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Our home and hearts are here in the beautiful Salinas Valley, but the low desert regions of the Imperial Valley play an important role in our operations too. If you aren’t familiar with southern California’s agricultural cycles, you might wonder why we transition from one area to another every year. Our annual migration is a tradition that helps us sustain both the land that we love and the crops that we bring to your table.
The Salinas Valley Salad Bowl
Our families started farming here in the Salinas Valley in the late 1800s before the region earned its reputation as the Salad Bowl of the World. Those small operations took deep root in the valley’s fertile soil, and today we work our fields from March through early December.
Warm breezes off the Pacific keep average Salinas Valley temperatures ideal for growing healthy, crisp produce. We plant and harvest baby iceberg lettuce, hearts of romaine and a wonderful variety of crops until the weather changes with the season. Winter days mean less sunshine and cooler temperatures, and that’s when we make our annual transition to the Imperial Valley.
Winter Farming in the Desert
You wouldn’t think that a desert region could support agricultural operations, but the Imperial Valley was once a Colorado River floodplain. Its soil is deep and rich, and warm winter temperatures usually range between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The mild, sunny days let us continue farming in conditions that keep produce at peak health. By early spring, warm days quickly heat up, and summer afternoons send the mercury past 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Some farming continues here during the summer, but our premium lettuce is vulnerable to high temperatures, so springtime marks our migration back home to the Salinas Valley.
Establishing a Sustainable Balance
Changing seasons always present challenges to Salinas Valley produce companies. However, by transitioning between the two valleys we give our fields time to rest and replenish natural nutrients, and that sustains the fertility that allows us to grow the best possible produce.
We can’t think of another place on earth where we could farm year-round knowing that our operations don’t take away from the land that gives us so much. When we make our annual transitions, we’re grateful for the bounty of two beautiful California valleys. They both allow Hitchcock Farms to carry on the family farming traditions that bring the freshest possible produce to your tables all year long.