Attaining His Goal
The success story of Ignacio ("Nacho") Sanchez is inspirational. Coming from a Mexican family who were farm workers in the Imperial Valley, Ignacio spent his childhood in Reedley, surrounded by some of California's most abundant farm land. He fell in love with farming and set as his ultimate goal to own his own farm. By 1989 he had achieved his goal.
After graduating with a B.S. in agriculture from Fresno State, he went to work in Tulare County's Agriculture Commission on a full-time basis and in his spare time farmed a 6 ½-acre orchard that he and his wife Casamira ("Cas") bought in 1989. At that point in his life, he thought he had achieved his goal. But opportunities to buy additional acreage kept presenting themselves to Ignacio and by 1993, he had expanded his orchard to over 150 acres. At that point, he decided he had to devote full time to the operation that he had slowly developed. In 1991, when his twin girls were born, Ignacio re-named his farm "Twin Girls":
Christyna and Serena
In addition to watching his twins grow up, he says that his other satisfaction is watching his customers enjoy his fruit. That gives him instant gratification and makes his hard work worthwhile.
Transition to Organic
Today, he grows 117 different varieties of stone fruit and citrus in Reedley. He has begun the process of obtaining organic certification and is already growing his fruit without synthetic fertilizers or chemical and using cover crops and beneficial insects to keep the harmful from eating the fruit.
You'll always find piles of fruit at the Twin Girls stand at the Saturday S.F. Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. But among the special fruits to watch for are:
- Blood Oranges from December - March/April
- White-Fleshed Nectarines (5 varieties) from May - Sept
- Red-Fleshed Plums from June - August
- Navel Oranges from Nov/Dec - May
By the first Saturday in July, plumcots will be available and Ignacio says they will be "remarkable". Also, don't miss the white-fleshed nectarines. Their leathery skin hides the sweet, juicy, white flesh underneath. If you've never tried a white nectarine, one bite will make you a convert. They're fabulous!
Ignacio started bringing his fruit to the Saturday Alemany Farmers' Market in San Francisco in 1989 when he was farming only in his spare time. He still has a weekly stand at that market, but has expanded to selling at 28 farmers' markets every week of the year. He also sells a lot of his fruit wholesale and exports oranges to Japan.
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