History of Borchard Farms
Borchard Farms was established in 1940 in Southern California by our father Edward Borchard. The family farming operation at that time included raising cattle, growing walnuts, tomatoes and hay. In 1956 our family farm in Southern California was sold in to comedian Bob Hope’s family. The Borchard family moved to the Salinas Valley at that time and continued farming operations.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, while our family continued to raise cattle in the Salinas Valley, we also began to diversify into sugar beets, beans and hay crops, which were the crops of demand at the time. Then in the mid-1960s, our family began to grow artichokes, which became and remains Borchard Farms main crop for production.
In the 1980s, in addition to growing artichokes, Borchard Farms began to focus on growing row crops, such as broccoli, lettuce and cauliflower. However, with all the various livestock and crops grown at Borchard Farms through the years it is the Giant Pumpkins that our family is known for. In the1970s, while traveling through Milpitas, Tom Borchard, Sr. spotted something that caught his eye, “Cow pumpkins.”
Tom was so intrigue with the giant pumpkins he began growing them and competing in pumpkin contests around California. Tom perfected his pumpkin growing practices so well that he won the West Coast Half Moon Bay contest six times, with one of his giant pumpkins winning the International Pumpkin Association (IPA) Weigh-Off competition. Competition member countries included Russia, Canada, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1991 Tom Borchard, Sr. represented the United States in Japan as the international winner of giant pumpkins.
Now it is Tom and Katherine Borchard that hold the annual Borchard Farms pumpkin weigh-off, known as the “California State Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off”. An annual event designed to educate the community about agriculture while also raising funds for “Ag Against Hunger”, an agricultural based non-profit organization that feeds the hungry and the homeless. Now in its 17th year this event is attended by thousands of people annually, and to date has raise over $25,000 for this organization.
Today in addition to growing and row crops, Borchard Farms grows and sales minor crops of pumpkins, gourds and squash, which is made available to the public during the fall months of September and October each year. Opening our family farm to the community allows the public to see firsthand how food comes from field to the fork. This is also the time of year for fun as the Borchard Family opens the farm to private parties, community organizations, and local schools for field trips, which gives children the chance to learn a about agriculture. Children have the opportunity to learn where their food comes from, experience farm animals, and have lots of fun playing in Ghost Town, the Giant Corn Maze, and of course experience the Haunted Barn!!!!