April Buck Produce Feature

Buck Brand


I just returned from four days in California, where I toured citrus farms with our friends from Organically Grown Company and produce managers from various co-ops in the Pacific Northwest. We started in Los Angeles and snaked our way through Ojai, up to the San Joaquin Valley, and ended up in San José.

Lisle grows beautiful, delicious, antioxidant-rich blood oranges.

Lisle grows beautiful, delicious, antioxidant-rich blood oranges.

You know WHAT we do at Marlene’s: provide you the freshest, most delicious organic produce available from the most ethical farms. Well, we never forget WHY we do it. It’s because we care about our planet, the workers on the farms, our customers and their children, and people like Lisle and Mary Lou Babcock.

Lisle and me.

Lisle and me.

Lisle and Mary Lou Babcock are the primary growers for Buck Brand produce grown in the foothills of the San Joaquin Valley. The Babcocks grow a wide variety of oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pomelos, tangerines, kumquats, and more. As they proudly state on their website, they are organic growers who utilize processes unlike any other packing houses in the industry, yielding fruit “unlike anything you have ever sunk your teeth in.”

Buck Brand fruit is packed only when it is fully ripe and ready to eat.  Everything is picked to order and delivered to stores within days of harvest, not weeks.

Buck Brand fruit is packed only when it is fully ripe and ready to eat. Everything is picked to order and delivered to stores within days of harvest, not weeks.

The first block of navel oranges grown in the San Joaquin Valley are still producing fruit on Lisle’s farm. They were planted in 1905!

I was impressed with the simple but thorough methods they use to process their amazingly delicious fruit. As Lisle told us, “Our packing house has all modern equipment: our bagging machine was modern in 1950 and our sorting machine was modern in 1915.”

Next month I’ll share more pictures and stories of my trip and the amazing farmers I met there.

Another example of the low-tech methods employed at Buck Brand.

Another example of the low-tech methods employed at Buck Brand.

Here I am, picking an orange from a tree planted in 1905!

Here I am, picking an orange from a tree planted in 1905!

Horse hair brushes on a sorting machine from 1915--the only thing gentle enough to sort the magnificent-but-fragile T.D.E. mandarin.  The fruit s also drenched with a natural compound, using only the fruit's own natural wax.  this produces a fruit full of its own natural flavor, the way it used to taste before the use of artificial wax and fungicides.

Horse hair brushes on a sorting machine from 1915–the only thing gentle enough to sort the magnificent-but-fragile T.D.E. mandarin. The fruit is also drenched with a natural compound, using only the fruit’s own natural wax. this produces a fruit full of its own natural flavor, the way it used to taste before the use of artificial wax and fungicides.

Lisle has cultivated a variety of navel orange he calls the "Lou Lou," named after his wife Mary Lou.

Lisle has cultivated a variety of navel orange he calls the “Lou Lou,” named after his wife Mary Lou.


Don’t BUCK this Trend!
by Joe McInnis