Stackhouse Orchards with Amelia Stackhouse
For Amelia Stackhouse, almonds, apricots, and farming have surrounded her throughout most of her life. Her great grandfather started the Stackhouse farm with a peach farm, and after her grandfather and great uncle, Don and Rodney Stackhouse, took over, the Stackhouse Orchards name was officially set in stone and ready for another two generations of great-quality family farming.
“We all work there,” Amelia said. “My mom, my aunt, me, and my sister.” The Stackhouses own a combined 300 acres in Northern California, which Amelia said is split between six or seven parcels for the different crops they grow. Stackhouse found success in its almonds, which we are currently selling on our market.
But before Farmers Market on Wheels, Stackhouse Orchards sold at numerous farmers markets not on wheels. Amelia stated that they sell at 40 farmers' markets across the Bay Area, and even sold at Pikes Place in Seattle.
However, a few of the regulars have shut down because of the pandemic. “The main thing was when the farmers' markets shut down, we had to sadly let the fruit fall to the ground and not even pick it,” Amelia said. The loss of sales meant letting their months of hard work rot into the ground — an experience many farmers struggled with during the pandemic.
But with nearly 65 years of farming, the Stackhouses are not keen on losing hope. They got back on their feet and are still producing high-quality fruits and nuts for their loyal customers. “All our core employees have been able to stay,” Amelia said.
Stackhouse Orchards can continue its years of hard work and creativity, and I’m sure glad I can still experience their wonderfully crafted products. As Amelia explained, their products are love childs of Don and Rodney’s differing personalities: Don focuses on efficiency and production, while Rodney is the “creative one” that comes up with flavors and interesting plant hybrids.
For example, the pair came up with a unique “sprouted” almond; the almonds are soaked for 12 hours so the inside sprouts, releasing enzymes that the body can more easily digest and absorb the nutrients from the almond. After they sprout, the almonds are dehydrated to bring back the crunchiness people love — in fact, the crunchiness is even more enhanced with the dehydration.
Amelia owes the two as a defining example of the joys of working in a family-run business: “A benefit for me is having an idea and going to my grandpa, and he comes up with how to make it easier to do, and Rodney gives me advice on how to make it unique.”
“You actually get to act on your ideas instead of going to a boss — you have that freedom,” she said. “It’s just fun getting to work together.”
At the end of the day, Stackhouse Orchards is doing what farmers who care deeply for their produce strive to do: maintain a quality standard. “We have the opportunity to make almost double, but it’s better to make premier produce than cutting corners and trying to save bucks,” Amelia said.
No doubt, living a day in the Stackhouse family would be a day full of family bonding and appreciation for the dedication it takes to grow the best produce they can.