Moo Cow Dairy
In the early 1900’s when GSBG was still called Brown Bulb Ranch, James Brown (company founder) was looking for the most ideal ways to fertilize the fields where he grew his crops. In an effort to obtain clean weed free manure for fertilizing the bulb fields, James purchased a herd of Guernsey dairy cattle. In doing so he also opened a successful dairy. Milk products including Ice Cream were sold by the ‘Moo Cow Dairy’ from 1919 to 1957. Distribution went as far as Chicago on the Southern Pacific Railroad, with distribution of the famous ice cream in four countries. Locally in the Monterey Bay Area, there were 11 retail ‘soda fountains’ serving Moo Cow Dairy products.
Why GSBG is no longer called Brown Bulb Ranch
Golden State Bulb Growers used to be called Brown Bulb Ranch when it was first founded in the early 1900’s. The name itself comes from the name of the Brown family which has owned and operated the company since it was first created.
A major portion of the business developed through importing and packaging Dutch grown bulbs for redistribution to retail outlets throughout the US. The “dry sales” bulb business was so successful, Brown Bulb Ranch, became the largest wholesaler of flower bulbs west of the Mississippi. In 1954 an office and distribution warehouse were opened in Seattle to serve the needs of the Northwest. Later in the 1960’s a sales office was opened in Los Angeles to serve the Southwest. Worth Brown, in charge of sales, marketed the first packaged flower bulbs to ever be sold in national chain stores such as Woolworth and Sears.
Also during the sixties, fields were farmed in Baja California for the production of dried flowers such as safflower, strawflower and cardoon puffs, an artichoke type flower. This venture was discontinued due to an increase in cheap imports of synthetic flowers from Asia. New fields were also opened in Monterey County for the expanding Calla production.
By the 1970’s the company had hundreds of employees and was the largest distributor of bulbs on the West Coast. A decision was made to go back to company’s roots and concentrate more on the growing operation and less on the distribution of bulbs from other sources. In 1983, Brown Bulb Ranch sold its name and import division to another company. The growing operation changed its name to Golden State Bulb Growers, only selling what it grew, moving towards selling more to commercial growing operations and less to the ‘dry sales’ bulb market, which was on the decline in the US.