When Hooverville Orchards first started, the Hoovers took their fruit to the Placerville Fruit Growers Association for packing and shipping, like most other growers in the county.
“But we were only making 5-7 cents a pound that way, so we looked for a way to sell directly to the consumer like Apple Hill,” says Chris. “We were too far away from the Apple Hill growers to be part of them and we couldn’t put signs up on a state highway to let people know where we were, so we got together with about 10 growers from this area and formed the El Dorado Farm Trails. Now the Farm Trails has expanded to include the whole county and it helps all the farms to get the word out.”
Hoover was instrumental in getting the El Dorado County Right to Farm Ordinance passed, expanding the agricultural rights of farmers and allowing for noise, dust and chemical sprays related to agriculture.
“The last two years have been really hard,” said Hoover. “Generally you lose one crop of some sort each year due to Mother Nature, but to have every crop hit for two years in a row was tough.” The 2014 Cherry crop was non-existent…the entire cherry crop yielded only about 5 cherries!
This year, Hoover hopes in having huge, beautiful fruit unmarked by hail or freezes. “We are in what’s called the banana belt here — we’re in the warmest site in the county,” said Hoover. “The winds are warm and we have hot days and cool nights.” This combination makes all El Dorado County fruit higher in sugar content and firmer in texture than valley grown fruit and Hoover says people are willing to pay premium prices for mountain grown fruit.