Charles Stearns has been in the hand grown California avocado business for a lifetime, growing up with a family that has perfected the art of commercially raising and nurturing avocados for well over 30 years on their 50 acre foothill farm located between Exeter and Lindsay on the foothill slopes to the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Charles is a Clinical Program Coordinatorand is a diabetes educator and pharmacist with American Health Care, who loves learning and teaching about real foods and nutrition. When his father passed away, he decided to take over the family business and continue the Stearns family legacy of providing superior hand grown California avocados to the Central Valley.
While he sticks to the tried and true methods learned in the family business, Charles enjoys experimenting with different varieties, with the Stearns farms currently raising six different types of avocado:
Sir Prize – A large, pear shaped avocado with dark purple to black skin and creamy green flesh with a nutty taste and high oil texture.
Hass – A large, oval shaped avocado with pebbly, thick skin and pale green flesh with a creamy texture and great taste. This is the leading variety of California avocados and has an excellent shelf life!
Fuerte – A medium to large sized, pear shaped avocado with smooth green skin and creamy, pale flesh with a great taste. This is the original California avocado.
Bacon – A medium sized, oval shaped avocado with smooth, thin green skin and yellow-green flesh with a light taste.
Gwen – A large sized, plump oval shaped avocado with pebbly, thick but pliable green skin and a creamy gold-green flesh and great taste.
Pinkerton – A large sized, long and pear shaped avocado with medium thick green skin with slight pebbling, and creamy pale green flesh and a great taste.
When at the farmers market, Charles encourages people to get hands on education at his booth, letting customers look and feel the produce to learn when an avocado is ripe, or gauge how many days till ripeness occurs. He also takes the time to explain the nuances of flavor in each variety and is eager to answer any questions about the ever popular California avocado!
Charles favorite is the Sir Prize avocado – the creamy flavorful ones – which he like to put on toast with mayonnaise!
In addition to avocados, Stearns Foothill Farms also produces and sells varieties of oranges and lemons which grow on their west and south facing foothill sloped groves. The direction of the slopes and the clay soils on the foothills produce some of the earliest ripened citrus in the Central Valley which are much sweeter than what would be found on the Valley floor.
Charles is a big fan of Farmers Markets and is proud to be an active member in Visalias Farmers Markets. When asked what it is about the Market that appeals to him, Charles explained he loves the family friendly culture, the food loving people, and the inquisitive people who love to learn about food, strive to eat better, and aren’t afraid to ask questions and meet their local farmers!
Stearns Foothill Farms will be at the Visalia Farmers Market till late February / early March 2016.