Langdon Day Farms Bears Local Fruit

Langdon Day Farms Bears Local Fruit

by Elizabeth Archer

It’s hard to believe that in a county dominated by acres of grape vines and pear orchards, fresh local fruit is a challenge to come by. But all of those grapes are turned into wine, and almost all of the pears are wholesaled out of county. Enter Langdon Day Farms in Potter Valley. Owners John and Grace March are trying to change the local fruit scene, one juicy peach at a time. “It sounds so simple,” says Grace, “but we just want to provide good, local fruit for our community.”

John is a fifth generation Potter Valley native, and participated in 4-H and FFA growing up. Grace was raised in Ukiah, and the two wed in 2014. Grace works for Redwood Community Services, and John runs the farm full time. Together they have a young daughter, Ansley, who may potentially be the sixth generation March to farm in Potter Valley. “My dad has worked in vineyards for a long time so I grew up in the agricultural community,” says Grace. “I never thought I would marry into it, but it means a lot to be part of something that has so much history.”

The name Langdon Day Farms comes from a combination of John’s grandfather’s middle name and his grandmother’s maiden name. The Days came to Potter Valley in the late 1800s, and the Marches came in 1912. Both families started farming from day one. The land was originally a dairy during Potter Valley’s dairy heyday in the 1950s. From there the land was planted in grapes, then pears, and was finally converted back to grapes.

 In addition to the grapes he farmed, John’s grandfather started planting peach trees 25 years ago. Some of those trees still bear fruit. “My grandfather taught me everything I know about peaches,” says John. The trees are managed with a mix of organic and conventional approaches. According to John, “Peaches are susceptible to everything, so you often have to take conventional steps if you want to save the fruit.”

In all, Langdon Day Farms manages 80 peach trees across two orchards. Twelve varietals of heirloom freestone peaches produce fruit from early July to late September, and most of those peaches are sold via word of mouth. Says John, “When my grandfather passed in 2012, I inherited his list of customers, so a lot of people have been buying our peaches year after year.” As they increase production, John and Grace hope to work with the MendoLake Food Hub to distribute some of the fruit. After attending a recent Farmers Convergence—an annual event put on by North Coast Opportunities, which also runs the Food Hub—John is especially excited about the farm-to-school possibilities and hopes to get their fruit into local schools.

In their short tenure as Langdon Day Farms, John and Grace have focused on pruning old trees and revamping the orchard with new plantings. They installed cold storage in November which will enable them to expand to apple production, and they are also thinking about experimenting with pluots, Asian pears, and kiwi. Down the road, they may convert the old dairy barn to an event space. For now, they’re happy to increase fruit production and share the bounty with their county. “Nurturing something from a flower all the way to a massive, juicy fruit is exciting,” says John. “And it’s fun watching other people get excited about the fruit we grow.”

Recipe: Grilled Peaches (a March family favorite)


An armful of ripe but firm peaches

1/2 stick salted butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg


1. Heat grill to medium high (about 350 degrees)

2. Cut peaches in half and remove the pits

3. Whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and nutmeg

4. Brush the cut side of each peach with butter mixture

5. Grill, flesh down, for 4-5 minutes until slightly charred and soft

6. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or a roasted marshmallow in the center