Galeazzi Farm Forever Conserved
Under the cool canopy of a grove of mature walnut trees, one can visualize the past and future generations of farmers and families playing and tending to these trees, their branches heavy with bounty. This picture is no truer than on the 250-acre walnut farm owned by the Galeazzi family located near Lockeford, recently conserved with an agricultural conservation easement between the family and Central Valley Farmland Trust.
“This property is a beautiful example of farming, family, conservation, and a legacy realized,” said Bill Martin, executive director for Central Valley Farmland Trust. “We are proud to see this farm protected for future generations and know that the Galeazzi family will remain there as stewards of the land.”
It’s All in the Family
Farm owners, John Galeazzi and his wife of 50 years, Carolyn, have been farming all their lives. John’s family emigrated from Italy to the United States in 1894, settling in Modesto where they began farming a variety of crops. John and Carolyn followed suit and raised their three children on the farm. Their son Tom, and his wife Tawnya, are part owners in the family farm today, and two daughters, Lisa and Julia, are involved as well. Julia and her husband, John Vink, also farm adjacent to the family property.
There are two grandchildren to carry on the legacy to date – Bella, “four and a half” as she says, and little 16-month-old Johnny. “This conservation easement preserves our life-long dedication to farming,” said John Galeazzi. “All my children could see the connection between farming and conservation and we wanted to integrate the conservation part into our business. This easement allowed us to do that.”
“Our future is more certain – we know what we will be doing and we can work toward the best management with that knowledge,” continued Tom Galeazzi.
On the Galeazzi Farm they focus on efficient and economic practices for managing and harvesting their walnuts. They do a multiple shake on the trees and several sweeps to capture nuts and reduce litter on the ground that could become a management challenge later in the year. From soil amending in November after harvest is done, to pruning, grinding brush, managing for pests, and then leaf analysis in June and July, it’s all for August when the nut sizes and the kernel fills.
They begin harvest in late September when they are hauling up to five truck loads at a time. The nuts are hauled to local processors that contract with local and overseas buyers. “The farm is nearly all in walnuts,” said John. “We do our complete harvest and trucking – we are proud of our full-time staff and a return crew for pruning each year. Worker safety is taken very seriously and is of the utmost importance to us. Our staff is like our family too.”
The Resources are Right
Lockeford is in the heart of a prime walnut growing region in California. “The climate, our deep fertile soils, and water make this nearly the best place on earth to grow them,” said John. In addition to the perfect environment, the Galeazzi’s have other vital resources at their fingertips. Their farm advisor and relationships with UC Davis personnel keep farm management on the cutting edge and improve production practices. The easement also preserves the family’s water rights along the river adjacent to the property.
Farming, while not in a building, is a business and must be run in a fashion to sustain itself. But in a business where the land cost is so high protecting what you have could be essential, John Vink said, “This conservation easement offers us security for the family at large, we have built a nice economic block of property with resources that will serve us well into the future.”
While grandkids kiss and love their grandpa who has ensured their future, you can see the pride in his eyes as he takes his family in. “This property carries economic value and peace of mind for our family, our workers, and our future,” said John. His wife echoed his sentiments saying, “We are very happy to know this property will be in our grandchildren’s hands.”
“We are lucky enough to work every day to ensure families like the Galeazzi’s stay on the land producing food close to home,” said Bill Martin. “Their legacy becomes everyone’s legacy when our precious farmlands become a permanent part of the future of California.”