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Tom Powers operates Alhambra Valley Ranch, a 58-acre sustainable family farm in western Contra Costa County, California. It produces grapes for wine, olives for oil and curing, and summer vegetables, including the best-tasting Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes in the world. On two hillside pastures Powers raises goats, sheep, llamas, and emus, many of them retired or rescued farm animals.
Powers started his farm in 1998 and has planted hundreds of backyard vineyards in Contra Costa and surrounding counties under the name of Diablo Vineyard. In 2005 he started a small commercial winery on his farm. His varietal wines and blends are sold directly to friends, neighbors, stores, and restaurants. He also added a greenhouse operation so that he can get his prize Cherokee Purple tomatoes to market in May instead of July.
These activities constitute the fourth or fifth career for this former attorney, county supervisor, realtor, and consultant. However, Powers is from a long line of farmers, including his grandfather who started one of the first farms in the Imperial Valley in 1910.
Tom Powers was awarded Contra Costa County’s Sustainable Farming Individual of the Year award in 2009. In addition to the ranch, he runs the Alhambra Valley Olive Oil Company and Alhambra Valley Wine Company. He also chairs the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust Board and the Contra Costa County Agricultural Advisory Board.