Farming Niche Organic Figs with Passion
By: Kyle Buchoff; CalAgToday reporter
Growing up in the Bay Area, Bob Steinacher learned how to harvest and dry apricots on his family’s one-acre plot in the Santa Clara Valley. His family maintained the plot as a hobby, but when houses began replacing orchards there, he decided he didn’t want to leave farming. After graduating from UC Davis, he began farming figs and walnuts full-time in Corning, in Tehama County.
“I’ve had Maywood Farms now for 33 years. My family helped me get started, and we’ve been very successful at what we do.” In addition to growing and harvesting 172 acres of organic figs, Steinacher fresh markets his fruit all over the country. “We have 50 acres of conventional walnuts as well,” he added.
Steinacher’s fig farming operation is unique: “We farm the most northern commercially grown figs in the country as Corning has the same weather as the Fresno area. We also have to worry about late spring frost and early fall rains, but we can weather that. We have wind machines installed for frost protection.”
Waxing nostalgic about his career, Steinacher reflected, “I have learned a lot over the last 33 years of doing this. I had no background in farming other than a desire to do this. I worked for other orchardists and down at a high school farm when I got out of college. I’ve learned a lot by the seat of my pants.”
“We’ve been very successful,” he continued, “because we’ve found a niche with the organic fresh figs. The fig market has been growing ever since we have been in it, and the organic market—on top of that—is growing very quickly as well.”
For more information, please visit the Maywood Farms’ website.