Didar Singh Khalsa
Didar Singh Khalsa and two partners bought the farm in 1981. Â During the week Didar worked washing windows and running restaurants in the Sacramento area and would tend the farm on Saturdays. Â After 9 years of this schedule he finally bought out the other owners. Â Once the farm began to be profitable he moved there full time.
â€œI like formal gardens planted informally. Â Formal gardens alone are like a piece of music all in major keys – thereâ€™s no contrast,â€ says Didar.
â€œTo create a holy place, people get together and bow in reverence. Â That act of reverence is what makes something sacred. You can feel it when you go into a place like a cathedral. Â People have had a devotional attitude about it, and the place keeps that and reverberates it back. It works with a farm, too. Â If you love it and have a reverential attitude toward it and are grateful for what it gives you, ultimately it works better. Things taste better, and ultimately you probably make more money.â€
Chef Canales says “Didar has as high standards as we do. Â He will direct you away from products he feels aren’t exceptional and direct you toward what is…and he is always correct. Â If it is not exceptional he won’t let you buy it. Â We buy a lot of stone fruit, figs, and citrus from Didar.”
April and May are the slowest months. Â Mid-winter is busy along with the high summer months of July and August.
Didar loves trees. Â He especially likes that they are always growing. Â He chooses tree varieties not for early maturity or other market considerations, but for their taste, their color, and their intrigue.
Didarâ€™s crops tend to ripen a week earlier than the same crops on other farms in Northern California. Â This gives him an advantage selling at a higher price. Â Because he has planted older varieties whose fruit colors only when it is truly ripe (unlike modern varieties) it is easier to know exactly when to harvest. Â He says, â€œwhat diversity demands in attention it pays back in vitality.â€
Length of relationship with Oliveto
16 acres near Esparto about 25 miles west of Sacramento
50% citrus. Â The rest is a mix of fruit and nut trees including lemons, oranges, plums, cherries, pears, kumquats, almonds, walnuts, figs, apricots, and persimmons.
CCOF since 1981
90% through Farmersâ€™ Markets
Berkeley Derby Street – Tuesdays
Marin County – Thursdays
Berkeley Downtown – Saturdays