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Katicich Ranch

Peter Katicich

Peter Katicich immigrated from Croatia to America in 1905, to better his chances for a brighter future. Upon arrival to the U.S. he obtained a job on the docks in New York City, where he handled cargo and baggage for eight months, before saving up enough funds to head west. Hearing of the gold fields in the Alaskan Territory, he traveled there where he spent a year mining, with some success, but little opportunity to trade the gold for a fair price.

 

Knowing of a large amount of fellow Croatian immigrants in California, Peter made his way to Saratoga, into the prune orchards of California’s Santa Clara Valley. He shared a cabin with other single Croatian men while he worked on the local prune farms picking and pruning in the orchard for many years. This soon led him to become partners with another gentleman, and together they would buy crops from farmers, then harvest and sell them to local processors.

Success at these ventures allowed him to fulfill his dream of owning a small parcel of land, and his own home. In 1918 he purchased a 20-acre prune farm on Johnson Avenue in Cupertino, where he would raise a family. This would become his home for the remainder of his life and where he expanded his business, building his own prune dehydrator and obtaining additional acreage nearby. Here he raised his two children, Mary and Mat, who worked alongside their mother Mary tending to the orchards. Peter’s son Mat became a valuable part of the business when he was just 14 years old, and soon took over all tractor driving on what now had become a 50-acre homestead.

In 1960, the local school district purchased 10 acres of the original farm in Cupertino for the construction of a grammar school. This gave Mat, now 27 years old, the opportunity to expand his business and purchase a 60-acre cherry orchard on Fairchild Lane in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, which is still a piece of Katicich Ranch and is currently in its 101st year of continuous operation.

Mat quickly earned a reputation for producing the finest cherries in the area, eventually growing his cherry orchards to over 200 acres, where his green thumb and hard work earned him the reputation Katicich Ranch still possess today.

 

Continuing the tradition of grower and packer operation, the fourth generation Katicich family still farm and pack Bing cherries for sale in the U.S. and export markets around the world. In 2021, Katicich Ranch joined hands with long-term partner Felix Costa & Sons, to form KatCo Packing with strategic support provided by Oppy.

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