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Stories of People and Land

Zea Sonnabend, Fruitilicious Farm, Santa Cruz County

Fruitilicious Farm was started by Zea Sonnabend and Terence Welch in 2012, and is now under Zea’s ownership while Terence helps oversee production. The farm produces high quality fruit using many organic practices, including cover crops, compost, and careful pest and crop monitoring. Fruitilicious grows more than 70 varieties of apples, including heirlooms unique to California and antique varieties from Europe. She also grows figs, pears, quince, peaches, citrus, and avocados. Zea is a well known leader in organic farming. She is a plant breeder by training, has been a CCOF organic inspector and policy adviser for many years, and served on the USDA National Organic Standards Board. Previously she operated a small fruit farm in Tehama County from 1982 to 1988. As Fruitilicious Farm took root during the drought years, she found that two irrigation wells needed to be upgraded, and two FarmLink infrastructure loans, the most recent with a five-year term, have made it possible for her to sustain the farm.

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