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Stehly Farms
USD Alumni Noel '92 and Jerome Stehly '85 say organic food is a way of life

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Brothers Noel and Jerome Stehly

When the Stehly brothers say they run a green business, they mean it. Noel '92 and Jerome '85 farm 300 verdant acres in Valley Center, Calif. Their ranch utilizes bio-diesel fuel, wells and solar panels to limit environmental impact.

Brothers Noel and Jerome Stehly checking over their produce

"I treat the land the way I would like to be treated myself," Noel said.

The Stehlys are third-generation farmers with a long list of family connections to USD. Their 5 siblings all attended the university. Noel, who is the president of the Stehly Farms Organics, studied international relations. Jerome, the CFO, studied business. Both brothers married USD alumnae.

Stehly Farms Organic Oranges

"My degree helps me associate with people," Noel said. "I feel like I can talk to anyone because of my experience at USD."

Stehly Farms Organics produces avocadoes, berries, chilies and citrus fruits. Each year the company distributes millions of pounds of certified organic foods nationwide. Noel attributes his success to the fact that people are increasingly concerned about knowing where their food is grown.

Stehly Brothers walking their property with their three dogs

"There are a lot of variables in life," he said. "I believe people want to minimize those variables. People seem to really like our products and the fact that they are local and organic."

Simplicity is a way of life for Noel Stehly, who said his main goal is to have as much fun as possible with his wife and daughters. The rest, he said, "will just have to fall into place."

The Stehly Brothers talking underneath their solar panels

Noel had this advice for undergraduates who aim to own their own businesses:

"Go out and work for as many bosses as you can before you become your own boss," he said. "The field does not matter. It is the experience interacting with those people that will make you successful."

- Anne Malinoski ‘11

Another graduate who advocates for farm-to-table dining is Jay Porter, owner of El Take It Easy in San Diego's North Park. Join the College on September 10 from 4-6 p.m. at Porter's restaurant for an alumni happy hour.

Video: Stehly Farms

Video: Stehly Farms

Quick Facts

  • I am the seventh of seven kids.
  • All seven of us graduated from USD.
  • All seven of us rowed on the crew team.
  • We pack nearly 5 million pounds of avocados per year.

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