How did you get into farming?
Jackie: My parents farmed this land, as did my grandparents before them. My grandfather arrived in California in the late 1800’s with his brothers, escaping unrest in Armenia. I remember my dad getting up before daylight tending the fields, and I would walk the vineyards with him. With my mom, I remember picking grape leaves used to make Armenian delicacies.
During harvest, everyone in the household pitched in. In those days, there was no such thing as mechanical harvesting and we had a short window of time.
How do you grow raisins?
Jackie: Of course, we start in the vineyards with our Thompson seedless grapes, the same green grapes you buy at the store. The young grapes appear on the vines in early May and are ready for harvest in September. We pick the grapes, which are then laid on paper trays to dry right in the vineyard. They dry in the sun until they are ready to be delivered to Sun Maid® which is very close to our ranch, and then to Kellogg’s®.