Meet the Silveira family—Robert (clockwise from top left) and his children Heather, Jacob, David, RJ, and Jonathan, ages 5 to 24. (Not pictured are Robert’s partner Susanna and two more kids in the clan, Henry and Karyn.) Together, they represent the fourth and fifth generation of Silveira family farmers. Yep, that means the Silveiras have been farming for over 100 years.
Today, Silveira Farms grows about 1,000 acres of California sweetpotatoes, as well as rye and almonds. And their packing and shipping company, Classic Yam, sends those sweetpotatoes all over the US, Canada, and Mexico. Recently, they added Dubai. Imagine that—California sweetpotatoes enjoyed in Dubai!
“The best thing about growing sweetpotatoes,” says Robert, “is the fact that I’m supplying America with a highly nutritional food while simultaneously carrying on the family legacy.” Bottom line, every day Robert gets to make a difference globally and as locally as his own dinner table. Pretty cool.
And that’s a big family at the Silveira table. But they make the most of the San Joaquin Valley setting. “On a typical evening, you can find us barbecuing and enjoying the outdoors.” How about recreation? “A farmer is constantly working, but in between, we like outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, and quad riding.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Robert’s favorite way to enjoy sweetpotatoes is outdoors as well. He cooks them straight in the charcoal as he’s barbecuing.
And if a fourth-generation farmer tells us how to cook a sweetpotato, we bet he knows what he's talking about.