PRODUCER PROFILES

T & D Willey Farms

Tom and Denesse Willey farm a 75 acre patch of the Central San Joaquin Valley in Madera, California. They have been farming organically since 1980 and certified organic since 1987.

Watered by snow melt streams from the Sierra Nevada, the rich alluvial soils of this region make up the most productive farmscape on earth. Tom and a staff of 5 grow the year-round palette of bountiful vegetables using the latest in biological fertility systems. Denesse manages the hand-harvest, sales and shipping with her permanent staff of 25 and sometimes the help of as many as 40 people.

At T&D Willey Farms, crops are harvested exclusively by hand. The product is then put aboard flatbed trucks and transported to the shed for sorting, washing, bunching, and packing. Re-usable wooden crates are used for many products rather than nonrecyclable waxed cartons. Leaders and innovators in the industry, the Willeys have pioneered the use of sturdy cardboard (non-waxed) recycled/recyclable cartons for their "wet" produce.