Our Farmers

 
A farmer is why we can put food on our table. They value the importance of sustainability and they strive towards perfection in their crop. Farmers are people that dedicate their time toward creating safe and sustainable food for our families, our lives and our country.  We couldn’t eat without a farmer.

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Nick Fanoe

Taylor Farms

Leafy Greens

The Fanoe family has farming roots that stem back five generations to 1870, when the family first immigrated from Denmark to begin farming fresh vegetables in the Salinas Valley. As a 5th generation farmer, Nick Fanoe carries on his family’s farming heritage and way of life. Nick and his team of twenty employees grow high quality lettuce, spinach and broccoli for customers on a scenic 700+ acre ranch nestled in the foothills of Salinas Valley. Fanoe Ranch has grown from humble beginnings as a simple pasture to a nimble family operation that produces over a million pounds of fresh vegetables weekly, something his ancestors never could have imagined possible. Nick has proficiently sustained his family ranch, which has been in production for over 100 years, though his knowledge gained from living and working the land his whole life.


Joe Pezzini

Joe Pezzini

Ocean Mist Farms

Artichokes

Joe Pezzini is the President and CEO of Ocean Mist Farms in Castroville, CA. Ocean Mist Farms is a 94-year-old grower-packer-shipper of artichokes and fresh vegetables in California, Arizona and Mexico. Joe was born and raised in Salinas and from a third-generation farming family. He attended Hartnell College before transferring to UC Davis, graduating with a B.S. in Agricultural Science and Management. He went on to earn a MBA from the Agribusiness Institute at the University of Santa Clara. After college, in 1983 Joe started with Boutonnet Farms as a farm manager, then becoming the managing partner for Valley Pride, a vegetable harvesting company in 1987. He became the Vice President of Operations for Ocean Mist Farms in 2001, responsible for Cooling Operations, Food Safety, R&D, Quality Assurance, Human Resources and Strategic Planning. In 2009, he become the Chief Operating Office and 2015 he was appointed President and CEO. Joe is a past Chairman of the Board of the Grower Shipper Association of Central California and past Chairman of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. He has served on other industry boards including; Grower-Shipper Association Foundation, Ag Against Hunger and the Produce Marketing Association.

He has also been honored with several awards, including the 2007 Agricultural Leader of the Year, the 2012 Valley of the World Ag Leader and 2018 Robert Carey Leadership Award.

Joe and his wife Mary have two grown children, David and Bess. Joe and Mary are avid gardeners, runners and share their home with a wide variety of animals including horses and peacocks.


Dale Huss

Dale Huss

Ocean Mist Farms

Artichokes

Current position: Ocean Mist Farms V.P. Artichoke Production; and,

Managing Partner of Sea Mist Farms (growers of artichokes and fresh vegetables).

Education:

  • B.S. in Plant Sciences from the University of Nevada Reno - 1984

Acknowledgements (Past & Present):

  • Industry Affiliated Organizations:

  • Chairman of the Sustainable Ag Water Corporation

  • Chairman of the Monterey County Water Recycling Projects “Water Quality and Operations Committee”

  • Past co – chair of the Watsonville Water Recycling Project’s Water Quality and Project

  • Operations Committee for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency.


Christopher Ranch Garlic

The Christophers

Christopher Ranch Garlic

Garlic

Like many immigrants, Ole labored long and hard to make his dreams a reality, eventually purchasing a tract of land ideal for planting an orchard. For the next twenty years, the Christopher family continued to add to their holdings, until they became one of the largest growers of prunes in the Santa Clara Valley. Ole’s grandson, Don Christopher, grew up on that original ranch, and worked side by side with his father in the orchards, but in 1956, Don set out to create a ranch of his own. Buying a plot of land in Gilroy – just ten miles south of where he was raised – Don and his brother, Art, decided to try their luck with a new kind of crop: Garlic. Planting French and Italian varieties, Don also found a variety of garlic that he thought was the most flavorful he had ever tasted. It had been cultivated in Italy for centuries, originating in the Piedmont area. Don planted this varietal, and it became the Ranch’s signature garlic, Monviso. Christopher Ranch has nurtured its Monviso heirloom seed line for over half a century to preserve its exceptional flavor. Ole’s great grandson, Bill, is now at the helm of Christopher Ranch, the largest grower, packer, and shipper of California garlic for the fresh market. Overseeing more than 5,000 acres of row crops including garlic, bell peppers and shallots, Bill stewards with the same steadiness of purpose and dedication to quality that has been the hallmark of the family business for over 60 years.


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Manuel Eduardo Vieira

A.V. Thomas

Sweet Potatoes

AV Thomas Produce is one of America’s leading suppliers of fresh conventional and certified organic sweet potatoes and yams in the United States. Livingston is one of the special places in the country with the warm climate and light, sandy soil necessary to grow sweet potatoes, and Mr. Tomas began growing them here in 1960. (Today more than 90 percent of California’s sweet potato crop is grown right in this area.) Mr. Tomas founded A.V. Thomas Produce with 10 acres in production and one small packing shed in downtown Livingston. Twelve years later, his nephew, Manuel Eduardo Vieira, joined the business. Also from the Island of Pico in the Azores, Mr. Vieira had just spent 10 years in Rio de Janeiro, earning a degree in Business Administration. He would spend the next five years learning the sweet potato trade at his uncle’s side. In 1977, Manuel E. Vieira bought A.V. Thomas Produce and began a new chapter in its history, investing in, growing and expanding the business into the industry leader it is today.


