Sierra Cascade Blueberry Farm is located in the Lassen foothills east of Chico, where we (John & Armen Carlon) have been farming 9 acres of Certified Organic blueberries (11,000 plants) on our 61 acre property, since 1989.
We began researching blueberry production shortly after our participation in the launch of the Chico Certified Farmer’s Market (originally called Butte County Certified Farmer’s Market) in 1980. At that time, the largest vendor at the market was the California State University, Chico, University Farm, which sold a variety of different fruits from test plots at the college farm, one of which was blueberries. It was a small plot, but the fruit looked good and was well received at the farmer’s market. After a number of years researching varieties and growing conditions, and saving money from working abroad in Saudi Arabia, we were able to find a beautiful piece of land and make the dream a reality.
With a combination of good soil, water, organic and sustainable growing practices, and careful selection of varieties that would grow in the local climate, the blueberries harvested from Sierra Cascade Farm have been consistently outstanding in quality and flavor.
We grow organically for a number of reasons: healthy work and living environment, agricultural benefits, environmental benefits. In his 35+ years of farming, John has always been concerned with the relationship between agricultural practices and the health of the environment. He has a BS in Agriculture and an MS in International Agricultural Development, which he put to use during a 5-year employment abroad in the early 80’s. He has always grown some kind of food crop annually throughout and since leaving college. John now runs a non-profit organization that restores riparian habitat on many rivers in California (River Partners), in addition to the blueberry farm.
Sierra Cascade Farm is one of the first certified organic blueberry farms in California. For the last 25+ years our family’s mission has been to produce blueberries of exceptional quality without the aid of off-farm inputs. With the exceptions of electricity to pump water, fuel to power our tractor and trucks, and containers to package the fruit, our farm has become self sustaining. We have replaced off-farm inputs with ecosystem services. We have transitioned from focusing on crop production and protection to a new focus of farm integration. We are striving to weave the farm into the fabric of our native biological community. Our goal is bring the farm’s daily practices into synchrony with the physical processes – climate, and the cycles of water, nitrogen, and carbon that drive the larger landscape.
Ours is truly a family farm. Our sons, Ryan and Will grew up here and have been involved since the beginning. They each worked on the farm doing anything from manual labor to management, with each having been responsible for bringing the crop to our customers.
We strive to provide our customers with the freshest, most flavorful premium blueberries to be found during the season, and take great pride in the consistent quality and taste over the years. We are rewarded with enthusiastic customers who look forward to seeing us back in the markets at the beginning of our season, which usually begins around the end of May or first of June.
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