Coco Ranch

Share this post

Coco Ranch in Davis, California is a labor of love for the House Family. Jennifer and Greg House met at the University of California Davis where they were both studying agriculture. Their certified organic farm grows apples, cherries, apricots, peaches, and other delights such as flowers and tomatoes.

Greg named his favorite tomato “Coco's Little Sweet Pear” for Jennifer, who goes by the nickname “Coco.” Greg developed this variety especially for the sunny and hot location of the 40-acre farm on the fertile banks of the Putah Creek in Solano County, located between Davis and Winters, CA. A family-heirloom tomato of the Italian plum-type, it has all the characteristics he values: high solids, high sugar, high acid, high lycopene, with a superior deep rich true-tomato flavor. Coco says CLSP is “a true multi-purpose tomato, its exceptionally high solids make for a hearty tomato experience, quick preparation, and a stability that chefs appreciate. It excels sliced or quickly sautéed.”

A long-time organic farmer who is particularly fond of growing and eating apples and tomatoes, Greg was involved in the evolution of the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), the creation of California’s state organic standards, and the federal USDA’s National Organic Program. He was instrumental in developing a standard protocol for growing apples organically.

Greg met Coco in pomology class at the UC Davis and, she says, wooed her successfully with his fine cooking. After two decades of leasing farmland, Greg and Coco were finally able to purchase their own farm in 1996. Greg and Henry, their son, named the farm Coco Ranch, because, as Greg says, “you can't grow good fruit without honoring the feminine.”

In 2007, Jennifer started “Ethnobotanical Traditions,” a plant study group that seeks to explore the relationships between people, food, medicine, and the land. This is just one of many projects the couple oversees, including a farm management business that helps small farms convert to organic methods and working with towns to preserve agricultural land.

As a family farm, the Houses are on the front line on global warming. They say that over the years they have seen a shift in weather patterns that they now believe is permanent. They have experienced “many weather severities, from excessive spring rain that prevented pollination and caused fungal diseases we have never before encountered, to excessive summer heat that cooked apples on the tree, to unseasonal gale-force winds that blew immature fruit off the tree,” they write on their website. We have come to the point that we feel the weather is no longer dependable. We are expecting severe weather anomalies from now on, and suggest you do too.”

They are also concerned at the loss of farming as a vocation and where the next generation will come from. “The knowledge of what to do in farming and when to do it is dying out at a very difficult time for humanity,” they note. “It is time to really think about what our culture expects farmers to do to provide us with food—sort, cull, deliver, distribute, box, store, process, promote, educate, entertain. And it is time to think about which of these things you can do for yourself, for others, and for the farmer. For if we cannot provide a culture that sustains farmers, then farms are not sustainable as providers of food. And what will we eat?”


Here are some Apple Storage Tips from Coco Ranch.


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent The FruitLife articles:

How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018
Gifts for all the fruit lovers on your list
November 30, 2017
Fruit in the office brings joy, health, and energy
September 28, 2017
Sonoma County rallies to rescue its heirloom apple
August 3, 2017
Profiles of the men and women of the fruit world
August 24, 2016
Family and sustainability are core values at Frecon Farms
July 27, 2016
How to help save the endangered Gravenstein apple
July 27, 2016

More recent articles:

How to make vegetarian sushi at home
August 7, 2018
Massage for migraines
August 2, 2018
Free online professional skills development can produce (big B) Benefits
July 31, 2018
Enjoy this prized Sonoma County apple—and help support the farmers who grow it
July 26, 2018
Simple ways to keep your skin safe
July 17, 2018
Sink your teeth into summer stone fruit
July 10, 2018
Everything you need to stay safe from ticks
July 5, 2018
Zero Balancing may be the best bodywork you’ve never heard of
July 3, 2018
Why bottle filling stations are better than bottled water
July 3, 2018
The dangers of presenteeism
June 26, 2018

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.