Brandstad Farm: Cherries

Preserving the Past, Stewarding the Future

Jon and Christine Brandstad

The Brandstad Family grows cherries, walnuts, and olives on their farm in San Joaquin County. Their 150-year old farming legacy and a partnership with our land trust forever protected this special farmland in 2014 – and those cherries are still growin’.

By protecting their farm, the Brandstads maintained their private ownership and the rights that come with owning land, but removed the ability to divide or convert the land away from agriculture. In other words, the land will continue to be taken care of, produce nutritious food, and be maintained as a natural resource for us all.

Cherry tree row

Jon and his brother, fourth generation farmers, made this decision collectively with their families and children to commit their lives and their land to farming forever. John’s nephew Jeff is the new manager of John’s portion of the farm, maintaining the family’s tradition on the land. Jeff’s oldest son Richard works the farm during harvest in the summers, making six generations on the farm.

“We are very happy to have our nephew Jeff come and manage our portion of the ranch,” said John Brandstad. “He knows this land, our trees, and how to take this operation to the next level. With him, we know our history and stewardship will go on.”

Brandstad original farmhouse dating back to 1900.

The property is also home to the original farm house that Jon’s great-grandfather built; they moved into the house on New Year’s Day 1900. Their grandfather bought the original conserved property for his own during the Depression for $15 per acre. “He struggled to get it and struggled to keep it,” said Jon. “We are passionate about preserving farmland; we have a lot of pride in what we do because of who came before us.”

“It would break our hearts to see this place with so much history and hard work invested in it turned into houses or a development one day,” said Christine. “No matter who owns this place in the future, its history will live in the land and continue to provide for our next generations.”

Brandstad cherries!

“These protection efforts with Central Valley Farmland Trust are good for everybody,” said Jon. “It protects the environment and teaches future generations to care for the land. We must pass these concepts onto our children so their children will know it too.”

Learn more about cherries HERE or make a yummy cherry pie HERE