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Oscar E. and Melinda Perry Vizcarra

Upon graduating Cornell in 1979, Oscar and Mindy embarked on fulfilling their dream of having a successful family farm. They began on the land that had been in her family since 1894 and was at the time, a part-time farm raising tart cherries for processing. As students in the Pomology department, they were inspired by their small fruit professor, Dr. Thompkins, who felt it was possible to make a living on a small farm by growing high value crops and selling directly to the public. They were pioneers in direct marketing and agri-entertainment by changing the emphasis of the farm from wholesale processing to retail agriculture. They started with pick your own fruit; planting dwarf apples, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.

As times changed, demand for pick your own slowed, and demand for more services increased. They opened a farmhouse market, began making homemade fruit pies and jam, fresh pressed sweet cider and homemade donuts. They started offering school tours in 1985, enabling children from Western NY to harvest their own food and learn the importance of agriculture. Each year they host thousands of students. Also in the late 1980's, they started the "Pumpkin Fiesta", fun family entertainment which consists of hay rides, pony rides, pig races, corn maze and many other farm themed activities for kids and adults. The Haunted Forest Hayride was also added for some night-time fun.

After 25 years of farming, they knew they needed more, in order to succeed in a time of shrinking population, so in 2004 they opened Vizcarra Vineyards. This enabled them to utilize excess fruit to make a value-added product that was shelf stable and could be sold year round. They planted vineyards and now make 20 different kinds of wine, from traditional vinifera wines to fruit wines made from fruit grown on the farm. Five years after opening the winery, it became apparent there was also a demand for local beer. So in 2009 they partnered with microbrewery Flying Bison to open Becker Brewing Company.

A few years after opening the winery, requests for weddings and private events began to increase, so with the help of their daughter Amanda, who joined the farm after graduating from Alfred University with a degree in business, they began hosting weddings. She has grown the private events division to include two wedding pavilions that now host over 200 weddings and parties each year and which use fruits and vegetables grown on the farm.

In 2009 they started “100 Mile Radius meals”, a five-course wine and food paired dinner where all of the food is grown within 100 miles of the farm. It is a “field to fork” approach in that the food is grown, prepared and served on the farm. “Local Lunches” are also served in the brewery during the growing season. Their youngest son returned to the farm in 2008 and is now head winemaker and designer. He is in charge of social media, website, and label design. Their oldest son returned to the farm in 2010 and with his help started the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in 2011. They now have over 250 members who receive their portion of the harvest every week.

Today they are the largest employer in their rural town of Hartland and have fulfilled their dream of having a family farm with the fifth generation poised to continue the tradition. They have spent the last 35 years building a business, finding ways to make a living farming, trying to keep up with the latest business trends and keeping customers satisfied. They feel it is a privilege to grow food, make products, and provide a place that brings enjoyment and nourishment to families, friends and customers.