Matt Alvernaz is a 4th generation sweetpotato farmer and grandson of one of California’s sweetpotato pioneers, “Sweetpotato Joe” Alvernaz. “Farming isn’t the easiest path, but it’s the life we love,” says Matt. “We farm for our family and our legacy, but also for the many families our product feeds.” Matt’s favorite way to enjoy sweetpotatoes? “On a weekly basis, our family makes sweetpotato fries or skillet hash.” Sweeeet, Matt!
Meet Nolan Mininger, husband, father of four beautiful girls—plus a puppy named Mario!—and sweetpotato farmer. “I love the challenge of each new day” on the land, says Nolan. “And the array of crops produced in the San Joaquin Valley is incredible to behold.”
Nolan and his grandfather Daryl grow 1100 acres of sweetpotatoes in Merced County, and have been farming in California for generations. Is it any wonder we’re sweet on the Miningers?
Meet Bob Weimer, who with his brother Walt, is a 2nd generation California Sweetpotato farmer. “I’ve been on the farm since I was born,” says Bob, “and have been farming pretty much all of my adult life.” Besides sweetpotatoes—both standard and organic—the brothers grow peaches, almonds, and walnuts, too, employing 30 to 100 people at any given time during the year. He’s also a school board member and on the board of directors of both the community health center and a growers’ cooperative. “There’s a lot of positive things going on here, a lot of diversity,” Bob says of Merced County. “There’s relationship within the community because it’s not so big, it brings a lot of different people together.” The best way to enjoy sweetpotatoes? “Bake them, cut them open, and add some good butter. Simple.” And sweeet!