Feed folks, feed well being: Annie Florendo, proprietor of Candy Tree Farm, needs to advertise wholesome residing Bakersfield Dwelling
Farming has always been Annie Florendo’s calling – from watching her own grandparents build a farm to raising their own for decades. Florendo knew the benefits of consuming fresh produce and eventually wanted to spread her knowledge across California.
Where it started
Florendo was born and raised in Dinuba, north of Bakersfield. He grew up in a small farming community. Although she did not aspire to become a farmer in her youth, she loved everything about nature. Her interest in the sport would lead her to play softball at Cal State Bakersfield.
Florendo followed the typical timeline – graduate school, get a job and buy a house.
“It’s been less than two years since I bought the house … the market turned and the values soared. I bought the house for $ 100,000. In a year and a half, I was able to sell it for $ 245,000. I was able to raise $ 145,000, which was the highest I have ever had in my life at this point, ”she said. “I did all these stupid things a young person would do and I spoke to my brother on the phone and he gave me advice on what to do with my money.”
Florendo’s brother kept asking her what she always wanted to do with her life and Florendo knew she wanted a farm, so she took a leap of faith, left her job at the age of 25 and moved back to Dinuba.
“I was excited because I was passionate about what I wanted to do,” she said.
And there their journey began.
To start a farm, Florendo knew she had to go back to her roots and learn everything her grandparents did. Florendo met Art Lang, the owner of Honey Crisp Farms, who gave her a lifestyle for growing produce – from pruning to thinning the plants.
After two years of training at Lang, the stars turned to Florendo.
“My sister and her husband bought a 20-acre lot and were not interested in farming, so they leased the land to me,” she said.
The first fruits that Florendo grew and Sweet Tree Farms started were apricots and peaches. It eventually expanded to include plums, cherries, and more.
Sweet Tree Farms transports fresh produce through Southern California to San Diego. Before the pandemic, Florendo said Sweet Tree Farms was visiting up to 10 farmers’ markets in Irvine, Claremont, Hillcrest and Bakersfield every week. She also distributed products to other local businesses, such as Locale Farm to Table Eatery, which she still does.
“Eating is important. I was lucky enough to be one of those companies that went on and still brought food to people, ”she said.
Sweet Tree Farms and the Community
Because of Florendo’s upbringing, she has been picking and consuming fresh fruit since childhood.
“Sweet Tree Farms is the core of who I am,” she said. “Food is everything to me. It is unfortunate that some people have had this misconnection. Part of what I took away from farming is educating and teaching people that eating well is important. ”
Among other things, Florendo would like to help underserved communities in the near future to raise awareness of the benefits of healthy food.
“Health has an aspect and who gets it? I see this separation for those who are demographically underserved, so I want to get this food for people who don’t have access to it, ”she said.
Your plan is to start locally and expand from there so other people understand how important fresh fruit is to their health.
Another company that Florendo started with Sweet Tree Farms was the “Prop Drop” last summer – a home delivery service to distribute fresh produce directly to people’s doors – when farmers’ markets closed due to the pandemic were. Florendo wants to expand their idea and cater to the underserved community and deliver fresh products home.
Florendo is not only the owner of Sweet Tree Farms, but from 2018 also the new owner of Dagny’s Coffee Co.
Florendo said she loved Dagny’s because of the community that surrounds the establishment. When the pandemic is over, she hopes to bring more creative ideas to Dagny’s to give back to the community.