Building on a Legacy
Making History, Again
Back in 1891, a man named Edwin Waldo Ward Sr. moved to Sierra Madre, California with a dream. He first purchased 10 acres of land from the town's founder, Nathaniel Carter, and planted the land with Navel oranges. He acquired 20 more acres a few years later totaling 30 acres of land. At the time, he was a salesman for James P. Smith & Co., a New York importer of luxury foods. Ward became the company's western representative. He married in 1900 and built the beautiful home and the red barn on Highland Avenue in 1902. Both buildings are still used today.
Ward certainly knew the fine-food business and made important contacts over the years. And these were all advantages in later years when he started his business. His dream was to make English style marmalade. An English friend was traveling to Spain and Ward gave him money to purchase two trees of the special variety of the orange tree that was needed. These trees arrived in America and became the grafting stock for a grove that numbered over 600 trees. Those two trees thrive today, however, they are no longer on Ward land. The Ward ranch is around 2.5 acres today.
Ward's big dream was to produce his own marmalade here on the ranch. In 1915 he retired as a salesman and for three years experimented with marmalade making. By 1918, satisfied he had the recipe he was seeking, he began his preserving business.
The business thrived, and for years, when dining was a fine experience on trains crossing America, Ward's marmalade was the only one served on several trains. WWI also cut off food imports from overseas and Ward was ready to supply the market here. Other products have been added since then, and today marmalade is only 10% of the fine foods we produce.
Behind the home, barely visible from the street, is the Ward canning factory building. Today, about 10 to 15 people are employed. Many are long-time employees. But the company will always remain small in order to preserve the high quality which is the Ward standard.
Our products are made using the best ingredients and methods possible. For example, we use only pure cane sugar, not corn syrup as in most commercial jams. This gives the best flavor. We sell only the finest imported olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives. And our marmalades are still made directly from fresh citrus from our very own orchard. More importantly, We never use canned peel.
Carrying on this idea of "the best" today is Richard Ward, the third generation, and Jeff Ward, the fourth. We hope you enjoy this web site and please let us know what you think.
Now, Western Ranch BBQ adds a new chapter to this engaging saga!
Born in the early 21st century, Western Ranch BBQ is an expression of specialization into BBQ sauces, marinades, condiments, and prep sauces for meat lovers, chefs, food service professionals, butchers, eager amateurs, caterers, restaurants, distributors, as well as boutique food producers. Harkening back to the frontier spirit that birthed E. Waldo Ward "&" Son, Western Ranch BBQ steps into the future with new energy and focus.