Back To The Future Long Meadow Ranch
Plants Commercial Fruit Orchard in Rutherford
July 23, 2005, Rutherford, CA
Long Meadow Ranch announced today that it had completed planting a commercial fruit orchard in the world famous Rutherford grape-growing district. Reversing a trend begun in the late 1960s when Napa Valley's extensive walnut, prune, and peach orchards were first removed to make way for grapes, Long Meadow Ranch is restoring commercial fruit production at its LMR Rutherford Gardens location in the heart of the Rutherford grape appellation.
The orchard planting, which includes 12 different types of fruit, is part of an overall plan to increase heirloom fruit and vegetable production at the site. "We have learned that our customers want fruit as well as fresh vegetables when they stop at our roadside stand. We already produce black mission figs from a one-hundred year-old tree and we attract many visitors when the figs are in season, said LMR Rutherford Gardens production manager, Chris Hall. "We want people to see our gardens and to experience firsthand how top quality food is produced on a working farm."
Asked how these plantings could make economic sense, co-owner Ted Hall responded: "Diversified agriculture still makes sense in the Napa Valley. We have learned that there is a significant market for our fresh heirloom vegetables - and now for fruits. Local residents, local chefs, and valley visitors all want to buy high-quality locally-grown organic produce. We have already proven that we can make as much on a per-acre basis growing heirloom tomatoes as our neighbors do growing Rutherford-appellation Cabernet Sauvignon." Hall added, "Just as we craft our wines to be genuinely attractive companions to food, we are growing these crops to demonstrate our further commitment to becoming a true purveyor of fine food for the Napa Valley."
Working with advisor Jeff Dawson, Chris Hall chose the plantings to create a steady supply of fruit over an approximately five month period from June through October. The mixed orchard includes apples, apricots, cherries, mulberries, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, pluots, and prunes. "The primary focus of the orchard is on peaches and other stone fruits because they do so well in the Napa Valley climate. We planted ten varieties of peaches and five varieties of nectarines," said Chris Hall. Altogether the orchard includes 45 different varieties across 12 types of fruit. A complete catalogue of the LMR Rutherford Gardens fruit plantings is available online.
An added benefit of the orchard is that it will provide an area where the egg-laying flock of Black Australorp chickens can have an extensive free range. "We plan to utilize a portable electric poultry fence that is common in France to contain the birds to the orchard. The additional free-range should add further to the quality of egg production from our flock," said co-owner Laddie Hall , who manages organic egg production for Long Meadow Ranch.
The historic 5.8-acre Rutherford Gardens property, acquired in 2002, has allowed Long Meadow Ranch to expand its organic vegetable, herbs, and flower operations on a site that is readily accessible to the public. In 2004, the organic farming activities on the property were certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers. Although located in the heart of the world-famous Rutherford wine appellation, the LMR Rutherford Gardens property has been in vegetable production since at least the 1930s and has never been planted in wine grapes.
A roadside stand has operated on the property for many years and a stand will be reopened in early August. A new open air barn is under construction which will allow for the display and retail sales of the full medley of vegetables, fruits, eggs, olive oil, and beef from Long Meadow Ranch. The demonstration gardens - now under development - will also allow visitors to learn how quality food is grown when they stop by to make a purchase. Looking to the future, educational programs for school age children are planned.
LMR Rutherford Gardens is located at 1796 So. St. Helena Highway and will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 AM to 5 PM when produce is available
(after August 1). Click here for directions.
Long Meadow Ranch is an innovative organic farming operation - and purveyor of fine food - located high above the Napa Valley on the picturesque slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains where it produces extraordinary red wine, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables for Napa Valley's finest restaurants. Long Meadow Ranch produces ultra premium wines and extra virgin olive oils, under the Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Ranch House Red, Prato Lungo, and Napa Valley Select labels. Beyond the Napa Valley, America's top chefs have regularly featured Long Meadow Ranch wines and olive oils.
Long Meadow Ranch has been known as such since 1872 when it was established as an original "patent grant" ranch signed over by President Ulysses S. Grant. Having been home to a variety of uses during its long history, Long Meadow Ranch continues to grow and prosper through Ted, Laddie and Christopher Hall's stewardship.
The Halls continue to restore and preserve Napa Valley's oldest olive groves, as well as add new plantings of olive trees and vineyards. They have also brought cattle, poultry, and vegetables back into commercial production. Appaloosa horse breeding, along with an extensive composting operation, round out the integrated farming activities at the Ranch.
"Excellence through Responsible Farming" is the motto of Long Meadow Ranch, bolstered by the belief that world-class products can be produced using sustainable, organic farming methods. Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its products are organically grown and certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers.
Contact: Chris Hall