The Burroughs family's collective farms, located in an idyllic setting in Merced County, California, are a legacy that spans a century. Ward's grandfather Benjamin Burroughs started a small farm operation in Quincy, Illinois, then made his way to Oakley, California in the Contra Costa Delta in 1906 to start up a more ambitious farming operation. "My grandfather was a born marketer," Ward says. He and his brother opened the Burroughs Brothers Creamery, bottled their own milk, and made home deliveries. They were the first farmers in the state to be certified free of tuberculosis (a landmark achievement at that time). Ward's father and his brother joined them in time, and then in 1971 the operation was moved to Merced County, where the Full Circle Dairy now stands.
Ward left the farm to attend California Polytechnic ("Cal Poly") in San Luis Obispo. That's where he met Rosie, the love of his life, in 1972.
"The story of how we met is fantastic," says Rosie, her eyes twinkling. "My grandmother told Ward's grandmother's second cousin's niece (whew!) that both families had students at Cal Poly that year, and it was decided that we should meet." When Ward rode his horse over to fetch Rosie for their blind date, one of the first things he saw was that she had the same saddle as he had. Thus their romance began. They were both "horse people" and became inseparable. Every day they rode together on the open space surrounding Cal Poly and shared their dreams about working with the land.
"We were married in 1974, and a week later, we went back to the farm to work together," says Rosie. The couple decided to join Ward's father and brother in managing the family's dairy farming and purebred beef business. During these years, they had four children: Christina, Joseph, Benina, and Zeb.