Founded in 1990 by Tom & Karen Avinelis, AgriCare is a full service farm management company built upon a commitment to sustainable farming with a stewardship focus that has been decades in the making.
Growing up in Kerman, CA, farming has been a part of Tom’s life since an early age. His family farmed a mix of cotton, sugar beets, barley, raisin grapes and wine grapes on roughly 250 acres during his youth, and Tom worked summer jobs for numerous local farms and dairies during his high school years. With a love for agriculture, Tom attended California Polytechnic University – San Luis Obispo, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Agronomy in 1980 and met his wife, Karen, an animal science major with a family farming background as well. In the decade following his graduation, Tom worked in a variety of roles within the agricultural industry, including work as a pest control advisor, general manager of a family farm operation, research agronomist, crop consultant, director of operations and sales manager for a chemical company.
In 1990, with a young family and a desire to focus his time & effort on farming, Tom & Karen started AgriCare, Inc. out of a small office attached to their home in Lindsay, CA. Farming a variety of permanent crops, including citrus, olives, table grapes & tree fruit, AgriCare’s scope of managed acreage grew from a few hundred acres in the early 1990’s to approximately 2000 acres in 1998. That year also marked a turning point for AgriCare as the planting of a small experimental block of blueberries in Kern County laid the groundwork for what would soon become one of the company’s premier crops and fastest growing development opportunities.
Not long after these blueberries went into the ground, another experiment began for the Avinelis family – this one of the relationship sort – as Tom & Karen began farming with John & Cindy France, founders & owners of Sierra Heights Marketing. Finding common ground that extended beyond farming to their vision of the future & family values, the bond grew quickly between the Avinelis and France families. In 2005, Tom joined Sierra Heights Marketing as CEO. For the next eight years, Tom would play a dual role as CEO of both AgriCare and Sierra Heights Marketing during a period of growth and change that would re-define the scope and focus of both companies. (Scott Mabs became CEO of HGOF in 2013).
In 2008, Sierra Heights Marketing changed its name to Homegrown Organic Farms (HGOF), a re-branding fitting of a company founded by growers with a heart to represent growers and exclusively sell high quality certified organic produce. In 2011, HGOF further defined its focus by stepping away from the sales of organic vegetables to focus its efforts primarily on the sales & marketing of organic blueberries, organic citrus, organic stonefruit and organic table grapes.
During this time, AgriCare underwent a change of identity as well as the scope of the company’s farming operations moved outside of the borders of California for the first time. In 2009, AgriCare began farming a few hundred acres of organic blueberries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and the company’s focus shifted from servicing California’s San Joaquin Valley to the Western United States as a whole.
As both AgriCare and HGOF continued to grow and change, one constant remained – the unified vision of the Avinelis and France families to operate with care, compassion and commitment while working to feed a world with sustainably-farmed healthy food choices. In 2012, the families made the decision to formally combine the ownership of AgriCare, HGOF and Thomas Creek Farms (a newly formed value-added food products company).
Today, AgriCare has over 200 employees and manages 14,000+ acres of permanent crops in California & Oregon. From blueberries and citrus to table grapes and hazelnuts, AgriCare strives to be the premier permanent crop farm management company in the Western United States, working alongside the rest of the AgriVision family of companies with integrity, perseverance and innovation with a focus on exceeding customers’ expectations and being stewards of the land, our team and our communities.