teve Taft, President and CEO of Eco Farms, began growing, packing and selling produce from his family’s farm in the Pauma Valley area in the early 1970’s. His parents were strong advocates of natural farming, using biological fertilizers and avoiding the use of pesticides whenever possible and so were among the very earliest of “organic” avocado and citrus farmers. During the week, Steve would irrigate, hand weed and harvest his crops, then pack them into containers and drive this fruit to Los Angeles to be sold to various wholesale produce marketers.

It was during this time that he met Norman Traner, his business partner, who was also engaged in purchasing fruit from a number of local growers in the Rainbow area of northern San Diego County and taking this fruit to the LA market. Since the two shared the common philosophy of organic, non-chemical growing, they soon joined forces creating Eco Farms Avocado Company in 1972. They chose the name Eco Farms from the phrase “ecological farming” to reflect this philosophy.

After a few years of packing in small sheds in Rainbow and Fallbrook, Steve and Norm purchased some property in Temecula and in 1978 opened the first commercial avocado packinghouse in southern Riverside County.

Also, it was during the mid-70s the two partners began purchasing various properties- first in the Pauma Valley area, then Fallbrook, Bonsall, and Rainbow. Later they bought land in Temecula and finally in the San Joaquin Valley. Today the company owns over 700 acres of avocado and citrus groves throughout California.

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