Nurseries Grow Local, Ship Across the Country
By Jacqui D Sinarle
The next time you bite into a peach, crunch on an almond, or nibble an olive, keep in mind there’s a good chance that snack originated very close to home.
Not only does the Central Valley produce the best fresh produce around, nurseries in our own backyard also supply high quality orchard stock to farmers across the nation.
Celebrating 101 years this year, Linwood Nursery in La Grange is the oldest and largest pecan nursery in the western U.S. and ships trees to growers throughout the country and internationally.
“The pecan industry as a whole is now becoming organized with the passage of the Federal Marketing Order,” noted Patty Chesney, marketing sales representative. “This will enable the industry to market and conduct research and development more effectively, increasing the demand for pecans and pecan nursery stock.”
Linwood’s parent company, Green Tree Nursery, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Green Tree is owned by father and son Joel and Jason Hall and provides commercial orchards and backyard growers with fruit and nut trees including almonds, walnuts, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, apples, pears, cherries, persimmons, and multi-budded fruit cocktail trees. While some trees are shipped outside California, most are sold within the state.
“The nursery’s fundraising division assists nonprofit organizations like the FFA, 4-H, school programs, and sports teams,” Chesney said. “Green Tree provides fruit trees and multi-budded fruit trees in bags so organizations may sell them and make money for their groups.”
Oakdale’s Burchell Nursery Inc. grows more than three million trees annually, distributing most to farmers and backyard growers in California and the rest out of state.
A family business since opening in 1942, Burchell grows fruit and nut trees including almonds, walnuts, apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, prunes, nectarines, pears, figs, pomegranates, olives, berry plants and citrus, and also operates a branch office south of Fresno.
“We owe our success to diversity of a quality product and good people,” said president Tom Burchell. “We are also the only nursery with an in-house breeding program where we develop and release new varieties to the market.”
More than 10 million fruit, nut, and shade trees are shipped every year from Dave Wilson Nursery in Hickman to customers throughout the U.S.
Opened by Dave Wilson in 1938, the nursery has thrived under strong family leadership and is currently owned by Wilson’s grandson-in-law, Robert Woolley. “Our commercial division sells trees to farmers, and our home and garden division sells to wholesale growers and retail nurseries,” explained Katie Amaral, marketing manager. “Dave Wilson Nursery is the exclusive licensor of Zaiger Genetics, the inventor of the pluot, aprium, peacotum, and pluerry.”
Duarte Nursery Inc. is another successful family-owned operation that has produced agricultural trees and vines for west coast growers since 1989.
“We shipped 13 million trees and vines to agricultural customers in 2015,” reported co-owner John Duarte. “Our nursery is unique because our trees and vines are containerized and we don’t use poisonous soil fumigants.” Duarte Nursery also grows poinsettias and markets them locally from its greenhouse at 1555 Baldwin Rd. in Hughson. In 2015, the nursery sold approximately 60,000 poinsettias with help from its co-founder, “the poinsettia lady” Anita Duarte, who turns 80 in December.
“The nursery is a great tour bus destination and a nice place to take relatives over the holidays,” Anita Duarte noted. “The plants also make an excellent fundraiser project.”