Daughter of the Land
Daughter of the Land is the story of a free-spirited child of privilege sheltered amongst the lemon and orange groves of the Santa Clara Valley. This tale weaves both family legacy and how the author fits into the story of her pioneering ancestors.
Betsy Chess presents captivating vignettes of her many relatives and their impact on Santa Paula and the verdant Santa Clara Valley of Ventura County. She provides insight into marginalized communities that for 125 years have constituted the majority of the workforce for the citrus capital of the world. Daughter of the Land sweeps readers through almost 200 years of a family’s history, yet is grounded in hard work and delight of life on the ranch. It presents a unique view, in words and pictures, of a way of living that no longer exists.
Daughter of the Land captivates readers and draws them into life in a small agricultural town and the Blanchard family, where pioneering methods of raising oranges and lemons gave rise to the great Limoneira Company, that for many years was considered “The world’s largest citrus ranch,” and today produces citrus fruit in both American hemispheres to ensure worldwide and year-round market access.
“This tale weaves both family legacy and how the author fits into the story of her pioneering ancestors. in addition, Chess uses her own experiences to reflect on what’s happening in the world today.” – Henry Dubroff
About Betsy Chess
Born in Santa Paula, CA, Betsy attended high school at the Bishop’s School for Girls in La Jolla, CA, then did graduate and post-graduate work at USC, earning a Master of Arts degree in Modern European History. She engaged in dual careers as an agricultural journalist and a non-profit arts manager. She worked in top executive positions for the New West Symphony, the Rubicon Theater Company, the Museum of Ventura County, while editing and publishing the Central Coast Farm & Ranch magazine. Betsy has received recognition and awards numerous times for her work. Today she resides in Ventura, CA.
Forward by Henry Dubroff, publisher of the Pacific Coast Business Times: “A gifted storyteller, Betsy knows how to manage a complex narrative, so this personal history also tells the story of changes that have taken place in the culture of California’s Central Coast during nearly a century and a half. Betsy’s gift is to look back not with nostalgia but with a growing awareness of bigger issues like farm labor, race relations, the role of women, and a company’s social responsibilities. She has performed a valuable service by looking at these issues from the perspective of the twenty-first century.”
Engrossing honest storytelling…
Betsy tells an engrossing tale through the lens of her family – and what a family it is… I am most appreciative of Betsy’s honesty in storytelling. No family or person is perfect, and she is unflinching in telling the successes and the warts of her family history and her own story.
Through her book she weaves the story of her ancestors, enriched by an impressive amount of photographs …
I so enjoyed reading Betsy Blanchard’s account of growing up as a Daughter of the Land. It is a beautifully written story of an ideal childhood, but one that also held contradictions. Through her book she weaves the story of her ancestors, enriched by an impressive amount of photographs and images that bring it to life. This book is a welcome addition to Santa Paula and Ventura County’s history.
Growing up in a rarified world
In her richly illustrated memoir, Betsy Blanchard Chess offers a unique and fascinating insider’s story about what it was like growing up in a rarified world many may recognize but few ever truly understood. It may read like fiction, but it is all true.
Her gift is to look back not with nostalgia but with a growing awareness of bigger issues like farm labor, race relations, the role of women, and a company’s social responsibilities …
What makes Daughter of the Land special, in my view, is that it takes the opportunity to look back at history to speak about our time. Betsy knows how to manage a complex narrative and she has natural good judgement, so this personal history also tells the story of changes that have taken place in the culture of California’s Central Coast during nearly a century and a half. Her gift is to look back not with nostalgia but with a growing awareness of bigger issues like farm labor, race relations, the role of women and a company’s social responsibilities. She has performed a valuable service by looking at these issues from the perspective of the twenty-first century.
Deep Pioneer Roots
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