Recipe Corner: Armenian Summer Salad from Balakian Farms

REEDLEY- Amber Balakian’s wonderful-grandparents ended up hardworking immigrants who fled the Armenian Genocide around a century ago and settled in Reedley, California, a small San Joaquin Valley farming city exactly where they planted vineyards. Balakian Farms was founded in 1925 by Zadig Balakian. His son, John, was the eldest of Zadig’s 6 children. He ongoing the family members business enterprise for a lot of several years introducing tree fruit and other crops alongside the way. In the 1990s, Ginger Balakian, Amber’s mom, transitioned to natural and organic practices, and started increasing heirloom tomatoes.

There are more than 3,000 versions of heirloom tomatoes in active cultivation all around the earth, and more than 15,000 types around the world. The Balakians at this time develop up to 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, with the season peaking in July and August. Heirloom tomatoes have a striking vibrant visual appearance that is beautifully diverse. The Balakians expand organic and natural crops, including peaches, plums, nectarines, pluots (element plum and section apricot in heritage), apricots, lemons, eggplant, Armenian cucumbers, pomegranates, persimmons, summer time squash, and heirloom tomatoes.

The late John Balakian, Amber’s grandfather. Balakian Farms was founded in
1925 by his father, Zadig Balakian

Amber’s vitality and entrepreneurial spirit put together with her reliable farming background led her to launch her personal brand of tomato sauce from the heirloom tomatoes that weren’t rather “perfect” sufficient for refreshing tomato customers. “As a fourth-technology farmer, I established out to generate healthy and tasty products and solutions. Adapting my Grandma Stella’s Armenian recipe handed down by way of generations, we made our very own line of Natural Blended Heirloom Tomatoes. These blended tomatoes are very popular. We’re undergoing a rebranding and will before long be accomplishing some co-packaging. We can source a lot more blended tomatoes online and to a lot more retail shops, and that is definitely exciting for us.”

As a female, Amber used long hrs performing along with her relatives and their personnel (who she considers virtually household) on their 20-acre Reedley farm. While she beloved investing time on the farm, doing the job in agriculture was by no means section of her desires. “I grew up likely to farmers markets (which includes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Sector in San Francisco on Saturdays), and performing on a farm was a important aspect of my lifestyle. Right after graduating higher university, nevertheless, farming was a little something I didn’t take into consideration for a career,” she says.

“I researched economics at UC San Diego, and went to Harvard for my master’s degree in management and functions,” she suggests. “Going to college on the East Coast, Amber was 1 of the handful of learners from California, and even rarer, she grew up on a household farm. “Classmates requested about my family’s farm, and I started thinking of it additional as a business enterprise, and puzzled how I could aid my household with my organization history.”

As a substitute of a company career, Amber returned to California to see how she could lead to her family’s legacy. She remembered how her Grandma Stella cooked lunch each individual day in her possess home for the farm’s staff — numerous of whom experienced labored for the relatives for around 20 years. This sense of devotion and service gave Amber the belief that doing work alongside one another on a farm results in invaluable associations that past a life time. “I’m a fourth-generation farmer, my good grandparents struggled and came to The usa to escape the Armenian Genocide, and started a new existence in Reedley. I’m pretty proud of their devotion to their relatives and their farm all these yrs.”