Hank and Ellen Brokaw began their business as a backyard avocado and citrus nursery in the mid-1950s. In 1967 they purchased the Lemoravo Ranch in Soledad where they planted avocado and citrus trees after establishing eucalyptus windbreaks on the property.
In 1977, they purchased the 130-acre Cheravo ranch near Santa Paula, CA. Only 6 of the 130 acres were planted in avocados when the Brokaw farmily purchased the ranch — the remainder of the property was empty pastureland. Cheravo ranch is steep and hilly. On some portions of the property the soil was infertile, while other areas were thick with generations of organic debris. Thirty years later, the Brokaws are farming all 130 acres of this property on every degree of slope and facing in virtually all directions. They produce an abundance of citrus, subtropical fruits, and avocados for farmers’ markets, retail and wholesale sales. In Soledad they farm Hayward Kiwis and 5 varieties of avocados.
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Watsonville, CA 95076
http://www.willsavocados.comSanta Paula, Ventura County, CA and Soledad, Monterey County, CA 400 miles from Santa Paula, and 125 miles from Soledad. Various, from extreme clay to well-draining sandy loam (Santa Paula). Sandy loam with some clay (Soledad). Well (both sites) Brokaw Nursery is a family business run by Hank & Ellen Brokaw, and sons Rob and Will. They have 5 year-round workers, and they hire temporary crews for large harvests and special projects. Not Certified Organic Gypsum & manure (applied manually); urea, potassium/iron/zinc chelates (injected through irrigation system) Hand weeding; HonchoPlus (a Monsanto herbicide) used for chemical weed control. IPM; Agri-mek as needed for thrip; Admire for aphids; Lorsban 4E used on ground for ant control; Kocide (spray fungicide) used to prevent post-harvest skin rotting 130 acres (Santa Paula) and 15 acres (Soledad).