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The Buckhorn

Copyright (c) 2010
Winters Express
312 Railroad Avenue, Winters, CA 95694
(530) 795-4551
news@wintersexpress.com
Web site by
shawnpatrickcollins
@yahoo.com

 

Move turns up portrait

 

By DEBRA DeANGELO
Express editor
In the midst of moving the Winters Chamber of Commerce from 11 Main Street to its new location at 312-A Railroad Avenue last month, Executive Director Sheri Neal and Chamber board member Kathy Cowan came upon an interesting discovery in the deep dark depths of the storage closet: A beautifully painted portrait of a very distinguished looking unknown man.
Neal and Cowan brought the portrait to the Winters Express office, hoping someone could identify the man, but no one knew who he was. An iPhone photo of the portrait and a Facebook post on the Winters Express wall solved the mystery almost on the spot.
Tyler Tufts just happened to be scrolling down the Express wall on his cell phone, and stopped when he saw the photo.
“I thought, ‘Hey, that’s my great-grandfather,’” says Tufts, who emailed the photo to his father, Stan. Sure enough, the man in the portrait was, in fact, Warren Porter Tufts, a distinguished pioneer of local agriculture and the patriarch of the Tufts family, of Tufts Packing Shed fame and the rancher who bought the property on The Horseshoe in 1922 that became Tufts Ranch.
Stan called his sisters, Vicki (Tufts) Jacobs and Sandy (Tufts) Vickrey, who in turn called their children, and a family luncheon was planned, with retrieving the portrait as the highlight.
How did the portrait fall into the possession of the Winters Chamber of Commerce? No one was sure. But what was known for certain is that it once hung at the UC Davis Faculty Club, to which Warren Tufts contributed. A distinguished professor of pomology at UC Davis, Warren Tufts experimented with peach and apricot rootstock on his ranch and is also credited for helping to start the departments of enology and viticulture at UC Davis. He is additionally credited with developing the “long system” of fruit tree pruning, which became a common practice for apricot orchards, and is listed in the expansive “American Men of Science” publication.
The Tufts family owned and operated the Tufts Packing Shed for decades on Highway 128 in rural Winters, specializing in packing fruit. Stan Tufts still packs and ships fruit from the site, which has since most visibly become Berryessa Brewing Company.
As for the future resting spot of the Warrant Tufts portrait, his descendents were still working that out as they carried it away. However, Tyler Tufts hinted that it rightfully belonged to him, as he was the first to spot it. Wherever the portrait ends up, it will certainly be a more dignified spot than the back of a closet in the Winters Chamber of Commerce office.