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Author Sarah Kirton
Sarah Kirton
Created on Aug 20th, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Balakian Farms 2023: A Certified Organic Oasis 

DeliveryRank discovers the Essence of Tradition and Excellence at Balakian Farms With Amber Balakian, owner and 4th Generation Farmer.

Balakian Farms stands firmly upon foundational principles that pay homage to tradition, family, inclusivity, and integrity. Dating back to its establishment in 1925, the farm tends to more than just organic stone fruit, heirloom tomatoes, and summer crops; it nurtures enduring bonds with its cherished workforce, the heartbeat of the operation. The farm's unwavering dedication to quality processes and superior products has earned it recognition as a certified organic sanctuary nestled in Reedley, California. 

As a fourth-generation farm with a long history, how has Balakian Farms maintained its commitment to tradition, family, inclusion, and integrity throughout the years?

Our experiences and Armenian & African American heritage have helped us to connect with customers in a unique way. It really has made us more resilient. We have been able to garner support and loyalty over the years because of what our farm represents and how that vein of tradition has remained consistent over the years even through various changes. We consider our farm more than just a business, it is a way of life. As I look ahead to the future, I see a lot of exciting changes for our farm. However, I have a commitment to honoring what has made our farm who we are and that is the past.

Could you share some insights into the organic farming practices employed at Balakian Farms? How do these practices contribute to the high standards you set for your products and the sustainability of your operations?

We are certified organic, so all of our practices are not only sustainable, but approved by the USDA. Our farm also uses traditional farming practices that have been passed down through our family. This is better for the land, environment and our community. In utilizing a lot of produce, we ensure that nothing goes to waste. For example, we are currently drying peach leaves to make extracts for our cosmetics we are launching this year. That is one example, but there is value in keeping with some of these historical practices that we have gotten away from in our industrialized society.

Our packaged products are made using produce that is not cosmetically sufficient for traditional retail. In using Armenian recipes and methods passed down through generations, we are able to share exceptional products that represent our heritage and culture.

If you were to visit our farm, it is lush green and thriving because of the organic and sustainable practices we employ. We have been able to weather many storms both literal and figurative because we have tried to remain true to our core values and what is at the heart of our farm’s purpose.

What do you believe contributes to the dedication and loyalty of your employees to Balakian Farms?

Many of our employees have been with our family for over 20+ years, and we treat them like family. That is really how it has always been, as far back as I can remember! My grandma would make lunch for all our employees every day when my grandpa John was alive. She still will make things like fried eggplant sandwiches for the guys when they go to the farmer’s markets, and Choreg for the girls that are packing. I think things like respect and how you treat others goes a long way. So, there is a loyalty and bond there that has really lasted decades. I like seeing a lot of their kids now go on to be successful in college, pursue their master’s degrees. It is pretty incredible to see that. 

Heirloom tomatoes and stone fruit are known for their unique flavors and characteristics. Can you elaborate on the specific competencies and expertise that Balakian Farms has developed in cultivating these crops and what sets your products apart from others in the market?

Our farm has always had really good quality in terms of produce. I know everyone says that! But you have to believe me when I tell you. It’s really good. I’m pretty keen on critiquing produce, even our own. 

Honestly, I think it goes back to the way in which we care for the land, trees and plants. We also save our own seeds, and make our own plants which creates consistency in what we have to offer. Angel and Benny (who are brothers) are experts at taking care of each tree, the soil and plants. Things are never rushed, and always shown a lot of attention. They treat it like their own. We all work together to help manage the year-around process, and it shows up in the quality that is produced – both flavor and sweetness.

How do you envision the farm's continued growth and success in the coming years?

We are planning on launching products to expand our offerings and really tapping into reaching customers in new ways. Whether that is through offering produce through ecommerce, branching out to new farmer’s markets or working with new retailers, we are excited to see what the future holds. So many of our supporters want to taste what our farm has to offer, so we want to do everything we can to make what we grow and produce accessible. 

If you would like to find out more about Balakian Farms, visit https://balakianfarms.com/

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