The Legacy of a Peach

Camelia Enriquez Miller stands with her cousin, orchard foreman Valentin Enriquez on their family farm.
Camelia Enriquez Miller stands with her cousin, orchard foreman Valentin Enriquez on their family farm. Photo by Jyotsna Bhamidipati

Twin Peaks Farm envisions better fruit for tomorrow through thoughtful farming practices today.

Growing up on her family’s peach orchard, Camelia Enriquez Miller dreamed of a more glamorous life and aspired to become a professional ballerina. She did not envision herself as a fourth-generation grower and owner of Twin Peaks Orchards, a farm that has been in her family since 1912. Eventually, though, after years of city life, Miller and her husband Justin returned home to Newcastle to raise their four children among the trees. By 2020, Camelia took over the business.

“The same work ethic and ability to adapt to change that I learned in dance now helps me juggle the many challenges of running a farm.”

Camelia Enriquez Miller
Twin Peak peaches are bright and juicy.
Twin Peak peaches are bright and juicy. Photo by Jyotsna Bhamidipati

Under Miller’s watch, Twin Peaks has made many pivots — or shall we say pirouettes, like transitioning to a certified organic farm, growing new seasonal row crops, and nurturing collaborations with restaurants and chefs. “I started to hear at farmers’ markets in the early 2000s how people were focusing on healthy eating and felt we should consider a move toward farming organically. I asked my dad if I could test it out. I planted six acres of organic peaches and, to our surprise, the result wasn’t much more expensive, and we grew a high-quality and delicious fruit,” she says. These new organic peaches, which she categorized as Orchard Delights, were wildly successful and demand grew.  

California Certified Organic Farmers, or CCOF, certified farm. The process can be daunting due to strict compliance requirements and associated costs. In 2021, Twin Peaks made the impressive leap to 30 acres of organic fruit that’s picked by hand in lieu of mechanical harvesting. That’s since evolved to 80 acres of fully organic — farming without any synthetic or conventional intervention — fruit production. In addition to peaches, Twin Peaks grows nectarines, citrus, and persimmons, which it proudly sends out to specialty grocers, farmers’ markets, and restaurants throughout Northern California. To achieve zero waste, what isn’t market ready is sent to the on-site kitchen for use in jams or as dried fruit.

The move to a certified organic status took a few years and required an education in pest control and management of trees and soil, and not everyone was on board. “My dad did not want to change the way he was farming and resisted the shift, but I knew this was the direction the farm needed to go in order to be sustainable,” Miller says. After a devastating infrastructure fire in 2020, she offered to buy the farm from her parents so they could retire. With that agreement, she and her husband focused on rebuilding and moving the farm forward for future generations.

Chef Allyson Harvie shops for produce at Twin Peaks. Photo by Jyotsna Bhamidipati
Chef Allyson Harvie shops for produce at Twin Peaks. Photo by Jyotsna Bhamidipati

Growing seasonal row crops is another modern spin for the farm and a response to the fast-moving culinary trends found in restaurants. “We listen to chefs to decide what row crops to grow for the year,” Miller explains. Row crops allow greater flexibility and diversity from the stone fruit and make good use of existing land, water, and labor.

Miller loves having local chefs visit the farm, which benefits both parties and encourages continued investment in her work. “There are a few chefs I really admire, and if they are looking for a specific ingredient, I am going to grow it,” she says. Currently, Twin Peaks is growing corn, specialty squash, and melons that will go directly on the menus of many local restaurants.

Sacramento-based chef Allyson Harvie, owner of Notre Ferme and a longtime Twin Peaks supporter explains: “We would be at a loss without Camelia and her excellent produce. She pays attention to the small details to really exceed our expectations. She is a very intentional farmer and business owner, and to work with her local ingredients is a gift.” Harvie loves to pair grilled Twin Peaks Orchards peaches with a creamy, spreadable burrata or a salty feta cheese, playing with savory notes to highlight and honor the integrity of the fruit.

Chef Allyson Harvie showing bin of squash blossoms at Twin Peaks.
Chef Allyson Harvie showing bin of squash blossoms while the orchard pooch, Chiqui stands watch. Photo by Jyotsna Bhamidipati

Miller hopes one of her adult children will someday decide to circle back to the orchards and continue the legacy started by her grandparents. But for now, she is satisfied taking on the role of choreographer. Always an artist, she likes to think of her farm as a grand performance with many acts. “To me, it’s more of an art form than just labor, and I get through the year and enjoy it by thinking about it like a production,” she muses.

“Planting, the bloom, and the harvest — it’s like Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons.’”

Camelia Miller