Like most Ojai farmers, Ben Shore is a very down to earth kind of guy. His boot leather is several years worn, his jeans look like they should and upon arriving to his ranch his dog Hanna greets you way before you see Ben.
As soon as Dean stepped out of his big Ford pickup truck in front of a lush expansive field of celery it was like meeting someone like John Wayne, minus the cowboy hat. If you know Dean you know his personality is filled with generosity and an enthusiasm for growing celery.
The first time I saw and met Arturo Reyes his head was underneath the hood of an old pick up truck at McGrath Farm. This made perfect sense as Phil once explained, “Arturo is my right hand man here at the farm, he helps me with just about everything”
On my way to meet Edgar and his lovely wife Martha for the first time at Terry Berries in Ventura, CA I had no idea as I drove south along the 101, looking out at the farmland busy with harvesters, Edgar was going to inform me his biggest challenge this spring is the lack of labor.
Monica Houweling is an absolute delight. We hear all too many times the average age of the American Farmer is around 60 years. At Houweling’s Nursery Monica is defying this statistic at 19. She represents the next wave of young, passionate, progressive and smart next generation farmers.
One of the special things I’ve noticed about most of the farmers I talk to is an underlying sense of pride they have about growing food for people. They never come right out and say it, of course, but it’s there, you can see it in their eyes when they’re looking out at their sprawling acres of crop land. Jim Roberts is no different.
The Martinez Brothers, David, Audelio and Renato, have been growing berries since 1995. Taking the farm from 2 acres to over 2,000. These business partners got their start growing for Driscoll’s, but their farming “roots” go much deeper.
Richard Atmore is a big man with a jovial gregarious personality and a big mission. He is a pleasure to converse with, mainly because he is a man with conviction and he always seems to be in a good mood. When I pulled onto his ranch after a long drive up Sexton Canyon Road, high in the hills above Ventura, I saw a slew of dusty trucks parked on his property and said to myself, “A lot of real work gets done here.”
I have to admit Steve Gill is one of my favorite farmers in the county. I’m not just writing this because he is one of my new Board Members, it’s because back in 2008 when no one knew about my program he was a big supporter from the beginning. He told me – agricultural education is very important
December, 2013: I had the pleasure of meeting Ellen Brokaw through her daughter in-law Katie at the Ventura County Fair Livestock Auction last August. I met many long time Ventura County Aggies that day and when Katie heard I didn’t have a BBQ meal ticket she quickly walked me over to meet Ellen who had an extra
When I think of Steve Barnard this proclamation comes to mind “I’m off to feed the world”. That’s what he lives every day. Many of us think on a much smaller scale, not Steve. He’s looking through a bigger lens and the world is his oyster.
In Ojai ‘s Arbolada there is truly a little piece of paradise on the corner of Cuyama and Del Norte Roads. Behind an elegant row of bark stripped white eucalyptus trees a gorgeous yellow craftsman style home (my favorite house in the valley) stands as the welcome mat to 12 acres of pretty orchards and row crops known as Earthtrine Farm.
Ventura County is STRAWBERRY COUNTRY. Our VC Farmers grow close to $700 million worth of strawberries a year ranking it the number one crop. Truly amazing.
Meet Will Terry of Terry Farms, Inc. and member at large of Young Farmers and Ranchers.
Just the name “Gus Gunderson” evokes strength. Of Danish and Norwegian descent Gunderson means ‘battle’ and ‘warrior’. Perfect for the Director of Southern Farming Operations of Limoneira. He isthe farmer warrior doing battle every day out on 3,200 acres of lemon and avocado orchards
You can take the girls off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girls. Both Erynn Smith, a member of historic Blanchard Family and Reyna Ortega, Join the Farm Manager, have deep roots in Ventura County Agriculture. I am always so proud of every women farmer I meet.
Connor Jones of East End Eden Farm One hears the phrase old soul and thinks wise beyond their years. Connor Jones is 22 and is just that. He is one of the most dedicated, well read and wise farmers I’ve ever met.
I met Jason Tamai during check in at the Young Farmers and Ranchers’ Annual Golf Tournament at the Spanish Hills Country Club. When I asked him if he would like to be a SEEAG Farmer of the Month he did not hesitate.
Emily Friend Thacher Ayala is the perfect combination of education and agriculture. The Friends and the Thachers both arrived in Ojai in the 1880s and started farming and schooling dynasties, respectively. You may have heard of The Thacher School?