Eric and Kim Christensen, husband and wife and founders of Rising C Ranch, know the fruits of living among the produce they grow.
They reside on the grounds of their bountiful citrus farm in Reedley, California, which is located in foothills of The Golden State’s San Joaquin Valley—a locale that Eric attests “grows the finest citrus fruits in the world, PERIOD.” Its appeal (pun intended) comes from the combination of its soil, heat, and dry, cool winters, which provide the time the fruit needs to mature and develop the best taste possible.
Living on-site allows them to tend to their gorgeous groves—130 acres that bear over 40 types of citrus—in a unique and impressive way. For example, they use sprays sparingly. “Since we live on our ranch, we are very aware of the insect presence,” says Eric. “We’ve learned that just because there are pests in the trees, that doesn’t mean we have to spray. We’ve seen the way that Mother Nature can balance the equation! So many times the problem takes care of itself, naturally.”
Another technique that sets Rising C Ranch’s farming style apart from others’ is that they are extremely patient at harvest time. They won’t pluck the fruit until it’s absolutely perfect. “We allow fruit to mature more so that the flavor is at its height,” explains Eric. “Since not all the fruit on the same tree will taste the same, we will harvest many groves two to three times to select the fruit that tastes the best.”
This harvest features 14 different types of mandarins, 11 types of oranges, six varieties of limes, five types of lemons, and grapefruit—and even the super rare large fingered citron. The shape of this fruit resembles the way petals open up on a flower and can weigh up to six pounds!
Other examples of the Christensen’s ripe life include enjoying the robust fragrance of the citrus blossoms in April, harvesting on a foggy day in the dead of winter, and even getting notes from consumers about their experience with the fruit. Says Eric, “It really is the full circle, and we feel blessed.”
They’re also extremely proud to be a part of the California farmers’ community. “It supplies a way of life for us—and work and opportunities for many other people in this state.”