June 30, 1972 —
Farm workers pick onions in Valencia.
Tenant farming on the part of the old Rancho San Francisco that became Valencia had gone on since the earliest days of the Newhall family
ownership, or at least since The Newhall Land and Farming Co.'s formation after Henry M. Newhall's death in 1882. Jake Swall
and his three boys harvested wheat
there in the 1890s and into the 20th Century.
The family members lived in San Francisco and were happy to leave the farming to others who paid rent — until the onset of the Great Depression,
when it became apparent that tenant farming alone wasn't sustainable and it had become necessary to sell off pieces of the ranch to pay the taxes.
At that rate, it wouldn't have been long before the ranch was lost to them.
So in 1933 the family rolled the dice and hired an outsider to run the company — San Francisco capitalist Atholl McBean,
who undertook a
course correction and set Newhall Land on a path to prosperity.
Newhall Land started doing more farming and ranching of its own on the property (which it still does in 2013 on the Ventura County section),
while continuing to lease sections in Los Angeles County to tenant farmers and, for the first time
in 1935, to oil companies. After World War II and into the 1950s, McBean laid the groundwork for another new enterprise: land development.
The new town of Valencia started construction in 1965 and would be phased in over the next half-century.
Tenant farming continued into the 1970s on sections of the ranch that would eventually be converted into homes and commercial bulidings.
Some of the companies that leased land for farming operations in Valencia during this latter period were Tapia Bros. (since the 1930s), Mike Yurosek & Sons (Bunny Luv carrots) and