Word on the Street: Cal-Western Nursery in Visalia sold

Jesus Gutierrez, owner of Far Western Nurseries
Jesus Gutierrez, owner of Far Western Nurseries

Cal-Western Nursery in Visalia, one of the region’s leading grape and walnut nursery operations, has been sold to a longtime employee.

The nursery’s new owner is Jesus Gutierrez, 59, who began his career with Cal-Western as a teenager planting vineyard cuttings.

Gutierrez, who has renamed the company Far Western Nurseries, said he owes much of his success to Cal-Western’s longtime owner, Luther J. Khachigian.

“Luther looked at me in those early days and saw that I was hungry for work and most always ran from one task to the next,” Gutierrez said.

Over the years, Gutierrez rose through the ranks to become president and operations officer at the nursery. Last year, Gutierrez and Khachigian began the transfer of ownership that was completed this spring.

Robert Rodriguez: 559-441-6327, @FresnoBeeBob