Baloian Farms continues family legacy
Baloian Farms is a fourth generation family farm. There have been many different stages of the company, but through it all, their values have remained the same: to grow the best premium quality vegetables.
The Baloian family immigrated to the United States in 1917. The first generation, Charles Baloian, farmed in New York before heading west to California. It was in Fresno that the produce wholesale business began. Eventually the second generation, Jim and Ed, became involved.
“The two sons were quite a force, eager and sharp,” said Baloian Farms Sales Manager Jeremy Lane. “They really helped grow the business.”
The sons were drafted into World War II and were gone for three and a half years. At the conclusion of the war, the brothers landed at the same Air Force base within 24 hours and reunited for the first time after many years apart. They headed home and got right back to work.
Years later, Ed and son, Tim, recognized a need for greater consistency in their business in order to better serve their customer base. At the time, they were depending on local growers to bring the produce in. It was through this that the farming side of the company was started in the 1960s. The goal was to provide more dependability and quality, as well as to have more control. In 1985, father and son started Baloian Packing.
Today, Baloian Farms specializes in growing and packing fresh vegetables. The core commodities are green, red and yellow bell peppers. They are one of the largest fresh market pepper growers and suppliers in California. The peppers are complimented with production of eggplant, specialty flat sweet red onions, squash, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach, cauliflower, celery and kale.
“In addition to offering traditional fresh vegetables and bulk packs, Baloian Farms is a leader in innovation through specialty products and packaging,” added Lane. “We are diligent about studying food trends and performing consumer surveys in an effort to stay relevant to our target markets.”
In California, the growing season starts in the spring in the southern part of the state, beginning in the Coachella Valley. From there, growing follows the heat to the north in Bakersfield, Fresno, Huron, Stockton, Hollister, Gilroy and Oxnard. When fall hits, the company transitions back to the south.
Though Baloian Farms has many growing districts in production at the same time, the green peppers are packed in one of two facilities located in Fresno or Thermal, Calif. By only having two packing facilities, the company is able to maintain its quality control standards and uniformity of pack.
The company sends product throughout the United States and Canada. Occasionally, products are shipped to Mexico, but not with the same consistency as the U.S. and Canada. Baloian Farms works to supply a premium quality product for its customers, while providing a high level of customer service.
“I love being part of perpetuating and growing a family legacy,” said Lane about working for Baloian Farms. “Tim [Baloian Farms’ CEO] is passionate about farming, his company and his people. It’s exciting to work around a family and people who are so devoted to this way of life!”
The company employs 50 full-time employees and more during the seasonal months. Employees are encouraged to try new things.
Baloian Farms became a Friends of the Family Farm premium member because they believe the program helps the viability and strength of Fresno County Farm Bureau, while the organization works to protect agriculture and educate the public, media and elected officials.
“Farm Bureau is an amazing advocate,” said Lane. “The FAACT class provides exposure to issues facing agriculture and the PBS partnership really took it to the next level in educating the whole viewer audience. Baloian Farms wants to support that.”
Learn more about Baloian Farms at www.baloianfarms.com or call 559-264-3427.
To become a Friends of the Family Farm premium member, contact FCFB at 559-237-0263 or visit www.fcfb.org.
Friends of the Family Farm Spotlight Profile: Ag Today, Feb. 16
By: Katie Rodgers