Family farming is a tradition for the White family as they are 4th and 5th generation grain and cattle ranchers in the Paso Robles, California area.
After living in Ireland for 300 years, our first White descendent in North America (George Henry White) migrated to New Brunswick, Canada in 1860. In Canada, he was dairy farmer and a well known cobbler. By the time his children were grown, however, available land and jobs in Canada were scarce, so several of the children decided to migrate to the United States. The opportunities were better, and the United States had initiated the Homestead Act which provided free land if certain improvements were made.
In 1883, his oldest son, (Richard), was the first White to arrive in California, where he homesteaded 160 acres in the McMillan Canyon area, about 25 miles from Paso Robles and behind where our olive orchard now stands. Things went well and in 1888 his parents and brother, (George Alexander), joined him. Arriving in the fall of the year when it was very, very dry, they were afraid the area would not be suitable for farming, so they decided to go to north where there would be more water. They loaded the wagon and were headed for the train station when it began raining, the first of a severe series of storms that washed out all the railroad bridges along the California coast, stranding them in Paso Robles and making northern travel difficult at best. This caused them to rethink their plan and they decided to go back to McMillan Canyon and buy the neighboring property of 360 acres next to their son, Richard. There George Henry raised grain and cattle.
When the youngest son, (George Alexander), was grown, he married a young woman from the neighboring Spring Ranch named Emily Gates. The couple moved to San Luis Obispo (about 50 miles away) where they had a grocery store on Broad Street. When his dad, (George Henry), died, George Alexander returned to take over the ranch. There they raised their three children, (George Sidney, Richard, and Marion), who when grown stayed on the ranch and raised their families as did most of the next generation.
George Ronald (our Ron), was the son of George Sidney and Eleanor Bickell. He married Priscilla Messineo and they had two children, George Andrew and Julie. Over the years George Sidney, Marion and their families bought more neighboring land and also leased other ranches, eventually resulting in the White Ranch Company, which farmed grain and cattle on 43,000 acres. (Brother Richard sold out in 1964 and moved to Oregon to ranch there) Today, Marion’s children and grandchildren still run the White Ranch Company.
In 1998, our Ron retired from the White Ranch Company. We planted our first batch of olive trees so that Ron would have something to do in retirement. One very hot 100 degree plus day our family and friends planted our first trees in very hard, dry dirt – a day no one who was there will ever forget! We got it done however, and we have grown from there. Each year we have planted more trees, and high quality, naturally grown, estate-cold-pressed, 100% extra virgin olive oil followed.