In the early 1920’s Mike Etchandy’s great grandfather immigrated to Southern California from the French Basque regions of the Pyrenees. He began raising sheep and other livestock and in the 1930’s transitioned into farming in the mild climate of Orange County. The family began farming in what is now Buena Park and Anaheim, growing both yams and citrus. In 1947 the Etchandy family began producing strawberries in the well drained sandy loam soils of eastern Orange County. In the early 1990’s, Etchandy Farms joined the other growers of Orange County Produce.
Mike Etchandy is a fourth generation Orange County farmer growing over 600 acres of strawberries between Orange and Ventura Counties. As the owner and operator of Etchandy Farms, Mike has been at the forefront of raising amazing strawberries, always in search of new, tasty varieties for the marketplace. He regularly embraces cutting edge, sustainable growing practices. At the same time, he is quick to mention that much of his good success has been a result of being surrounded by many loyal and outstanding employees who have also worked with his father and grandfather. And just like his ancestors, Mike Etchandy strives to produce the highest quality and delicious strawberries in the state.
In the early 1900’s, the Manassero family migrated to California from Italy and Spain. The family farm began with the help of two brothers Stephen and James who began farming in North Orange County in the early 1920’s. The mild climate and open farmlands of Orange County allowed them to grow mainly barley, canning tomatoes, oranges, different vegetable crops and eventually strawberries. Today, third generation farmer Dan Manassero continues the family legacy of growing a cornucopia of quality produce available directly to the local community. Manassero Farms has excelled at growing the favorite crops of Orange County such as strawberries, sweet corn, tomatoes, mixed squashes, green beans, cucumbers, ollalaberries, black berries and cantaloupe. Despite the increasing challenges facing OC agriculture such as water shortages and land availability, Manaserro farms continues to provide the community with superior local grown produce through the various farm stands scattered throughout Orange County.
The Fujishige family first migrated to California from Japan in the early 1900’s. Hisao Fujishige found early employment on the railroads, fishing, out of San Pedro Harbor and then working as an agricultural sharecropper in the rural lands around Los Angeles. He eventually earned enough to pursue his own farming operation and start a family. His first-born son Hiro Fujishige was born in 1922 in Los Angeles and was the eldest of three children. As the children grew older they worked with their parents on the farm helping and learning the art of cultivating in a new land. The family grew mostly vegetables familiar to their Japanese culture like Dikon, Napa Cabbage, cucumber, and green onions.
With the outbreak of WWII Hiro’s father was separated from the family and sent to the internment camp in Tule Lake, California and Hiro eventually enlisted in the US Army and joined the famous 442nd Battalion. He served in Europe until the war’s end and returned to Norwalk, California to rejoin his family. He continued working on the family farm growing on leased land until 1950 when they were able to buy their first ranch in Norwalk. In 1954 the family sold their original farm and moved to Anaheim where they increased their farm size and expanded into wholesale marketing. With successful farming and marketing operations going well Hiro married Reiko in 1964 and had three children Jane, Jack, and Nancy. Today, these third generation family farmers continue their 50+ year tradition of growing delicious strawberries, vegetables and some Asian vegetable specialties.
De La Costa Farms
De La Costa Farms is a family farm based primarily in Culiacan, Sinaloa Mexico. The farm was originally founded by Hans Heinrich Habermann who migrated to Mazatlan, Mexico from Germany after the First World War. There he met and married Bertha Paredes and raised four children. In the early 1930’s Hans started his own farming operation in a town just outside Culiacan called La Palomar on a ranch called La Binzaga. There, in the mild coastal weather of Sinaloa he began growing crops such as tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, squash, corn, soybeans, sorghum, and rice. 80 years later, third generation farmer Juan Enrique Habermann, continues to grow on the same family ranch. There, under his well-known label “De La Costa” he grows exceptional green beans, cucumbers, corn and sorghum. As a nationally respected agricultural leader, Juan is proud of the quality of his produce and the commitment to sustainable farming practices that he and his employees put into every harvest. He plans to preserve the tradition of family farming with the help of his four children. Look for his seasonally fresh, quality crops during the California Fall, Winter and Spring!