Jane Criswell of Mallard Lake Ranch

Growing Premium Kiwifruit on California's Central Coast

Jane Criswell of Mallard Lake Ranch
Rachel Hommel

Name: Jane Criswell

Farm: Mallard Lake Ranch

Location: PO Box 973, Nipomo, California 93444

What They Grow: The ranch currently produces over 65,000 pounds of kiwifruit each season, while also featuring Zutano avocados and other seasonal produce.

Where to Buy: Farmers markets including Tuesday in downtown Santa Barbara, Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara, and Sunday in Goleta. The ranch’s tasty kiwifruit can also be purchased at Tri-County Produce and Happy Harry’s Produce in Goleta.

In Season Now: Sweet and juicy kiwifruit, with harvest starting in mid-November and continuing throughout the winter season.

Their Story: Since 1978, Mallard Lake Ranch has been a successful kiwifruit vineyard. Taking over the business in 1988, the Criswells have enjoyed the “fruit” of their labor.

“It’s nice to see the same people year after year,” said Jane Criswell. “We’ve been told our kiwis taste sweeter, less acidic, and simply have better flavor.”

Practicing sustainable farming, Mallard Lake Ranch does not use any pesticides or herbicides, using organic fertilizer whenever possible. Furthermore, the Criswells bring in nature’s best pollinator: the honey bee.

“We bring in our own honeybees to help pollinate,” said Criswell. “While kiwifruit may not be as ‘tasty’ or appealing to the bees as other fruit, they do a great job!”

Working alongside schools and cafeterias, the Criswells have managed to bring this power fruit into Central Coast schools. Rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, the kiwifruit has become a popular treat for many kids.

“The kids love them and the schools have been so supportive,” said Criswell. “It’s great to see children enjoying a nutrient-rich treat.”


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