Olsen Organic Farm
Ken Olsen grew up south of Watsonville, CA on what he calls a mini-farm. He worked along side his Danish father tending chickens, pigs, rabbits, and calves. He also helped with maintaining a huge productive garden. His family was largely self-sufficient in terms of food when he was a boy.
As an adult, he worked in the construction business for many years before deciding to try his hand at farming as a career. He started his 20 – acre orchard seventeen years ago in Lindsay, CA, just at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Ken’s main crops are navel oranges and clementines. He also grows blood oranges, and a small amount of avocados.
As a citrus grower, his harvest season runs from late November through April. During harvest he works with an 8 person crew. He keeps four people on for pruning, and handles all the irrigation and mowing
himself during summer months.
Ken started farming organically about 12 years ago. He says a deep respect for nature and God’s creation was the impetus to transition to
organic. In his quest for becoming a steward of the land, he has
developed a nutrient and pest management system akin to ours at FHF. He tells us that the soil food web is what sustains his farm. He uses compost for nutrients and has planted many varieties of nitrogen fixing and soil aerating cover crops such as vetch, clover, and white oats in between his orchard rows. He mows these down and leaves them in the rows as a green mulch as we do. He also encourages beneficial insects with habitat planting, 5 acres in total.
Ken’s greatest satisfaction is bringing in a bountiful harvest. The beauty of the farm is an ever present inspiration to him and he calls the farm his personal paradise.