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Thinking outside the (CSA) box

Farming family builds on heritage with cutting-edge practices


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Started in Los Angeles in 1937 by W.H. Deardorff, Deardorff Family Farms was founded with a simple philosophy: to provide customers with the freshest, best-tasting fruits and vegetables available. The company's produce in the 1930s and '40s came from Venice, Hollywood and Los Angeles. In the 1950s and '60s, urbanization forced the company to move operations into Orange County (south of Los Angeles) and Ventura County (north of Los Angeles).

Bill and Tom Deardorff joined the company during these times and represented the third generation of Deardorffs to join the family business. They followed the same core philosophy of their ancestors while adding the commitment to always try to be on the leading edge of innovation in the produce business. This challenge resulted in the company making many key introductions in farming, packaging and cooling of fresh produce.

Today, cousins Scott Deardorff and Tom Deardorff Jr. operate the family business in Ventura County following the philosophies and challenges set forth by their ancestors, while continuing to grow a variety of produce that includes celery, greens, tomatoes and strawberries. 

They've continued to plan for the future by building a state-of-the-art, highly energy efficient, LEED-certified building that houses their cooling, packing and shipping, and they've added solar panels to offset nearly 40 percent of their electrical needs. In addition, they've partnered with a Ventura company, Seasons Catering, to offer cooking classes using produce from their CSA boxes.

"It's a great way to connect with our community and to educate them about what's in season," said Christine Smith of Deardorff Family Farms.

For more information about Deardorff Family Farms, visit www.deardorfffamilyfarms.com.


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