Meet the Aguilars. They're the founding family and current owners of Mandarin Hill Orchards, and they've accumulated more than 70 years of storied history on the land where their groves lie. They've battled tree diseases, sudden frosts, and the ravages of time by combining new technologies with age-old farming techniques, never favoring one too much over the other. Their labor has resulted in a delicious crop of citrus, which they'll happily share with visitors to their foothills farm.
But a visit to Mandarin Hill is about more than just the fruit itself. Visitors are also treated to demonstrations of how the farmers pick each orange by hand to ensure ripeness and flavor. Tom Aguilar, the current head farmer, discusses how he led the charge to graft seedlings onto aging mandarin trees, helping to preserve
plants that first emerged from seeds back in the 1880s. He also points out the photoelectric solar panels that line the property and keep the farm sustainable and energy-efficient. To the family, each tale of hardship overcome or innovation adopted makes the fruit of their labor taste a little sweeter, a feeling they hope their visitors take away with them.