Santa Paula Times

Limoneira Company’s ranch tour provides a mix of lemon scents and sustainable sensibility

August 13, 2010
Santa Paula News

What did lemon and avocado growers know over 100 years ago that many of us are just now realizing?

That careful use of land, water and energy will provide a continual bounty of healthy, natural food for generations to come. This philosophy is in full view during the Limoneira Citrus Ranch Tour in Santa Paula, one of several tours offered by this 117-year-old farming and land company.

Limoneira Company, with over 7,000 acres in agricultural production, is one of the country’s largest avocado and lemon growers. The Citrus Ranch Tour offers plenty of sensory delights: acres of avocado and lemon orchards, colorful stretches of row crops including strawberries, celery, cilantro, cabbage and beets (seasonal) and a look back into farming history with period ranch photos and original packing “fruit crate” art dating from the early part of the 20th Century.

The tour also shows guests what modern farmers are doing to become more sustainable. Citrus Ranch Tour guests will view a 5.5 acre “solar orchard” that supplies power to Limoneira’s lemon storage facilities. Weeds are kept in check naturally around the solar panels by English miniature sheep. Guests will then stop by Limoneira’s 10-acre green recycling yard--where green materials are naturally composted into mulch that is then distributed in the orchards. The mulch reduces water use by one third on the farm, keeps weeds down and reduces the use of pesticides.

“Guests soak in the farming history of the area, while also seeing how today’s farmers are using sustainable practices to ensure there will be plenty of fruit and produce for us all,” says John Chamberlain, Limoneira director of marketing.

The one-hour Citrus Ranch Tour can be combined with other Limoneira Tours. For more information, go to, e-mail or call 805-525-5541.