When high school sweethearts Anthony and Lisa set out for college 20 years ago, they probably didn’t know they’d be breaking the mold of traditional farming to create a tree-to-counter technique that brings fruit picked right off the tree – touched only once by the farmer – and brought straight to us, picked, packed, and perfect! Considering NPR reports produce can be touched upwards of 20 times before you buy it at the grocery store, this is quite the feat!
Both Lisa and Anthony are second-generation tree fruit farmers in Reedley, California, about 3 ½ hours from both San Francisco and Los Angeles. The couple has redesigned the picking process traditionally used on farms by placing a single layer of carefully selected fruit directly from the tree to the final box, never risking it getting bumped or bruised. The next day it’s delivered to us bursting with flavor! This method of farming definitely takes more time and resources for the Galpins, but the satisfaction of knowing they’re farming the best tasting fruit possible is worth it. Lisa sums up that all that work is there for a reason. “We see the smiles on our customers faces when they bite into our fruit and that makes it all worth it.”
With traditional commercial farming, fruit is picked before it’s ripe and touched dozens of time before it lands in your kitchen. First, it’s picked and placed in large bins, then transported to a sorting house where it’s dumped on conveyer belts and sized and sorted. Next step, it’s packed into cases and shipped off to distributors where it waits for a grocery store to buy it, sometime for weeks at a time! Finally, it arrives to the store where it’ll be touched again by store employees before being placed in your cart and driven home. For all of this to happen, produce must be picked early enough to withstand being tossed around, and to not get overripe during the long amount of time between being picked and purchased. In a study done by Lindstrom in 2010 of 25 supermarkets across 5 countries, the average apple in the store was 14 months old! Yikes!
“The fruit needs all the time it can get on the tree to develop that sweet flavor”, says Anthony. Commercial farmers will pick all the fruit off the tree, regardless of the stage of ripeness. Anthony and Lisa will return to a tree 4-5 times, as they’ll only pick the best fruit that’s ready on that day. Anything that falls to the ground or doesn’t make the cut is picked up and fed the farm animals or transformed into one Lisa’s amazing pies, making Galpin Farm’s nearly zero waste!
After our farm tour, Anthony and Lisa sent us home with a case of sweet and juicy nectarines. What we couldn’t devour right away, we turned into a delicious fruit tart. Try our recipe below.