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Five Generations of Farming Heritage

Burroughs Family Farms Family Photo

In 1894, Benjamin Burroughs traveled to California from Illinois to find his future in the milk business.  Little did he know that his great-grandchildren would still be farming in the twenty-first century, producing and selling organic almonds, olive oil, milk, cheese, and grass-based eggs and meats.

One hundred years and five generations later, Ward and Rosie Burroughs and we, their grown-up children, continue our family’s farming tradition in the northern San Joaquin Valley near Yosemite National Park. What started out as a small dairy in 1906, is now a full circle collaboration of farms that are family-owned and operated by us kids. Burroughs Family Farms is our collaborative effort to offer hand-raised and sustainably-grown products directly to you while protecting soil and water for generations to come.

We invite you to learn more about our farms and purchase our foods directly, through this website. Our foods can also be found at area grocers and farmer’s markets or even picked up at the farm. We love knowing where and how our food is produced, and we hope you will, too.

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ABOUT US

Burroughs Family Farms (BFF) is a family effort of Burroughs siblings working together to offer hand raised and sustainably grown products directly to you. Through a combination of four farms all jointly managed and interconnected, we produce grass-based meats and eggs, organic olive oil, raw organic almonds and gouda style cheese made with organic “Grass to Gold” milk.

The Burroughs Family Farm rests on the rolling hills below the majestic Half Dome of Yosemite National Park.  The combination of the moderate Mediterranean climate of California’s San Joaquin Valley with good soils and water, grow some of the world’s finest quality almonds and olives and provides a thriving environment for livestock.

Each of us Burroughs siblings owns and operates a farm that is jointly managed and interconnected with the others, employing organic and sustainable production practices and producing the highest quality foods possible. We each have our own farm vision, business plan, and agricultural specialty, yet we share many resources that benefit each other’s farms.

 

We’re also business partners with our parents, Rosie and Ward, and we’re always grateful for their support and wisdom. Family owned and operated businesses come with their own set of challenges, and we’re fortunate to have the experience that our parents bring to us from the Burroughs farming history. Being just down the road from Rosie and Ward is a great thing for all of us, too!

Ward and Rose Marie

 

Burroughs Family Orchards (BFO) is a family partnership between Ward and Rose Marie Burroughs and their daughter, Benina Montes. Benina started farming almonds with her father on their farm in 2002. Over the last eight years, while managing both conventional and organic almonds, she has incorporated many sustainable agriculture practices.  In 2006 Benina started the transition to organic production for the almond acres. BFO diversified into organic olive production in 2010.  The first milled olives were done in 2012.  The oil is a blend of Arbequina, Arbosana and Gretchinina varieties.

Heriberto and Benina

 

Burroughs Family Farms (BFF) is a husband-wife partnership between Benina and her husband Heriberto Montes. In 2010, Heriberto and Benina transitioned into the management of the poultry operation from Full Circle Dairy.  They have grown to 8 egg mobiles, which are made from recycled cotton trailers. Our birds are raised on pasture with fresh air and plenty of exercise. Our flock consists of Rhode Island Reds, Red Star and Brown Layers. You can be assured that our eggs are nutrient dense in Vitamins A & D; vital for our body to perform at peak performance. There is nothing as tasty as an organic, pasture, free range, farm fresh egg – we hope you enjoy them as much as our family does! Heri and Benina have three children.

Brian and Christina

 

Full Circle Dairy (FCD) is a family partnership with Christina and her husband Brian Bylsma and her parents Ward and Rosie, which started in 1999. Full Circle Dairy is also a seasonal, grass-based dairy which milks 500 Jersey and Jersey cross cows. Together, Christina and Brian manage the dairy operations and have been organic since November 2007. Christina and Brian have two boys and two girls.

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Family History

As far back as anyone can remember, our family has always had a passion for learning and sharing their knowledge of farming and all that it entails – from animal husbandry to botany to nutrition to farm economics and business law, and the list goes on.

Our grand-parents and great grand-parents on the Burroughs side of the family were organic farmers at the same time that they were helping to modernize the dairy industry. Back then, everybody was organic, and grass-based agriculture was the norm. The Burroughs family reinvented and restructured their dairy operations on several occasions, as milk testing and certification, machinery, transportation, and pasteurization all changed the ways in which milk was produced and delivered in America. Through it all, they successfully managed to build their dairy business and raise families that carried on their farming traditions.

Our father, Ward Burroughs, learned a great deal from his upbringing in this entrepreneurial farming family, and he also had a love of horses and the land. He went off to college at Cal Poly / San Luis Obispo where he met our mother, Rosie, in a horse training class. Mom’s parents came from New Mexico with Spanish Basque, Native American, Mexican, and French roots. Her great grandfather had been a rancher in the Rio Grande region, and she acquired her love of the land and horses as well as her interest in agriculture from this family history. She was the first woman to start a Future Farmers of America chapter before going on to college where she met our dad.

One week after their college graduation, our parents were married. Soon they joined in a family partnership with Ward’s parents and his brother, Earnest. Vista Livestock Company was founded in 1979 as a diversified agribusiness with beef, dairy and crop farming. Almonds were added to the mix in 1988. Dad and Mom felt blessed with their farming and ranching lifestyle and wanted to share that with a family of their own. Mom also became increasingly interested in health and nutrition as she was raising four children. At the same time, she and dad were generously sharing their knowledge and talents with the greater community. Mom founded and directed a school for students with dyslexia while she was raising us kids. She and dad also decided to carry on a teaching tradition that was adopted by Ward’s father in 1952 – the hosting and education of farming interns from around the world through International Farmers Aid Association (IFAA) we continue to host internships programs at our farms.

Meanwhile, we four kids were all growing up and following our own interests related to farming. We continued to learn about grass-based livestock management and organic farming methods and brought these practices back to our parents’ farm. With their experience in family farm business management, mom and dad helped each of us by forming partnerships with them to begin our own farm operations. We feel blessed to be independent yet collaborating with each other and our parents to create something bigger than we could have created on our own. Now, with families of our own, we all share a love of the land and we all use sustainable and organic farming practices to keep it healthy for our children and grandchildren.

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