Our farm is truly family owned, 2 parents (Anne and Tony Thacher) and 2 kids (George and Emily) own the ranch and make decisions about how to run the business. We all live on the farm: Tony and Anne on the Sheldon ranch; Emily and her husband Tony Ayala (yes, there are 2 Tonys) and their young kids Oliver and Celeste live on the east-end Newsome Ranch; George lives with his wife Marcia and 3 kids, Matthew, Andrew and Mariana, at the Casa Vieja Ojai Pixie parcel.
Tony Thacher and his kids (George and Emily) run day-to-day operations, while Anne helps with bookkeeping and fills in at the packinghouse when needed. The 5 grandkids do what kids do best, they eat lots of fruit and play in the orchard! Sometimes they even help with sales at the farmers’ markets or check sprinklers on hot summer days.
We are very lucky to have wonderful long-time employees, without whom we would not be able to run the ranch. Lupe Estrada and Reyes Estrada, from Colima, Mexico have worked for Friend’s for over 25 years and are family to us. They know the ins and outs of the farm and are fully capable of running the show. Other members of the Estrada family have also worked with us; Lupe’s son Omar Estrada helps at farmers’ markets and his wife Angela helps make our juice and usually accompanies Tony to the Hollywood market on Sunday mornings. Without the Estrada family we would not be able to get all the work done!
We also include within our family all of the longtime buyers of our produce both at farmers’ markets, mail order and wholesale markets. We wouldn’t be growing great fruit without the people that buy it! Thank you!