not improve by the time the consumer tried to eat them. He realized that there had to be a better way, and that it had to start with the varieties. At the time, white flesh peaches and nectarines were rarely grown for shipping even though it was widely known that they were some of the sweetest varieties around. They were primarily “backyard” trees. The fruit was just too delicate for commercial packing and shipping. David talked to nurseries and plant breeders and discovered that there were some new varieties of white flesh that held promise, if someone wanted to take the chance on growing them. David saw this as an opportunity to set himself apart from the rest of the stone fruit farmers in the area. He believed that if he focused on the flavor of the fruit, he would be rewarded. He quickly realized the need to further control the process by packing and selling his own fruit. About this time, his sons were embarking on their own farming enterprises and the decision was made as a group to form a new company, one that would ensure their vision of quality throughout the entire farming-to-shipping process.
Family Tree Farms is the result of that decision. A family-owned and operated company dedicated to the mission of delivering consistently flavorful fruit. Family Tree consists of the extended Jackson family, a handful of other carefully selected growers, and a team of dedicated employees – all of whom share David’s passion for excellence.
Andy Muxlow, Daniel Jackson, David Jackson, Rick Jackson