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Horton Farm named Hall of Fame winner

Family farm's award highlights the chamber installation, awards night
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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A historic family enterprise is the winner of the 2010 Business Hall of Fame award, presented during the Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce annual installation and awards night Jan. 20 at the Blue Goose Fruit Shed. Mary Ann and Ed Horton, their son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Jennifer Horton, and their daughter, Majken, 10, accepted the prestigious award honoring the Horton Farm Iris Garden. The now 40-acre farm dates to 1857, when it was settled by a gold miner and cattle rancher. Succeeding generations transformed the land into a farm, orchards and a vineyard. In 1990, Mary Ann Horton started an iris garden when she gathered wild, historic irises and planted them on the grounds of the family’s 95-year-old farmhouse. The iris garden has grown to 1,300 specimens, surrounded by natural and landscaped grounds, a pond, picnicking areas, and a pumpkin patch in the fall. The Horton Farm Iris Garden is also an agrotourism venue for gatherings and a site where painters and photographers go for artistic inspiration. In a later interview, Mary Ann Horton said the award was a surprise and a “nice honor.” The recognition, she said, comes with hard work and satisfaction. “When I listen to customers talk about how peaceful and magical it is here at the farm, it helps me to continue raking iris leaves and pulling weeds for many, many hours.” The Hall of Fame induction was made by Pauline Amerine, a local artist and former Del Oro High School art teacher. “This farm business and family are committed to the land, the history, the well being of our local citizens and the many visitors who come to Placer County to enjoy their hospitality,” Amerine said. Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin is the recipient of the 2010 Most Neighborly Native award. Ginger Ablakhail, a founding member of the local community service organization, made the presentation. The local club, chartered in 1974, supports the Loomis Senior L.I.F.E. Center, Loomis Women’s Shelter, maintains a closet of home supplies for women and foster youth in transition to independent living, and provides scholarships to teachers and participates in many other community activities. Accepting the Most Neighborly Native Award were Rhonda Morillas, president. Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes performed swearing-in duties for the 2011 chamber board of directors, most of whom are returning board members. State Sen. Ted Gaines presented individual proclamations to the board members for their 2010 service. Officers for 2011 are Bob Ferreira, president; Charlotte Langston, vice president; Beverly Sowvlen, secretary; Randy Roe, treasurer; Leslie Griffith, past president; and Kaera Anzalone, Roy Arriaga, Pat Brechtel, Deb Collender, Brian Hogan, Fuzzy Jarnagin, Russ Kelley, Owen Kittredge, Sheila Lee, Vic Markey, Dave Mullarky, Nancy Ucovich and Matt William, directors. Serving as ambassadors will be Vincent Alexander, Carla Dawn, Louise Dutton, Nancy Hogan and Gary Yeatts.