The Dutton family's farming heritage goes back to the 19th century. In 1881 Warren Dutton purchased the family's first 200 acres in Santa Rosa. Joined by his brother Reed, the Dutton’s planted their property to the best varieties of French prunes, a hot commodity at the time.
For many years the family business prospered on prunes, with forays into pears and hops. Warren Dutton Jr., great-grandson of Reed Dutton, grew up picking prunes and hops on the farm. In 1964, young Warren and his new wife Gail bought their first 35 acres west of the town of Graton. Their original family home is now the current Dutton Ranch offices.
In the early days, most people knew the Duttons for their fruit stand in Santa Rosa, on Sebastopol Road just west of Stony Point Road. Unable to sell their fruit through normal distribution channels, Gail and young sons Joe and Steve peddled pears, prunes, apples, dried fruit and gift packs to passing motorists. They created a large mailing list, a novelty at the time, to keep their customers up to date on new developments. At the same time, Warren had the foresight to plant wine grapes, just prior to the downturn in the apple industry.