Stewart Resnick is the world’s largest irrigated farmer. He lives in Beverly Hills and has never driven a tractor. His California empire of fruit, almonds and pistachios helped turn the state’s nut boom into a national controversy, thanks in part to his wife Lynda Resnick’s ingenious branding of their crops as healthy snacks. Despite the catastrophic five-year drought and a lack of state and federal irrigation water, the Resnick’s acres in Kern County continued to thrive. So how were they able to outsmart Mother Nature? And what was the true cost to California? San Joaquin Valley native and journalist Marx Arax travels to the company town of Lost Hills, where he follows a secret pipeline to the truth. Arax was been trying to write Stewart Resnick’s story for twenty years. Resnick declined all interview requests, until old age and cancer changed his mind.
In the April 2008 issue of Los Angeles magazine reporter Mark Arax wrote about Los Angeles’ beloved Zankou Chicken chain, and how one owner tore the founding family apart by murdering two of its members and killing himself. The story is a compelling mix of family dynamics, fast food and the complex American dream.