Meet some of our California Sweetpotato growers. Many of their farms are family-run, and many have been in the business for generations. We're sure that once you get to know them, you'll love them as much as we do.
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). D & S Farms employs about 100 throughout Merced County, farms 860 acres of sweetpotatoes (60 organic), and packs and ships through their own company, Atwater Packing
"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."
And he ought to know. Craig is a 4th generation sweetpotato grower in Winton, California.
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. His duties include budgeting and crop planning, plus supervising planting, equipment, maintenance, harvesting, and employees. Quail H Farms also grows carrots, winter squash, forage crops (feed for livestock), and almonds. The company employs about 75 full-time staff members.
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. “Recently, I took my three older daughters to work at an orphanage in Mexico. I wanted to teach my kids the value of showing love to others, that we need to care for the orphans and widows in their distress. It was a humbling experience and I am so proud of my kids for getting out of their comfort zone to serve others."
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.