Today, Westside growers Bill Jones and his nephew Darcy Villere of J&J Farms, Firebaugh, Calif. focus on survival tactics through new permanent crop plantings to improve the family farm and offset the effects of zero percent surface water allocations this drought year in the Westlands Water District.
The first phase of permanent crop development was pomegranates (Wonderful and Sweetheart varieties) planted from 2008-2012. The second phase last year included 75 acres of Rubired wine grapes planted on Villere’s watch as the farm’s director of planning and research.
This spring, 75 acre blocks of Chardonnay wine grapes were added to the permanent crop mix, plus about 800 acres of Nonpareil and Wood Colony almonds and 140 acres of Golden Hills- and Randy-variety pistachios.
Jones is a second-generation grower and a former California politician.