Zick's Honey Farm was started by retired college professor Rick Patterson, his stepson Steve Watson Derque and grandson Zeke Rodriguez on the family ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas near Porterville, California.

Ranch History

Much of California land purchases were done after the Civil War had ended. This is also true with the Patterson lands. Zick's Honey Bee Founder Rick Patterson's maternal grandfather A.A. Howard was the original owner of the properties that make up the ranch.

The family story says that A.A. Howard, born and raised in Princeton, Kansas turned 18 in 1882 and was "tired" of working since he was 10 years old for 20 cents an hour (a day laborer in 1880 usually made $1.50 per day, so he was making an average wage) quit his job chopping wood, and walked to California.

Ironically, when he arrived in California, he was hired here in Porterville to travel into the mountains at 5000 feet to cut lumber. He worked hard and came down before it snowed that year. His second year in California he had a team of horses and the third year he had 4 horses. He'd buy a redwood tree from the government, which took 2 men 2 weeks to fell, and cut it with a 12 foot saw. By 1900 he had saved enough to get married and buy land.

Throughout his life, A.A. worked the property and raised cattle. He built the whole fence line by hand (660 acres of foothills) with the help of his eldest child Ralph. Some of this redwood fence line still exists today on the property.

After A.A. Howard passed away the property was left to his wife Matilda. It was kept up and run by their daughter Mildred Elizabeth (Howard) Patterson and her husband Darrel Ray "Pat" Patterson. However, in her will Matilda left the property to her two grandsons (the youngest being Rick, co-founder of Zick's).

Since moving to the property in the mid 1970's Rick has raised cattle and had an avocado orchard on the property.


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