The Kozlowski family always believed, if you have a passion for something, go for it. That is what Carmen and Tony Kozlowski did when they bought their first Sonoma County apple farm in 1949, and again two years later, when they bought the adjacent property that would become the foundation of Kozlowski Farms.
Carmen and Tony planted their picturesque Russian River Valley farm with Gravenstein, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Red Rome apples. Knowing it would take seven years for the young trees to bear fruit, Carmen and Tony had the revolutionary idea of planting raspberries between the fruit trees. Further farming successes came in the cultivating blackberries, blueberries and cherries.
With the abundance of berries as inspiration, Carmen was soon pursuing another of her passions, baking and canning. At first, she made her jams and pastries for family and Kozlowski farmhands. Then she started selling them to locals and passerby. Soon word of Carmen’s irresistible wine country cooking spread.
One of Carmen’s most popular creations was her no-sugar-added raspberry spread—a genuine novelty in the early 1970s, and like everything else that she made, all natural. Her secret was sweetening the spread with a combination of apple juice and dried apples that came from the family’s orchard. Quality ingredients and traditional farm fresh cooking defined Carmen’s specialties. Today, her recipes are the foundation of Kozlowski Farms Pies.
The Second Generation. Carmen and Tony’s three children; Carol, Perry and Cindy, shared their parents’ love of Sonoma County farming, along with their roll-up-your-sleeves, old-fashioned work ethic.
It was a good thing too, because this is how Kozlowski Farms started its specialty food and retail business. In 1969, with the first crop of raspberries ripening on the vine, Tony got up one morning, gave his daughter Cindy a refrigerator and told her she would be running the retail side of the business. She was 13 years old. He told Carol, then 19, to run the raspberry picking crew, and then turned to his 16-year-old son and said, “Perry you’re driving the truck.”
Trial by fire never tasted so good.
Like so many reared in Sonoma County, Carmen was born into agriculture. In the 1920s, Carmen’s parents, Florencio and Julia Lorenzo, moved from Spain to Sonoma County, where they farmed apples, berries, cherries and grapes. They instilled a lifelong passion for agriculture in their daughter. In 1997, Carmen received the Sonoma County Lifetime Achievement in Agriculture Award.
In 1984, Kozlowski Farms made national television debut on Good Morning America, when Carmen made raspberry bread with Julia Child. Kozlowski Farms also appeared on the Food Network’s “Food Finds” in 1999. The segment featured California food producers who created specialty foods the old-fashioned way.
Today, we are proud to continue making food the old-fashion way, one pie at time. Just the way Carmen Kozlowski