My great-grandfather, an immigrant from Armenia, first planted a vineyard in Reedley over 80 years ago. In 1999, we began planting heirloom tomatoes in an effort to expand our product line and to try something new: Share these unique flavors everywhere!
While I was away at school, I discovered a fondness and comfort that came in a delectable jar of my Grandma Stella’s Blended Tomatoes. It was an easy, healthy way to bring the flavor of our farm to my kitchen over 3,000 miles away. This was the concept behind the creation of my line of Organic Blended Heirloom Tomatoes. I wanted each sauce to embody a distinct flavor, smell and texture that is reminiscent of my family farm. It is a simple way to create fresh, organic, homemade meals.
Upon my return home from college, I visited Haiti in 2010 shortly after the earthquake. I left with a keen love for the country’s people and culture. I also left with a heightened realization pertaining to the magnitude of poverty and lack of basic necessities like food, shelter and water. Back at our farm, I felt unsettled as I watched large bins of blemished tomatoes being thrown out. These were rejected by grocers because of a mark or imperfection, yet perfectly edible and usable. The dilemma rested in the misconception that even organic produce should remain in inaudible perfection on retail displays. I was determined to find a way to create value from the non valued, and so, I set out to create something beautiful, unique and delicious in developing my line of Organic Blended Heirloom Tomatoes.
Creativity has been one of the key ingredients in sustaining Balakian Farms. As a fourth generation farmer, I am committed to continuing our fusion of family values, innovation and tradition. Our goal is to reach beyond the short-term to create a sustainable, and, healthy internal and external environment that fosters ongoing learning, communication and trust. Tradition serves as our foundation, and extends throughout all our channels of distribution, big and small.
However, we cannot do it alone. Our employees are our most important asset in our business. Together we are aiding in the creation of a roadmap that will meet the needs of populations nationwide. Balakian Farms has developed a reputation for letting our produce-products-speak for itself, while our voice is heard regarding accountability, integrity and providing the opportunities for growth in our community and around the world.
As part of an initiative to provide nourishment to communities worldwide, a portion of the profits from my Organic Blended Heirloom Tomatoes will be donated to a non profit organization whose aim is to help alleviate poverty through food, shelter, education, clothing and/or other basic need. Each year we select a new organization to partner with, and generate sufficient resources to make an impact in the lives of both children and adults. We hope to grow this program to include numerous partners throughout the year. Bringing restoration, compassion and resources to the underserved is the embodiment character that we all strive for. In 2017 we are partnering with the Children of Armenia Fund. If you would like more information please visit their website or contact me.