Rancho La Vina has been growing walnuts for over 100 years, starting in 1914. At the time, the coastal parts of Santa Barbara County, from Carpinteria to Goleta were already well established areas of walnut production, but to the north along the Santa Ynez River Valley, walnuts were far less common.

In our early years of walnut production, we experimented with a handful of different varieties, including Concords, Mayettes, and Paynes.

The Payne proved to have a “just right” Goldilocks quality as a reliable producer of great tasting walnuts. By the 1940s, it was clear to us that the Payne was the only variety for us and we planted over 150 acres during the following four decades.

The Payne variety was discovered in California in 1898 by George C. Payne as a volunteer seedling on his property. No walnut variety has played a bigger role in California’s history than the Payne: first as a widely planted choice delivering superior flavor and then extensively as a parent in breeding programs seeking to produce trees yielding higher tonnage.

Today, over 83% of California’s commercial acreage is planted in varieties that are descendants of the Payne, but only 1% remains planted with Paynes.

Rancho La Vina’s walnut orchards have been certified organic since 2007. We believe that our cool, coastal climate gives us an advantage to farming sustainably with organic practices.