Rancho Mission Viejo is so large that it actually has its own microclimates. The cool coastal breezes, sunny days and temperate evenings create the optimum environment for farming operations. As a result, since the 1960s, The Ranch family has annually planted grain crops to feed its livestock. Over the last decade, groves of oranges and grapefruit have given way to acres of new lemon and avocado trees. Today, more than 9,000 avocado trees and 63,000 lemon trees are harvested year-round on The Ranch, making Rancho Mission Viejo one of the largest citrus producers in Orange County.
The harvested lemons and avocados are trucked to packing houses in Central California and then sold to local supermarkets and restaurants, including historic El Adobe in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
Throughout the last few decades, The Ranch family has embraced and adopted a number of farming innovations to help create a sustainable agricultural operation. Components to that effort include a series of best practices for soil protection and erosion control, integrated pest control and fruit washing management, as well as the use of drip irrigation systems and other water conservation methods which actually help yield more fruit over a longer period of time. Today, dependent on climate conditions, there are often enough lemons harvested within the groves that dot Rancho Mission Viejo to fill one semi-truckload, every day, all year long.