Meet Donald and Mike Valpredo, the father and son team behind Country Sweet Produce and the Bako Sweet brand. They farm over 1,200 acres of sweetpotatoes—about of half of which are organic—along with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, and melons.
It all began in 1972, when Manuel Vieira (left) visited California from Brazil to attend a wedding. Back then, his uncle, Antonio Vieira Tomas, had a farming business in the Livingston area. Manuel liked what he saw and stayed.
Meet the Silveira family. Together, they represent the fourth and fifth generation of Silveira family farmers.
Asked what he likes best about farming, Francisco will tell you he simply likes being out in the fields, on the land.
Meet Aaron Silva (left to right), his dad Stan, and brother Ben. Together, they represent two generations of a four-generation sweetpotato family.
“As the only agriculturally minded son-in law, I was invited to join the operation in 1984,” says Robert. Rodolfo Rosas—who Robert affectionately calls “mi mano derecho”—started about the same time.
Meet Jim Snyder (left), an extended member of the sweetpotato family, with some of his Livingston Farmers Association staff—Rosa Gutierrez, Jennifer Donovan, Andy Parsons, and Marli Foster (left to right).
D & S Farms is a multi-generational sweetpotato operation in Atwater, California. David Souza, top right, is joined by son David (left), business partner Michael Duarte (bottom left), and Michael’s son-in-law, Brian Carter (right).
"I love watching sweetpotatoes come out of the ground and up the chain of the harvester," says Craig Arnold of Arnold Farms, pictured here with his wife and kids—Amanda, Addisyn, and Tavin. "It's nice to see the results of the year's hard work."
Adam Shaner is Farm Manager for Quail H Farms of Livingston, California. He overseas the growing seasons of several crops, including about 750 acres of sweetpotatoes, both conventional and organic.
Say hello to Jason Tucker, sweetpotato farmer, husband, and proud dad of four daughters. Jason farms 350 acres in California’s Merced County. He also keeps busy through volunteer work, both at church and the girls’ school, and attends as many of their sporting events as possible. “We are a very active family,” he says.
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.
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.”
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.”