Of all the immigrant groups who flocked to California in the last two hundred years, probably the least known are the Croatians of the Dalmatian Coast.  Often identified as Austrians, Slavonians or Dalmatians, they came from a glorious background of international traders, sailors, and political thinkers few people in America knew about, and brought with them knowledge that would change the way the United States did business.  At the same time, they transported their customs and beliefs to their new home and established a way of life that was vibrant and rich in traditional folkways. Blossoms Into Gold tells their story for the first time, from their fabled past to their economic innovations in the Pajaro Valley.   Enriched with over 170 rare photos and illustrations, the book records an important segment of American history.


Blossoms Into Gold: 

The Croatians in the Pajaro Valley

“In this detailed and warmly human history, Donna F. Mekis and Kathryn Mekis Miller chronicle and celebrate the story of an entrepreneurial immigrant group in a favored portion of the Golden State.”

Kevin Starr, University of Southern California

“It took two of the [Croatian] community’s own daughters, Donna Mekis and Kathryn Mekis Miller, to tell the story.  And what a story it is.  The book you are holding is the result of these two women first gaining the trust of the community of their birth and then weaving together a complicated history that bridges half the world and many languages.”

From the foreword by Sandy Lydon, Historian Emeritus, Cabrillo College, Aptos, California, and author of Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region

“Donna Mekis and Kathryn Mekis Miller have done a remarkable job in showing how the Croatians, using the historical traditions and skills they carried from the old world to the new, became important commercial innovators whose methods revolutionized the way business was done in the world’s agricultural markets.”

Jane Borg, Director, Pajaro Valley Historical Association

“This book tells the story of the world I remember. Donna Mekis and Kathryn Mekis Miller have given Watsonville’s Croatians the gift of their own history.”

Nita Gizdich, former president of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau, State Delegate to the California Farm Bureau Federation, and Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture’s ‘Woman of the Year.’”

Sponsored by: Capitola Book Company, Ow Family Properties

and The Borina Foundation

Blossoms Into Gold: The Croations in the Pajaro Valley  is currently being translated into the Croatian language, and will be re-published by the Dubrovnik branch of Matica Hrvatska in Croatia.  Publication date to be announced.