Here’s what you’re left with after spending time with the Torres family—they are sweet! Getting them together for a photo, Francisco (counter clockwise from bottom), daughter Nancy, son Francisco, and wife Berna can’t stop laughing, teasing each other, and just generally having a good time. It’s pretty infectious. (Not pictured is Francisco’s eldest daughter and one-year old son, David.)
Francisco Torres is both a sweetpotato farmer and a manufacturer of sweetpotato farming equipment. “We make harvesters, planters, packing lines for packers, cultivators,” he explains, “all the equipment for sweetpotatoes.” And he’s been doing it for 30 years. Francisco started sweetpotato farming relatively recently, in 2008. Why? His equipment business was seasonal, but by adding farming he could employ people in the fabrication shop year-round. “They maintain my farming equipment during the winter.” Nifty.
Asked what he likes best about farming, Francisco will tell you he simply likes being out in the fields, on the land. “I prefer it to sitting in the office with the air conditioning. Sometimes I stay there because there’s work to do, but—I’d rather be on the farm.”
The secret to Torres family closeness? Apparently, the family that farms together has fun together. “My son and daughter have worked with me since they were 11 years old. My wife, everybody helps.” He says it works because the others also enjoy being on the farm. “We’re happy together.”
And we’re happy the Torres family is part of the California Sweetpotato family.