My family first settled in the old Wood Colony area, west of Modesto,CA when my Great Grandfather Graybill Wenger came over from Pennsylvania in 1910. Graybill purchased 40 acres of land in 1911 and started milking cows on his own registered Holstein dairy. Graybill was milking 70 cows by hand, more than most dairies in the area. He also started building a house for himself and his new wife, Ellen, w! hich he completed in 1912.
This original house has been a home for 3 different generations of my family and serves as headquarters for Wenger Ranch Inc. Graybill and Ellen had two children, Kenneth (my grandfather) and Katherine. Kenneth grew up milking cows by hand and was eventually able to convince his father to convert more and more land to farming. In the late 1950’s Kenneth started planting walnut orchards on the ranch, and in 2003 the last of the original acreage was planted into walnuts.
In 1980 Kenneth turned the farming operation over to his son Paul (my dad). Paul expanded the farm to include custom spraying, harvesting and walnut hulling. My two brothers and I all returned home to the farm after college, but each of them has since left the operation with my younger brother Luke remaining in farming with his in-laws operation.
Presently, my dad and I farm around 400 acres of primarily walnuts. W! e also have almonds, corn, oats and alfalfa. Additionally our custom harvest operation has continued to grow and we run approximately 2,000 TONS of walnuts through our huller/dehydrator every year.
My wife and I have two children who I hope will have interest in continuing our family farming legacy when they are older.
Wenger Ranch Inc. &
Wood Colony Nut Co.