Stay the night in a peach orchard?

May 24, 2011

Seeing the milky way clear and bright in the night sky wasn't anything special to Dinuba peach growers Nori and Mike Naylor, but they noticed that it was a simple treat enjoyed by visitors to their new farm stay in the organic orchard. So Nori is thinking about mentioning the stars on Twitter, or Facebook, or on her blog perhaps.

Mike Naylor has been growing peaches organically since 1984 on 95 acres he took over from his father. He sees a huge disconnect between people who grow food and the majority of people who no longer know anyone who farms or ranches.

Gutierrez & Naylor with peaches
Gutierrez & Naylor with peaches.
And he also sees that many of these people want to connect to the farm and want their children to have that connection. Since the Naylors were not using the four bedrooms in their ranch house, they decided to share their home with visitors who want to experience a little bit of life in the orchard. Naylor's Organic Family Farm Stay opened to the public in February this year.

A farm stay is overnight lodging offered by working farmers or ranchers in their own home to a few guests at a time. A state law passed in 1990 allows this in California without requiring the host farmers to have a restaurant-style kitchen in order to serve meals to their guests. Tulare County has a lot of farms, but the Naylors might be the first farm stay in the county. They were happy to be a test case as county staff figured out the rules and regulations, permits needed and fees to charge for this new business.

Visitors have started arriving; an organic pest control guy from Florida, a compost salesman from Washington, missionaries from their church, a doctor from Massachusetts who was working at a clinic in Visalia, a couple from Hanford looking for an overnight getaway, a business acquaintance with his family, and others. Guests enjoy the peace and quiet, the night sky, and a homemade breakfast. They walk the orchard with Naylor and learn a little about the art of growing organic peaches and nectarines, and they get to pick a few of their own if they want.

field packing

Nori Naylor is in charge of telling the world about the peach farm, and inviting visitors. Since Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks are only an hour away, she hopes that some people will stop by on their way to the parks. She is working with the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote the farm stay and offer group tours of the farm, and exchanges brochures with local restaurants and shops.

The Naylor's small farm has a worldwide presence on the internet. Listings on and have brought inquiries from international travellers. Nori maintains the website and spends a half hour every day keeping up two Facebook pages; one for the farm and one for the farm stay, as well as sharing on Twitter. Naylors Organic Farm also lists on a new site set up by Top 10 Produce, using a new QR code that people can scan with their smartphones to link to the farm location, website, Facebook page and, coming soon, videos of the farm.

Naylor Farms shelftalker with QR code
Naylor Organics traceable shelftalker business card templates from Zazzle-2
Mike and Nori Naylor are pioneering new ways to share their good life with others, because they believe that these connections are as important as the fruit they grow and sell. Mike enjoys showing visitors how to tell if a peach is ripe enough to pick and letting them watch the field-packing of the fruit. He explains how the picking crew will pick each tree five times, to make sure that each fruit is not picked until it reaches the peak of flavor. He will explain organic farming methods and also how he now stickers each peach with a bar code for retail and distributor customers. Of course, some visitors just like to relax and sit in the shade. And that's just fine with the the Naylors.

By Penny Leff
Author - Agritourism Coordinator/Public Education Specialist