Chris Kerston, Orchardist and Agri-Tourism Pioneer – Biographies – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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Chris Kerston, Orchardist and Agri-Tourism Pioneer

Name: Chris Kerston

Partner at Chaffin Family Orchards

Place of Residence: Oroville, Calif.

Background and Personal
  Chris Kerston has worked for the
University of California, various cattle ranches, and other farms. Since
2007, he has been part of the Chaffin Family Orchards team and is the Director
of Marketing and one of three farming partners. He speaks all over
the West Coast to both farmer and consumer groups about alternative farming
models. He’s been on the forefront of the collaborative process with
state and federal regulators, advocating for them to recognize alternative ecological
agricultural models and consumers’ right to healthy local foods. He’s
also been recognized as a leader in the emerging agri-tourism/farmstay

grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles and did not have any exposure to agriculture
until high school, when he started dating the woman who would later become his
wife. Her family had a cattle ranch. He fell in love with the animals, the
connection with nature, and the lifestyle and has been farming fulltime ever
since. For more information on his journey into agriculture read all about his history at the Chaffin Family Orchards website.

Chaffin Orchards is a 2,000-acre, 5-generation, diversified farm that features extra virgin olive oil, grassfed beef, lamb, goat, pastured chicken and eggs, heirloom stonefruits, citrus, and wool. The farm manages part of the largest old growth olive orchard in
North American. With the use of permaculture techniques and holistic
management grazing, the farm is able to minimize inputs and maximize fertility
by mimicking natural systems.  For the last decade they’ve been leading
innovators by integrating grassfed livestock into their old growth
orchards. Their sheep and cows now do nearly all their mowing on the
orchard floor. The goats handle the invasive weeds, keep irrigation
canals clean, and clear firebreaks. And the meat and laying chickens act
as pest control, eat downed fruit, and fertilize the soil. The farm uses about 85 percent less fuel than it used to and is able to operate with just a handful of
employees. They also direct market over 90 percent of their goods selling shelf-stable products online and the more perishable items through local farmers
markets and CSAs. For more information about the farm go to

More Places to Find Chris on the Web: