Featured Grower

Don Klassen

Don’s family came to the United States from the Ukraine. He has now extended his family farming heritage into the third generation. Don’s grandfather Eldo purchased approximately 20 acres in Reedley, CA, which was primarily raisin grapes. Don’s father gradually transitioned the family farm into tree fruit. Growing up in a farming family Don started working at a very young age. He can remember stapling boxes and watching his dad work and manage all aspects of the farming operation. One of Don’s favorite memories was riding with his dad with a load of fruit to the cold storage, and simply spending time with, and learning from his dad. After high school, Don extended his education at the University of Cal Poly, where he studied Soil Science. Don is married, and has three children. He appreciates the fact that farming allows him to be an active parent, and he knows the importance of a dad being present – he said, he never takes for granted, the time he has gotten to spend with his kids. Today Don farms over 400 acres of Summeripe and Summertime peaches, plums, nectarines and plumcots. Don’s favorite fruits would be the plumcot and white nectarine. Don loves what he does, and hopes that his fruit can be enjoyed for years to come.

 

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Meet Our Growers

Our Growers mean the world to us, and we’d like to introduce you to them, and tell their rich stories. It truly is a labor of love by these amazing people who tend to and grow all of the trees in our Orchards. Many of the families are multi-generational farmers working the same land their parents and grandparents worked. Following are their stories.

Don Klassen

The Klassen family came to the United States from the Ukraine. Don Klassen is now the third generation to farm the same land that his grandfather initially purchased in Reedley, CA. The original family farm was approximately 20 acres. Don’s grandfather Eldo grew primarily raisin grapes. Don’s father gradually transitioned his acreage to tree fruit. Today Don farms over 400 acres of Summeripe and Summertime peaches, plums, nectarines and plumcots. Don’s favorite fruits would be the plumcot and white nectarine. Don loves what he does, and hopes that his fruit can be enjoyed for years to come.

Walt Lehrman

Walt Lehrman has farming in his blood. His father was an engineer by trade, but he also loved the land, thus he farmed 27 acres of peaches and plums on the side. Today, Walt and his son Josh farm over 500 acres of Summeripe peaches, plums and nectarines. Walt’s favorite fruit is the nectarine, and the varieties he enjoys most are Honey Kist and Honey Blaze. The Lehrman family is rooted in farming, now three generations strong.

Eric's Laemmlen

Rudolf Laemmlen arrived in the Central Valley of California in 1925. He had a passion for farming and a desire to grow great tasting fruit. Rudolf started with 30 acres, and a vision of progress. He passed his farming legacy, to his son Arthur and eventually his grandson Eric. Today Eric farms over 200 acres of Summeripe peaches, plums and nectarines. Eric is proud of his family heritage, and he hopes consumers will see, taste and enjoy the fruits of his family’s labor.

Vernon Peterson

Farming is deep in Vernon Peterson’s family heritage. In 1893 Vernon’s great grandfather came to the United States from Sweden and started farming 10 acres of stone fruit. Today, Vernon farms 200 acres, and is proudly the organic grower for Mountain View and Summeripe. Vernon’s favorite fruit is a Mariposa plum, or a Zee Lady peach used to make homemade ice cream! Vernon is a true success story, through all the storms of life, he knows that he is supposed to farm. He certainly enjoys farming, and hopes that you enjoy the fruits of his labor as much as he does!

Richard Sawatzky

Richard Sawatzky and his son Ryan, now a 5th generation farmer, continue to grow their family business. Their ancestors planted their first block of stone fruit in 1956, and today Richard and Ryan farm over 550 acres. Ryan’s goal is to continue this legacy of farming delicious Summeripe peaches, plums and nectarines. Richard’s favorite fruit is a peach, and his favorite varieties are the July Flame and Zee Lady. Richard loves farming because it has given him the freedom to be involved in so many different things. He enjoys the fact that he could be there for his kids’ events, and now it’s the same for his grandkids. Richard’s passion for life, and farming can be recognized immediately, when he shares his many stories. He’s so proud of his family history in the Ag Industry, and his contributions to Summeripe. He hopes you enjoy eating his fruit, as much as he enjoys growing it.

John Warmerdam

John is a third generational farmer. His grandfather came to The San Joaquin Valley from Holland in 1911 and started a small farming operation. Eventually John’s father, John N. Warmerdam took over. John and his father now farm over 350 acres of delicious Summeripe fruit. However, John Warmerdam breaks the mold when it comes to the usual generational farmer. His intent was to get off the farm, and teach English. But, as we all know, our plans don’t always fall into place. Today, John loves farming, and couldn’t see himself doing anything else. John’s favorite fruit is a White Nectarines, and his favorite variety is the Arctic Mist.
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