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FOCUS ON FARMING: H&H Family Farms

A long family tradition for the Holtermanns

H&H Family Farms in Wasco is owned by Tim and Jenny Holtermann, selling the brand they created, Almond Girl. They are fourth-generation almost farmers.

Tim also farms with his father and brother for Holtermann Farms. The Holtermann family started farming in Wasco in 1919. They farmed over 40 different crops, finally transitioning into almonds.

Jenny's family came from Italy to Chico in the early 1900s. She grew up there helping to do whatever needed to be done, from checking irrigation pipes, painting walnut trees to prevent sunburn, rodent management, and odds and ends around the family farm.

Her mother and sister now run that farm, A&J Family Farms.

"Our family has been farming in California for over 100 years. Agriculture is our legacy, and it is our hope the future generations have a farm to take over someday," Jenny said.

Both Tim and Jenny studied at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Both specialized in agriculture business.

During college, they worked at the university farm together.

"I worked with the farmer's market selling produce they grew on the farm, and he helped to grow it, similar to the roles we have today."

Upon graduating, they came to Wasco and married in 2010 to start a farm and family of their own.

"After meeting my husband in college, I made the decision to not move home after graduation as planned and to follow my heart to the Central Valley."

Ten years ago, they launched the Almond Girl brand, which started as a blog.

"It was back when blogging was bigger than social media," she explained.

She said there was a lot of misinformation about agriculture at the time.

"I started it as a way to share about everyday life on our farm. When I had children, I blogged about raising them on the farm. I also shared recipes."

In 2020, they started marketing their farm fresh almonds under the brand.

"We found that there was a need for people looking at how to better connect with their food and more people looking to buy food directly from farmers."

There is an e-commerce website where they sell locally within the community, including at Tin Cup Coffee and Sun Country Flowers. They also sell in Bakersfield at bakeries and small boutique shops.

"We ship all over the nation to over 30 different states in the U.S. just from our house. We have a partnership with a local processor to bag our almonds for us."

They also have different branded Almond Girl merchandise such as t-shirts and hats with farm themes.

They open up their 2-acre homestead to the community, mainly schools, who come to see their pumpkin patch and fruit orchard and learn about farming almonds. They do almond taste-testing and explore bees, harvesting and how things grow.

"It's a fun program, and the kids seem to like it. They are always super engaged and ask lots of questions."

Jenny worked in agriculture sales for five years before expanding into freelance writing and dedicating a career to advocacy, where she has been very active at the local, state and country levels of Farm Bureau.

She serves on committees of the Almond Board of California, and is "devoted" to a career in Kern County Water."

She said there have been many changes in agriculture and hopes to inform local elected officials about the importance of agriculture with her advocacy work.

"Farming is very regulated now. Farmers now spend more time on government fees and documents than farming. The government fees have gone up 500% in the last five years."

Even so, she and her family plan to continue the tradition.

"We are working on the fifth generation."

She encourages schools or other organizations interested in learning more about farming and touring their farm to contact her at [email protected].

 

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