American Farm Family: Proudly growing gorgeous greens in California’s Central Valley for four generations!
Now run by its fourth generation, Ratto Bros. is an expansive lettuce and herb farm in California’s Central Valley region that grows just about “everything in a salad.” America’s Heartland takes us along to visit this week’s American Farm Family.
This is Modesto — home to Ratto Brothers Fresh Produce, a family farm four generations strong — located in California’s Central Valley, where nearly half of all the fruits, vegetables, and nuts produced in the United States are grown. Almost everywhere are tapestries of almond trees in full bloom, and row after row of gorgeous greens. That is where America’s Heartland brings us to meet this week’s American Farm Family.
More than a century since its founding, Ratto Bros. continues to thrive in the fertile crescent of the state’s Central Valley. It is a sprawling operation, growing 35 vegetable and herb varieties on more than 1,500 acres of land. Theirs is a story of a hard-working immigrant family that tamed and cultivated new ground to plant seeds that still thrive more than a century later.
Frank Ratto, president of Ratto Brothers, has deep roots in this land. He has been farming here since he was four years old, learning from his grandfather, founder Antone Ratto. Antone’s father, Giovanni Ratto, emigrated to America from Italy in 1878.
“I always think, what would my father and his brothers and my grandfathers say today about where our business is -- what we’re doing and how we’re doing it?” Frank said. “And what we’re doing today, for my grandfather, would be like going to the moon to him. And that gives me chills, just to talk about it.”
While Ratto Bros. now farms more than a thousand acres near Modesto, the company’s headquarters still remains in Oakland near some of the farm’s original acreage.