Young Kenneth Wenger with the Holstein Cows


Our family first settled in the old Wood Colony area, west of Modesto, when Graybill Wenger came over from Pennsylvania in 1910.  Graybill purchased 40 acres of land in 1911 and started milking cows on his own registered Holstein dairy.  Graybill was milking 70 cows by hand, more than most dairies in the area.  He also started building a house for himself and his new wife, Ellen, which he completed in 1912.  This original house has been a home for 3 different generations of our family and serves as headquarters for both Wenger Ranch Inc. and Wood Colony Nut Co.  In 1920, Graybill purchased another parcel of land across the street from his own giving him a total of 88 acres.

Graybill and Ellen Wenger pictured with daughter Katherine and son Kenneth

Graybill and Ellen had two children, Kenneth and Katherine.  Kenneth grew up milking cows by hand and was eventually able to convince his father to convert more and more land to farming.  In 1946 Kenneth married Betty Breshears.  In the late 1950’s Kenneth started planting walnut orchards on the ranch, and in 2003 the last of the original 88 acres was planted into walnuts.  In 1980 Kenneth turned the farming operation over to his son Paul, a recent graduate of California Polytechnic State University. Paul has expanded the farm to include custom spraying, harvesting and walnut hulling.

The Wenger family today.

Paul and Deborah’s three sons have grown up working on the farm. Oldest son Jeff, a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, works full time on the family farm and is an integral part of the custom spray business.  Middle son Jake and his wife Juliana, both graduates of Fresno State University, help manage a walnut and almond ranch in the nearby town of Hickman and help with Wood Colony Nut Company, and youngest son Luke plans to return to the family farm upon graduation from California Polytechnic State University. 

Wood Colony Nut Company is taking the next step toward bringing fresh walnut and almond candies, directly from our trees to your table.