The Sequoia brand was first created by W. & M. Marks (brothers originally from Nebraska) around the turn of the last century. Some of their first labels were 'Aksarben' (Nebraska spelled backwards), 'Brownies' (which we still use today), and 'Have One;' the 'Sequoia' and other labels came later. Their original packing house was located in the Sierra foothill community of Lemon Cove, California.
Over the years, the Marks' packing house changed hands and Sam Finkle became the owner. In 1922 at the age of 13, a young Oleah Wilson started in the citrus industry working for Mr. Finkle, and eventually he worked his way up to packing house manager. in 1969, when Finkle decided to retire, Oleah bought the Lemon Cove packing house. In 1971, his son, Marvin joined the company and they operated it as a commercial Sunkist packing house.
In the early 1970's, Carl "Skip" Pescosolido became a Sequoia grower, and the Wilsons and Pescosolido became friends. Pescosolido had a strong marketing background from years spent in the oil business and the Wilsons had years of packing house expertise; thus they decided that if they joined forces, they could create a dynamic and unique company. So in 1975, Pescosolido became a partner and Sequoia became an Independent, breaking with Sunkist. Over the next several years, the new partners started buying more groves of their own and phasing out 'outside' growers.
Sequoia bought two more packing houses, in Exeter and Terra Bella, and eventually grew to approximately 5,000 acres of citrus from Bakersfield to Fresno. By then Sequoia was a truly vertically integrated farming company, and had no outside growers, one of the first in the industry to do so in the modern age. "We only sell what we grow on our farms" became the company motto, and quality and value to the customer was the practice. Sequoia became a pioneer in the export business and helped to open up many new markets to California citrus around the world. Sequoia also became a leader in the fight to deregulate the citrus industry in the US -- an almost 20 year battle with the government that went all the way to the top of the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government, which Sequoia and their free market allies finally won in 1992.
Today, the company is still owned and operated by the two families, the Wilsons and Pescosolidos.