Our History

Learn more about our family and farm

Founded in 1925

Balakian Farms was founded in 1925 by Zadig and Victoria Balakian. They both immigrated to California’s Central Valley during the Armenian Genocide. They planted 40 acres of Thompson grapes in Reedley, CA to produce and sell raisins. *From left to right: Victoria Balakian, Zadig Balakian, Roxy Krikorian and Megerdich Krikorian

"Grandpa John” Balakian

John Balakian was the eldest of six children. As the eldest, he attended school and helped with all of the farm operations. He also raised cows, horses and chickens. When he was not in school, John would sell their farm’s vegetables in town. *John Balakian at Alta Elementary 1929 pictured front row, first on the left

Stella’s Family Roots

Megerdich and Roxy Krikorian immigrated to Watertown, MA during the Armenian Genocide. They had two daughters, Stella and Edna. *Megerdich Krikorian, originally from Istanbul, outside their family home in Watertown, MA

Moving to California

When Stella was 15 years old, the family decided to take a trip to California. After realizing it rarely rained or snowed in California, Stella and her sister Edna convinced their parents to move. They packed up, and settled in California’s Central Valley. *Stella Balakian (left) and Edna Keosheyan (right)

The New Family Farm

John and Stella Balakian got married in 1956 and moved to John’s hometown of Reedley, CA. They built a house on 20 acres, and began farming a variety of fruits and vegetables. *From left to right: John Balakian, Stella Balakian and John’s brothers and sisters - Liz Balakian, Andy Balakian, Mary Balakian, Betty Balakian and Larry Balakian

Summertime Traditions

In summer, the family made weekly trips to farmer’s markets in Northern and Southern California. Stella’s passion for cooking homemade meals meant fond and frequent gatherings at the farm. She used the farm’s seasonal produce and Armenian recipes passed down from her mother, Roxy. *John Balakian with Thompson seedless table grapes at the farm

John & Stella’s Daughters

John and Stella’s two daughters, Ginger and Kathy, grew up on the farm. Both Ginger and Kathy always enjoyed selling at the farmer’s markets, and continue to today. *Megerdich Krikorian, Kathy Balakian, John Balakian, Ginger Balakian and Stella Balakian at the Alemany Farmer’s Market in San Francisco 1968

Something New

In the 1990’s the farm transitioned to organic practices and began growing heirloom tomatoes. At one point, they grew up to 80 varieties in a single season! The majority of produce, including grapes and tree fruit, was sold at San Francisco farmer’s markets. *Kathy Balakian, Stella Balakian and John Balakian at the Corte Madera Farmer’s Market

The Fourth Generation

Ginger Balakian’s daughter, Amber, also grew up on the farm. Like previous generations, life on the farm consisted of playing in the irrigated rows, climbing trees, selling at the farmer’s market, eating produce and much more. *Amber Balakian eating a peach at the farm

A Newfound Appreciation

After graduating college and learning more about sustainable practices, Amber had a new appreciation for her family farm that was now 3,000 miles away. She decided to return home to help manage Balakian Farms. Inspired by grandma Stella's recipes, she began producing products with organic produce from the farm. *From left to right: family members Yokia Fuller, VonDosta Fuller, Amber Balakian and Mattie Robinson at UCSD graduation

Honoring the Past

Amber was determined to combine her appreciation for grandma Stella's homemade, Armenian recipes and the farm's sustainable practices. She seeks to honor the past by creating small-batch healthy and tasty products for family, friends and customers.*Amber Balakian featured with her Organic Blended Heirloom Tomatoes

Celebrating the Future

We choose to continue our family's farming legacy because it is something that we are passionate about. It truly is part of who Balakian Farms is, including our employees. Farming is hard, but we seek to embody the words of an old Armenian proverb that says, "All riches come from the earth". It is our hope this remains true for many generations to come. ~ Balakian Farms



Originally from Boston, John’s wife is known for her cooking and hospitality. At 91 years old, she still packs fruit and manages fresh produce sales at the farm.


John’s first daughter. She transitioned the farm to organic and championed growing new crops, like heirloom tomatoes.


John’s granddaughter. Organic Blended Heirloom Tomato creator. Wants to share her healthy and tasty products with the world, and help the underserved in her community.


Ginger’s husband and former athlete. Whether it is at the farmer’s market or with friends and family, he’s sure to make you laugh.


Benny’s brother, and considered part of the Balakian family. Manages all day-to-day operations. Has been with Balakian Farms for 25+ years.


Angel’s brother, and an integral part of Balakian Farms. Manages field and farmer’s market operations. Has been with Balakian farms for 20+ years.

YolandaProduct Specialist

Eva’s daughter, and is in charge of quality control, production and sales. We love laughing with Yolanda, and she has been an asset to our farm. Has been with Balakian Farms for over a decade.

EvaProduct Specialist

Yolanda’s mother, who oversees quality control and production. At times, you can find her salsa dancing and pack fruit and/or veggies at the same time. Has been with Balakian Farms for over a decade. 

MaryCrop Specialist

Angel’s wife, she is an heirloom tomato expert and an amazing cook. She also assists our farm at the farmer’s market. Has been with Balakian Farms for over a decade.