2011 Citrus Forcast

Here’s last year’s citrus tasting at Churchill Orchards:

We contacted Jim Churchill of Churchill Orchards in Ojai, CA to find out how this year’s citrus crop is shaping up. Here’s what he had to say:

The Seedless Kishus have been extraordinarily slow to develop sugar this season, and we’ve been holding off on harvesting til they get sweeter. We’re hoping to start picking for wholesale the week of January 10 and for mail-order the week of January 17.

At this stage of the game it’s hard to predict when the Page Tangors will be ready, but sometime in February seems safe. And Ojai Pixies — for us, mid-March is usually the earliest. The season for Ojai Pixies in general starts before we’re ready at Churchill Orchard — growers in the west end of the Valley, in the Ventura River drainage, get warm down-valley mountain breezes and their fruit gets ripe at least two weeks before ours. So Ojai Pixies will be available around the beginning of March, just not ours and not organically grown Ojai Pixies.

The biggest news is the arrival of the Asian Citrus Psyllid, an insect which vectors a disease called Huang Long Bing (HLB), or Citrus Greening Disease. HLB is fatal to trees, there is no cure, and possibly worst of all if a tree has the disease, it doesn’t show for two-three years during which time the psyllid can be spreading it to other trees. So HLB is what you call an existential threat; it’s all over Mexico (as well as Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and many other states) and will surely arrive within a few years, if it isn’t already here undetected. There have been two recent finds of Asian Citrus Psyllids in Ventura County, which has triggered the imposition of a quarantine. The practical effect of the quarantine for now is that we cannot ship any leaf-and-stem fruit out of the quarantine area, as the psyllids live on the leaves. The more dire possibility, however, is that, if a psyllid were to be found on or near our place, it might trigger mandatory pesticide applications which in turn would threaten our ability to farm organically, and hence our ability to farm at all.

Life of a farmer. O well.

Thank you for your interest in our comings and goings. Happy New Year.


2017-09-12T15:48:29-07:00January 7th, 2011|Churchill Orchard|0 Comments

From the Field – Churchill Orchard Spring Tangerine Tasting

Churchill Orchard is out in the East End of the Ojai Valley where the fruit gets ripe a little later — Jim and Lisa usually spend the month of March tasting and re-tasting their spring tangerine varieties.

Churchill Orchard proprietors Jim Churchill (tasting) and Lisa Brenneis (shooting video and tasting).


2017-09-12T15:49:08-07:00March 17th, 2009|Churchill Orchard, Farmers|0 Comments

Churchill Orchard – Profile

Established 1980


Jim Churchill and Lisa Brenneis

Jim moved to Ojai in 1956 when he was 9 years old. The family moved back to LA in 1961 but kept a house in Ojai where they spent weekends. In 1972 Jim’s father bought 40 acres, which became Churchill Orchard. Originally the orchard was all avocados. Although Jim has grown comfortable with calling himself a farmer, he initially came back to work at the orchard because it was one of the few ways he could live in Ojai.

“I love tangerines, I love turning people on to the experience of really good fruit, and I feel like the luckiest man in the world to be working for myself.”


Both avocado and citrus have a large ripeness window compared to other fruit. This way fruit can be picked for a number of months (January – May) instead of only once.



Foremost Jim grows for taste. Weed control is far and away the greatest time requirement. He does lots of mulching to build soil and get control of weeds. He works hard to create a healthy, living web of microbial life in the soil so it can feed the trees. He enjoys engaging with customers and feels that he learns something from everyone he comes into contact with.

Length of relationship with Oliveto

several years


17 acres in the Ojai Valley of Southern California


Citrus: Pixies, Pages, Satsumas, Encores, Seedless Kishus, and Gold Nuggets. Secondary crops: Avocados, Chandler pummelos, Oro Blancos, cocktail grapefruit, Meyer lemons, Buddha Hand citron, limes

Organizations / Certification

CCOF since 2007


Monterey Market, Berkeley

Farmers’ markets

Ojai – Sundays



2017-09-12T15:49:14-07:00February 6th, 2009|Churchill Orchard, Farmers|0 Comments
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