It was the dawn of the great depression when Harvey Holloway stood as a night watchmen for Richfield Oil Corporation in Lost Hills. On his tours of the region, he saw local farmers haul off wagonloads of a white, reflective mineral — calcium sulfate dihydrate, also known as gypsum.
Approaching 90 years later, the mine on CA 46 in Lost Hills is still producing mountains of agriculture supplements that improve soil — adding calcium, neutralizing salts, and improving water penetration.
More than 500 companies trust Holloway products and services. Beginning with high-quality gypsum, the Holloway Group has grown to add lime, sulfur, humic acid, compost and micronutrients to its list of products, and delivery, spreading, agronomy and custom blends to its services.
With almost a century of success behind him, CEO and Managing Director Brian Maxted has eyes on the future of the company. Along with his wife Joanna, and two daughters, Evelyn, 4, and Lauren, 3, they moved from Washington D.C. to Paso Robles last year.
The move makes the trip out to the site much more pleasant, and from on top of Mount Allen, visible from CA 46, the expanse can be viewed. The 40-acre site sits between a farm on the west side and oil on the east, with piles of minerals in the middle.
“Each one of those piles is about 27,000 tons of gypsum,” Maxted pointed out. “Because this is an ancient lakebed — once a calcium-rich lake which dried up and connected with the sulfur to make gypsum — it is a very soft, plant-available gypsum.”
Holloway mills the gypsum to about a 55 percent purity, and also imports higher purity gypsum to make custom blends from 75 to 95 percent, providing for a variety of applications.
“Our gypsum has been used here in the valley for more than eight decades, and has been very successful,” Maxted said. “All farms use gypsum, as one of the essential elements of plants. It is a fantastic way to get calcium and sulfur into your plants because each of those have a different pH level — calcium is very high in pH and sulfur is very low. It is a way to get both those things into the soil with a neutral balance.”
As a steward of the earth and ag, Holloway has also made use of their own impact on the environment. As Holloway mines the minerals from the earth, the gaping caverns become convenient depositories for waste products from all over. An average of 1,000 tons of waste gets deposited every day.
“It is a great place to have an environmental site because of the natural geology, and that is located right off the 5 and 46,” Maxted explained.
Moving earth by the ton is a massive logistical challenge, but grabbing five gallons of gypsum and loading it in the back of Brian’s truck was fairly simple … although a small bag of gypsum is heavier than it looks.
Since moving to Paso Robles, the Maxted family has become a strong supporter of the community, with Holloway sponsoring the recent Cioppino & Vino event to raise money for the Paso Robles Children’s Museum — of which Joanna is a board member — and Brian sitting on the board of the Paso Robles Rotary Club.
Welcome to Paso Robles Maxted family! We are glad you are here.