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Van Groningen

Van Groningen & Sons, inc.

Watermelon

Van Groningen & Sons is a continuation of a farming operation that started here in California in 1922 by Henry Van Groningen Sr. Henry arrived in America in 1910 from the Netherlands. He first farmed in Minnesota but then moved to Hanford, California in the Fresno area in 1922. There he started a dairy. In 1929 the family moved to Ripon, California. With the help of his four sons, Henry started another dairy and by 1939 began farming row crops. In 1945 Art and his brother, Henry, took over the family farm. This partnership between Art and his brother lasted for 25 years. After this long and successful partnership between the brothers, it became clear the the next generation was ready to get involved. Art's two sons, Robert and Dan, returned from military service and were ready to step into the family business. After they joined the business it only seemed natural that the two younger brothers, John and Marvin, would follow. While all four brothers where passionate about their family's farm, they could not have predicted the success that the combination of their talents would yield. For 30 years Art's four sons refined and expanded the family business successfully. With the new millennium Art's grandchildren began stepping in, all sharing their fathers' passion for the family business. Jason, Bryan, Ryan, Paul, and Monica have all joined Van Groningen & Sons, each bringing their own talents and expertise as well as their passion to continually improve this business that bears their name. The Van Groningen name has now become closely linked to melons, sweet corn, fall decor, and almonds. With a new generation of talent and passion, you are sure to see the Van Groningen farm last into the future.


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Nathan Peitso

Kenter Canyon Ranch

Tomatoes

The first version of our family farm began in the backyard of a cozy North Berkeley neighborhood where three friends collaborated and developed an efficient urban salad farm. Borrowing from the French Intensive practices, the observations of Rudolph Steiner and the collective wisdom of our community we managed to produce pounds and pounds of the gorgeous salad greens known in Provence as Mesclun. This slang word simply means mix and it describes a blend of small, young leaves of arugula, lettuces, dandelion, frisée, chervil, with extras like tiny nasturtium leaves, flowering herbs or whatever the garden happened to be offering on any given day. It was always a little different and it was always very beautiful and delicious. It was 1980 and the love of good food and community became the canvas for a food revolution. Authenticity, respect for the old ways and a passion for learning combined with a willingness to work hard and stay focused ignited a million ideas about eating seasonally, producing food sustainably and eating simple, minimally processed foods. Alice Waters and her restaurant, Chez Panisse led the charge. Andrea Crawford had the vision to see the possibilities for developing this salad model she had created for Alice Waters. With the help of cookbook author and friend, Isaac Cronin, she sent off a letter to Wolfgang Puck inquiring if he might be interested in a similar version of this salad garden for his restaurant, Spago. He called her when he received the letter and asked “when are you coming?” And in the fall of 1985, Andrea Crawford and her family relocated to Los Angeles where they developed the first urban salad garden and their work found a permanent home. Kenter Canyon Farms gradually evolved from a series of small suburban backyards and urban lots to our current base of operations in Ventura County where we farm on several small ranches, totaling 160 acres along the south side of the Santa Clara River. This is our “home base” where we grow most of our certified organic herbs, lettuces, vegetables and a selection of citrus and avocados.


Paul Scheid

Ocean Mist Farms

Brussels Sprouts

Paul grew up in the Oxnard area, which is near a lot of produce growing operations. His father was raised on a farm in the Midwest, and based on his experience, gave Paul a strong appreciation and passion for farming. Paul attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and earned a degree in crop science.  Shortly after, Paul began to work for Ocean Mist Farms. and has been there ever since. Headquartered in Castroville, California, Ocean Mist Farms is farming year-round in three ideal California growing regions: Castroville, Oxnard and Coachella each area is known for fertile ground and productive microclimates. Brussels sprouts are grown year round in California. California provides the perfect growing conditions for these delicious, bite-size gems.  Brussels sprouts plants grow two to three feet tall with stalks that produce 20 to 40 bulbs each. Our expert harvesters hand “pick” each sprout from their tall stalks which are then sorted by size on our state-of-the-art harvesting equipment.


Monterey Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Monterey

Earning the name "Salad Bowl of the World," it's no surprise that Monterey County is home to many farmers' markets of varying sizes and specialties. There's one on almost every day of the week, and two farmers' markets on several days of the week! No matter where you are - Pacific Grove, Carmel, Monterey, Marina, Salinas, Soledad or elsewhere in Monterey County - there's a farmers' market near you. See below to find the days and times of Monterey County farmers' markets, as well as links to maps of their locations.Many of these markets have not only fresh produce but also food booths from local chefs and restaurants serving up Monterey County's finest specialties. Live entertainment from local musicians makes Tuesday's Monterey market a particular local favorite.


To see previous seasons of Bringing it Home’s chefs, please click below