Our Story

Ralph GorrillWe are a 4th generation family business that cherishes the values instilled upon us by our founder.  Our great grandfather, Ralph Gorrill, was born in 1884 in Oakland, CA.  In 1917, Ralph found himself in the Durham area helping to lay out and construct what is now part of historic 99E Highway between Durham and Nelson. 

It was at this time that Ralph became acquainted with some 2,400 acres that came to be known as the Gorrill Ranch.  Ralph was impressed by the richness of the soil and the land’s access to Butte Creek and to the road (Midway) he was helping to build. 

Ralph  put his engineering skills to immediate use in surveying his land, leveling the ground a section at a time, and in designing a gravity-fed, water delivery system that is economical and environmentally efficient—and is the basis for all of the irrigation today on the main rice ranch.

Bean Harvest on the IslandRalph graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in engineering and in 1916, Ralph married Elizabeth (Lissie) Page.  The couple had three daughters—Sally, Anne, and Jane.    Ralph’s three daughters continued Ralph’s legacy of innovation with large-scale engineering projects and additions to the physical plant.   They diversified our rice operation with the purchase and development of tree crops including prunes, almonds, walnuts and pecans.

Our third generation (or the “Cousins Generation”—the 10 grand children of Ralph and Lissie) continued Ralph’s practice of earned loyalties and innovation.  Our business practices and employee benefit packages well exceed industry standards.  

Today, our fourth generation (or the “Cousins and Beyond Generation”—the 13 great grandchildren of Ralph and Lissie) are assuming leadership roles at strategic levels.  They bring new energy and complimentary experience to the ranch.  

We remain strongly committed to continuing our family ownership and honoring the legacy of our founder.

  • Ralph Gorrill
  • Memorial to our long time ranch manager, Don Heffren
  • Bean Harvest on the Island