From Humble Beginnings, Chino, CA-based Family Farm Emerges to Offer High Quality Healthy Produce to Families
June 23, 2016 | Joy Leopold
“Our goal is to teach other families how to eat healthy and bring them the best quality that we can – from our family to theirs,” says Maricela Gaytan of Chino, CA-based Gaytan Family Farm.
The Gaytan’s began growing produce more than 12 years ago to carry on a family farming tradition that had begun decades earlier in Mexico.
“Farming is in our blood,” says Maricela Gaytan. “It’s all family that works on the farm—cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, all of us dedicate ourselves to farming.”
The family farm operation, which has since grown to encompass nearly 50-acres of farmland across multiple counties, emerged from humble beginnings in Mira Loma.
“We started really small, just one acre of land in Mira Loma,” says Maricela. “We didn’t have any tractors … we didn’t have any equipment to be able to do the work.”
Gaytan Family Farm has since expanded and now operates an array of farms spread across Aguanga, Santa Barbara, San Louis, and San Bernardino.
One of the reasons for the family’s expansion into other counties was to maximize harvests by taking advantage of seasonal growing opportunities provided by the varying climate conditions across the respective farm locations.
“In the summer season we’ll have broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and lettuce coming out of Santa Maria because we can’t grow it in Riverside,” says Maricela.
Gaytan Family Farm produces thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables each season, and sells its produce at Certified Farmers’ Markets in Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County.
Over the years, Maricela has seen the number of farmers’ markets across Southern California continue to grow as more and more people become aware of the economic, community, and health benefits of eating locally grown food.
“We’re really glad that more cities are being able to offer farmers’ markets to the community,” she says. “There are programs with EBT, there are programs encouraging the families to come out and support local farmers and eat healthy.”
Maricela says as the demand for fresh produce continues to grow, so too does the farm’s customer base.
“Now there’s a lot of self-awareness, [because] fresh is always better,” says Gaytan. “Eating healthy is a way of living, and there are a lot of customers who are aware of that. They want to buy at the farmers’ markets.”
The Gayton’s efforts to contribute to the local food economy in Southern California do not end with their participation in farmers’ markets. Gaytan Family Farm also operates two farm stands, and recently entered into a partnership with the Riverside Food Cooperative to have their produce included in their monthly Crop Box.
Today, Maricela and her mother Edelmira Gaytan, the farm’s owner, run Gaytan Family Farm with more than 40 other employees and contribute measurably to the growth of a sustainable local and regional food system in Southern California.