The home ranch I farm today was purchase in 1928 by my Grandfather, Bill Maggini. The 60 acre “home” ranch is located in the northern part of San Benito County off of Acquistapace Road. This little piece of heaven has seen many transformations since then. When my grandfather bought the ranch it was planted in 30 acres of prune trees and 30 acres of peach trees. It wasn’t long before the peach trees were removed, making way for more profitable seed crops. A variety of vegetables such as celery, carrots, tomatoes and mustard were planted in the rich soil. Colorful zinnias were planted as seed crops. My mother recalls how beautiful it was to walk out the front door and gaze upon 30 acres of gorgeous flowers. To her, that was the perfect crop. My mother, Frances Swank, and my aunt, Eleanor Lanini, grew up on this ranch. They both ventured out to pursue their own lives but have returned to this magical place of their youths. Unfortunately Eleanor has passed away but my mother still lives today.
I was raised on a dairy farm in Calistoga along with my two brothers Bill and Allan. Growing up we worked helping my dad milk the cows. We raised and showed pigs and cows at county and state fairs. The Cow Palace and the Sacramento State Fair were just a couple of the many places we showed our livestock. There wasn’t much free time (probably not a bad thing) but it was a good place to grow up. In 1974 my family decided to pack up, including the cows, and move to the home ranch where my grandmother still lived. We rented a dairy off of San Felipe Road and my father and I took up dairy farming in San Benito County. At this point that the home ranch was planted entirely in alfalfa and grandma said NO COWS!
My older brothers had gone off to pursue their own dreams. I attended Cal Poly as a Dairy Science major from 1974 to 1977. I would come home on the weekends to help my father with the dairy. One of the hardest things about having a dairy is the cows never take a day off, always needing to be milked seven days a week rain or shine or Christmas! At some point my father and I became partners and continued in the dairy business until the government bought us out in the mid 80’s. Imagine getting paid NOT to produce milk!