1931 photo of Joseph Mariani and his immigrant family just before embarking on their journey to settle in California
The Mariani family has deep roots in the Santa Clara Valley. Joseph Mariani emigrated from Europe and settled here in the early 1930’s. Joseph, a long time vineyardist, was keenly aware of the importance of the site to growing quality fruit, and in 1957 found and purchased the present orchard location, a sunny south-facing slope with well drained alluvial soil, free of spring frosts, with ample water for irrigation. Here, in this warm coastal valley, tempered by the cooling influence of the Pacific, he and his family set out to grow some of the finest fruit in a region already known for the quality of its agricultural products.
In the beginning, apricots and prunes were grown, but cherries were soon added, followed by peaches, nectarines and market plums. Other fruits were added by the artisanal fruit grower in the family, Andy, who is continuing his father’s tradition of growing fruits of distinction including heirloom and specialty varieties. One notable food writer, who has visited both our little orchard and the tiny vineyard in France known for its rare and great vintage, has acclaimed our orchard the Chateau Petrus of stone fruit.
Andy Mariani, educated in both horticultural and behavioral sciences, continues the family tradition of growing sweet cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums, but he also has a reputation as a highly innovative orchardist who utilizes some of the newest agricultural research to develop better farming techniques. As a member of the California Cherry Advisory Board’s research committee, he has helped initiate research on cherry growing.
Another of Andy’s interests is the maintaining of one of the largest collections of stone fruit varieties on the west coast, and during the summer months he personally hosts fruit tastings and tours. Andy is a noted fruit expert for the California Rare Fruit Grower’s organization. He’s passionate about what he does—often teaching classes of Master Gardeners (Santa Clara County) and horticulture students at the local high school as well as gardening forums on the internet. Andy is a contributing writer to the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink in America. He has also authored a book on fruit varieties, written many articles, and lectures on fruit and fruit culture.