About 2,400 people packed the Duarte Nursery facilities in Hughson, Calif. on May 2 for an annual event that has grown leaps and bounds since it started as a way to thank customers.
Duarte Nursery celebrated its 15th annual Friends Day with a luncheon and trade show that featured 110 vendors, according to Marketing Manager Lily Penfold.
While Duarte Friends Day has always been an event that includes a lunch and time to gather and socialize, it has grown to include a trade show event and the opportunity to showcase not only the nursery's grape rootstock operation, but rootstock and grafting operations that have since come to include almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cherries, citrus, apple, apricot, peach, plum, prune, olive and now avocados. They sell products to commercial and home growers.
The nursery is also well-known for its Christmas holiday sales of poinsettias.
The nursery was founded by Jim and Anita Duarte in 1989 after Jim revolutionized the viticulture industry years earlier by producing virus-free stock in plastic containers. Jim is also know for commercially propagaging the first UC heat-treated selections of grapevines.
Duarte Nursery is now managed by sons John and Jeff Duarte. John is the company's president and Jeff the vice president and director of operations.
1. Trade Show
Duarte Friends Day included a covered and outdoor trade show featuring 110 vendors.
2. John Duarte
Duarte Nursery President John Duarte, right, talks with one of about 2,400 "friends" who came out for the nursery's annual friends day in Hughson, Calif.
3. Nursery tour
Duarte Friends Day activities included tours of nursery operations.
4. Grape rootstocks
Visiting grape rootstock operations.
6. Commercial greenhouse operations
Commercial greenhouse operations
11. Friends and Family
Duarte Vice President and Director of Operations Jeff Duarte chats with Friends Day attendees while holding his daughter, Coco, on his shoulders.
12. Duarte presentation
Duarte Nursery President Jeff Duarte, left, is presented the first and last page of a legal order by Duarte attorney Anthony Francois of the Pacific Legal Foundation. The document records the denial in federal court of a request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dismiss the lawsuit against them by John Duarte and Duarte Nursery. Duarte Nursery sued the Army Corps over allegations that the agency denied their due process rights when issuing them a cease and desist order on land they were farming in northern California. The case will now be allowed to move to trial in federal court.
13. Jim Duarte
Duarte Nursery founder and patriarch Jim Duarte addresses the lunchtime crowd at the 15th Annual Duarte Friends Day in Hughson, Calif.