As fourth and fifth generation farmers, our roots run deep in California’s Central Valley. My great-grandfather, John Cox, settled here in 1860, where he set up a farm and raised his family. Like my great-grandfather and grandfather before him, my father, Stewart Cox, put down roots on the family farm in Westley, CA. He married my mother, Grace, and soon my brother John and I were born. We grew up on the farm, driving tractors before our feet could reach the pedals, and working alongside our father in the fields and orchards. It was hard work, but farming was in our blood, and we loved it.
After college and enlisting in the Navy, I returned to Westley. The farm was home, and I knew it was where I wanted to raise my own family. I married the lovely Karen Quick, and we had two children, Matt and Megan (the fifth generation, who I’m proud to say, are part of the family business).
In 1985, Karen and I began selling dehydrated tomatoes from our farm, and called our company ‘Just Tomatoes.’ Over the years, we added apples and persimmons, then berries, corn, and peas. As farmers, we knew all about growing things—crops as well as relationships—so we built partnerships with other farmers to help grow our company. With new dehydrated and freeze-dried fruits and veggies in the line up, Just Tomatoes became much more than ‘just tomatoes.’ As a tribute to the nurturing spirit of my wife, in 2016, we’ve renamed the company Karen’s Naturals.
Although we’ve grown, we’re still a small, family-run business at heart. We care deeply about what we do and are committed to offering the highest quality farm-grown products. —Bill Cox