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As the epicenter of San Diego County’s agricultural history, Escondido’s fertile hills and valleys are a significant economic contributor to the region – making up 19% of the County's agricultural production. While the city’s agricultural roots remain strong, farms, growers, and producers are evolving to adopt sustainable, efficient strategies to combat shrinking resources. Thankfully, Escondido is home to numerous AgTech companies helping the region operate in our diverse ecosystem. From traditional to tech, here’s how Escondido’s agriculture companies are adapting to the challenges of modern consumerism.
Grangetto’s Farm & Garden Supply
Since 1952, Grangetto’s Farm & Garden Supply has been the go-to resource for growers, landscapers, and homeowners in Escondido. Selling a variety of products, from farm hardware to fertilizers, Grangetto’s mission is to help educate and inspire people at levels of their farm or garden experience. In addition to the storefront, Grangetto’s offers trainings and workshops and commercial services for large scale local growers, such as Henry Avocado Corporation.
After 71 years in business, the leaders at Grangetto’s know that staying ahead of change is vital to their business, especially in agriculture. The store uses point-of-sale, inventory management, and account software to ensure they are always stocked for the farm community. Relying on business software solutions allows brothers Eddie and Kevin Grangetto to focus on addressing some of the pressing challenges facing farmers and growers.
“The escalating price of water and its limited availability in California is one of the biggest challenges facing our local growers and farmers,” said Kevin Grangetto, owner of Grangetto's Farm & Garden Supply. “We rely on our decades in business to manage our water resources, using data loggers, soil moisture monitoring equipment, and more. We help our customers determine when to irrigate, for how long, and best practices to minimize erosion.”
Grangetto’s also works with local agriculture organizations – University of California Cooperative Extension and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service – to help provide the latest technology to the farming community.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the future, but are actively working to get us through labor limitations, an aging workforce, and price drops on produce,” shared Grangetto. “Farmers markets and exposure to the local farming community is critical to any future growth as well as encouraging and educating our customers about how they can grow their own fruits and vegetables.”
The city’s focus on agriculture development and investment in the incubator has also been helpful, shared Grangetto. “We appreciate the City of Escondido’s leaders and economic development team who have backed the agriculture community and advocated for our growth.”
Henry Avocado Corporation
Founded nearly 100 years ago, Escondido-based Henry Avocado was one of the first growers to plant avocados in San Diego County. Avocados remain the largest local crop and despite the pressures facing growers today, continues to thrive and expand. Five years ago, the company moved into a 50,000-square-foot, two-story facility, which is 20% larger than their previous site, yet remaining in Escondido. The new site has allowed Henry Avocado to implement the latest processing, refrigeration, and forced-air ripening technology in the industry.
The new site has helped Henry Avocado sustain their evolving roles. While the company originally started out as a grower, Henry Avocado has expanded to harvesting avocados from its groves and distributing them to customers throughout Southern California. The steady avocado demand in California has allowed Henry Avocado to expand to other states as well. The company opened its Charlotte, North Carolina facility in 2017, allowing them to distribute California-grown avocados to the East Coast.
“We have chosen to remain in Escondido because it is a great place for our co-workers and their families to live, it has excellent transportation access, and because city leaders proactively recognize the value of agriculture and related services to Escondido’s economy, residents, and quality of life”, said Phil Henry, President of Henry Avocado.
Grangetto’s and Henry Avocado are just two of the many agricultural companies leading change in Escondido and beyond. There’s no better way to learn more about their work and the other exciting opportunities in agriculture and AgTech than at the upcoming AgTech Gathering on August 17th. The Gathering brings together farmers, technologists, community leaders, engineers, and more to enjoy a jam-packed agenda that focuses on food system problems and innovative solutions. Secure your ticket here.