Stroll onto Vern Peterson’s farm, appropriately named Abundant Harvest Organics (AHO) in Kingsburg, CA and you’ll feel the song of work, the buzz of farm activity, the tractor rolling through the rows, and a melody… a bit of an old hymn, sung by owner, Vernon Peterson, as he moves about his ranch. If there is a man that is characterized by a musical note, a beaming smile, and an open heart, it’s Vernon Peterson. Him and his wife, Carol, plus their kids Erik and Heather (and their own growing families), from the Peterson Family and Abundant Harvest Organics.
Proud of their Swedish heritage, the Peterson’s have owned and farmed this land for many, many years.
“In four generations we’ve only moved a quarter of a mile,” Vernon declares, a large smile spreading across his face as he gazes out at his orchard. “I’ve been farming for thirty-one years; I started at age five, out in the field, grading cannery peaches, across the street from where I live now. My dad farmed tree fruit, grapes, and chickens. We all pitched in. That’s just how a family farm works. I never thought of my dad as having a different occupation from me! We all just worked the farm. Dad allowed us boys to work, make mistakes, and learn from them. From him I learned so much, but, mostly, he was a genuine man. He loved life and loved to help people. In fact, in a nutshell, that’s what we do on this farm today.”
Vernon farms a variety of organic tree fruit including peaches, plums, nectarines and even persimmons for your holiday celebrations. In addition to the abundant organic tree fruit available throughout the summer, the Peterson Family also raises organic chickens for market. As Vernon says, “It helps when we can use our own chicken manure as fertilizer on our fields. It’s a great relationship.”
The joyful music of farm work only continues to hum on as Vernon and his family keep on growing fruit and helping people through the hard work they put in on their farm and in their lives, and persist in taking joy in each day as they use organics to help enrich the world around them, be it through fruit or through people, in whatever way they can.
Go behind the scenes at the Peterson Family Farm with Episode 1 of Beyond the Harvest.