As we approach the tail end of pomegranate harvest in Madera County farmers at Homegrown Cellars said they have a lot to be thankful for.
"We had really good fruit, very high quality, good sugar, good color, and it's been really good this year," said Alex Lehman, Pomegranate Farmer.
As third generation farmer Lehman got his start in Clovis growing wheat and cotton. Making the move to Madera he developed a new way to press pomegranates for juice. What started as a modest operation grew into a thriving business.
"We've been given the ability to be creative and that's what we've done here."
Grown primarily for juice, the pomegranates that are hand picked at Homegrown Cellars are also used for syrups, jam, and to sell fresh at the market.
Madera County has 2, 600 acres of pomegranates-- only a fraction of what it was several years ago.
"It became difficult for a farmer to capitalize, to actually make a profit farming pomegranates. So many poms were pulled out," said Lehman.
With 260 acres of pomegranate trees, Lehman considered doing the same. He said this is the first year he has sold all of his product.
In addition to it's close proximity to Yosemite, Madera County is celebrating a record year for tourism thanks to the ag industry.
"When you're driving through the Valley you can't help but notice the agriculture here, the vineyards, the crops on the side of 99," said Julie Herd, Tourism Alliance Committee.
Capturing the importance to the economy as well as enrichment.
"You can learn about how to grow crops, how they're harvested. And that food doesn't just come from grocery stores," said Herd.
Madera Pomegranate Festival
Saturday, November 5, 2016, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
FREE admission & Parking