Marsh Creek Farmstead: The Farmstead

The Farmstead

The Farmstead consists of about 4 acres of land bordered by Marsh Creek. It was once part of the Brentwood Irrigated Farms developed by the Balfour-Guthrie company. In 1913 the Balfour-Guthrie Company began to plan for the construction of an irrigation system that would bring water to Diablo Valley farmers.  The East Contra Costa Irrigation District, comprising 20,000 acres of level, fertile land in the heart of the valley was the largest irrigation unit in the Diablo Valley.

Brentwood was originally laid out on land donated from property owned by John Marsh, an East Contra Costa County pioneer who acquired Rancho Los Meganos, the land grant that Brentwood is built upon, in 1837 from Jose Noriega. Brentwood was named after Marsh's ancestral home, the town of Brentwood in the County of Essex, England. The Contra Costa County historical society has put out several books in the local area that are very interesting.

The crops grown in the brentwood area in the early 1900's were predominantly wheat and barley. The Balfour-Guthrie company started a demonstration orchard farm in 1910 and by 1928 the area had transformed from fields of grain to orchards.

 When my family purchased the property in the late 1980's there was an established walnut orchard of about 2.5 acres. Within a few years all the trees had died of Black Line Disease and we removed them. We planted 550 Royal Gala and Fuji apple trees in their place. The apples were grown organically and did well for many years. Roughly 6 years ago I decided to remove most of the trees to make room for more different varieties of fruit and nut and citrus trees, annual vegetable production as well as a diverse array of useful herbs, shrubs, bushes, vines and chickens first for eggs and the next year for meat.

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