Member Spotlight: Bryce Loewen of Blossom Bluff Orchards

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Sun-dried fruit at Blossom Bluff Orchards

This week we’re featuring Bryce Loewen, of Blossom Bluff Orchards, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Since 1931, his family has been producing a wide variety of high quality fruit. Today, they grow over 150 varieties of CCOF-certified tree fruit on just under 80 acres.

In addition to selling fresh fruit, an innovative part of their business plan is to dry fruit and sell it year-round. During the summer months, the leftover peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots are cut by hand, pitted, and then laid out on wooden raisin trays to dry naturally in the sun. During the cooler fall and winter months, they slice their persimmons and mandarins into thin disks and dry them in an industrial grade dehydrator. So tasty!

Read on as Bryce tells us about how he got into farming, what important pieces of advice he’s learned over the years, and where you can find his delicious fruit!


FarmsReach: How many years have you been farming?

Bryce Loewen: I’ve been involved with the farm in some way for most of my life (helping out in the packing shed, selling fruit at farmers markets, etc.), but I’d say I’ve only been “farming” since I moved back here from the Bay Area about 5 years ago.

FR: How many generations of farmers are in your family?

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Bryce Loewen

BL: I’m the fourth generation in our current location, but I come from Mennonite stock so there’s no telling how far back my family’s farming tradition goes. There’s a pretty rich history of agriculture associated with our folk.

FR: Which question(s) are you most asked by other farmers – either new or experienced? What is your response?

BL: “Why did you come back to the farm?” or “How is it working with your family?” Kinda the same answer for both, I love our farm and my family, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to continue the legacy.

FR: How did you get into farming? What do you love most about it?

BL: I grew up on the farm, and it took some time and distance for me to appreciate it. After living in the city for 10 years and completing my education, I realized that I’m a country boy at heart, and I prefer the peace and relative solitude that farm life has to offer. That said, my favorite part of what we do is interacting with customers at farmers markets that appreciate all the hard work that organic farming demands of us.

The Orchards of Blossom Bluff

The Orchards of Blossom Bluff

FR: What was the most important piece of advice you received when you were getting started? And/or, what single piece of advice would you give a new beginning farmer?

BL: I think the best advice I would give to new farmers is try to specialize in what you do, and develop your brand. If you can get to be known as “the egg guy” or “the tomato girl” or whatever, that can open doors. There’s a lot of competition out there, and if people get to know that you have the best “_”, it’s a good idea to seal that association with a good brand. Spend some time working on a brand/logo, and try to attach it to EVERYTHING you produce.

FR: What is the strangest thing you’ve learned since starting your operation?

BL: Organic food and farmers markets have become extremely happening. Who knew?

FR: What do you feel is the next big thing (or most exciting thing) in agriculture?

BL: I think (and hope) that smaller, family farms are going to make a resurgence as food culture evolves and spreads, and as people get more interested and educated about how and where their food is coming from. Fingers crossed!

FR: Where do you sell your products? CSA, markets, restaurants, stores, etc?

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Dried fruit

BL: All of the above. We decided a long time ago that it was a good idea to be as diverse as possible when trying to sell our fruit. It creates a lot of work for us, but ultimately it’s the safest way to consistently move through our supply, and if any one avenue is weak or fails, we always have several other options. It’s also good for the brand and cross marketing when farmers’ market customers see our fruit on restaurant menus, and vice versa.

FR: Which piece of equipment can you not live without, or what would your dream new piece of equipment be?

BL: Honestly, on our farm and with our marketing practices, our on-site cold box has become extremely valuable/crucial. In our summer climate, trying to keep delicate, ripe fruit for any length of time requires proper cold storage, and having it on location at the farm allows us to keep our MANY varieties of summer fruit organized for distribution, and grants us the freedom to build mixed pallets that can go to the various stores we sell to on our own schedule.

FR: What do you like to do in your free time? Hobbies outside of farming? 

BL: To relax I enjoy all kinds of games (video, board, card, etc.), watching movies, reading (not JUST comics… but mostly comics), and playing with our pets. Oh, and beer. I really like beer.


Thank you Bryce for sharing about your farm with the community! If you have questions for Bryce about Blossom Bluff’s marketing outlets, growing practices or other information about their farm, get in touch: bryceloewen@hotmail.com or visit their website.

If you have questions or words of wisdom about your farm or ranch, visit FarmsReach Conversations and post a question or comment!

Do you know another farmer that would be interesting to profile? Get in touch with me: evaa@farmsreach.com. We love to hear from you! 

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