Family Farming with Purpose
Together Peter, his brother Steve, and mom Susie Johnson, run the Johnson Family Ranch. The fifth generation Johnson family is tilling the same land their great great grandfather settled in the 1880s along the upper banks of the Russian River in California’s Ukiah Valley.
Peter, Steve and Susie personally oversee every facet of the farming and packing operation. The Johnson family specializes in growing wine grapes and mountain pears, but at one time the farm also produced hops, prunes, alfalfa, cattle and was even home to a dairy operation.
Peter studied pomology and ag business at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo because he always knew he wanted to contribute to the family business.
“Our philosophy about business is that it is a family business. We try to think of our family when we make decisions and think of long term outcomes.”
Peter and his wife, Adriana, live with their two kids in the same house that Peter’s grandparents raised their children in. His brother, sister in-law and two nephews live just across the street. Peter loves working outdoors and appreciates not having to commute to work, but he is most excited to create a future for his kids who are growing up on the ranch. His eight year old daughter and four year old son wake up before school and run outside to help their dad in the orchard with shovel and hoe in hand. Their favorite farm task is hanging bird houses and owl boxes.
The Johnson family does all they can to protect the land for their children and their children’s children. The Johnson Family Ranch is certified as a Fish Friendly Farm, which means they implement farming practices that are safe for the land and rivers where they live and operate. Peter notes that this program helps preserve the land and it shares the story of sustainable farming. In addition, the volunteer inspection process used to verify the ranch is farming in a fish friendly way helps to connect farmers and government. “That way, we are all working together to protect the environment.”