In 2003 Eric and Suzanne Wunsch decided that they wanted to move their family of five kids out to a country lifestyle. After searching for nearly a year, they found a derelict nursery stock operation in the southeastern corner of Tehama County, California.
Though most of the nursery stock was either overgrown or dead, the Wunsch's found the property to be unique and with much potential. This part of Tehama County would be perfect for the Wunsch's future farming operation.
As a chiropractor and health conscious individual, Eric saw the scientific research efforts that were being invested into the positive health effects of anti-oxidant rich fruits. Eric knew that pomegranates would soon be in high demand. He also knew that the pomegranate tree would be well suited to the hot, dry climate of this part of California.
Immediately after taking possession of the property in August of 2004, the Wunsch family cleared most of the old nursery stock, dug into the red clay earth and planted their first trial acre of Wonderful variety pomegranates. Hillside Orchards were born.
Tree planting and cultural practices, at Hillside, are always geared toward optimal tree health and fruit nutritional value. Impact on the land is always kept to a minimum. Low impact farming methods encourage native flora and fauna and at the same time keep the property healthy for the Wunsch family to work and occupy.
The orchards were planted to allow the native oaks to remain healthy and viable as raptor roosting and nesting habitat. One of the trees, "Big Oak" is likely over 400 years old. With these many roosts dotting the property, Hillside Orchards has little trouble with out of balance rodent populations. Orchard tree row weed control is by hand, and orchard lane mowing is timed to maximize native wildflower bloom and pollination. Synthetic herbicides and pesticides are not used.