Articles, Blog

The New California Farmer


(music) (engine hums) So, our day-to-day,
there’s a lot going on, but there’s not a lot
going on at the same time. Vineyard work kind of comes in waves. So, there’s times of year where it’s really just
irrigating and watching it grow. And then there’s times
of year where it’s like, something’s gotta get done right now. I’m Tara Coronado, I’m 28, I’m a fifth generation farmer in the Sacramento River Delta. And I am the owner of Beaver Vineyards. (music) (pen scratches) When you picture a farmer, picturing an older male is typical. Because that’s who they are, that’s probably the majority of farmers in America right now. I grew up on a farm, just
a little upriver from here. But I was never encouraged to be a farmer. It was never talked about, and I think it was because my parents knew the struggles of farming. So they encouraged me and
my sister to go to college, and find our own path in life. So I ended up moving
away, and I was a nanny. So my nanny job gave
me a two-week vacation, and it happened to be during corn harvest. So I came home, I helped
my dad with corn harvest, and something just clicked. I knew this was what I wanted to do. I loved being out here on the farm. – Hi dad. How’s it going? – My dad didn’t really want
me to get into growing corn, he just felt like I needed to learn about other crops and
other areas of agriculture. He saw this program called
the California Farm Academy, and he suggested that I look into it. It was such a great program, there was about 15 of us in the class, and only me and one other guy were from farming backgrounds. So I think we are going
through a new transition of people being interested
– how do I grow my own food, or where does my food come from? So there’s this new wave. (mischievous music) The thing that class did for me was it forced me to write a business plan. I finished that class with a business plan
called Beaver Vineyards. 2018 we planted, and then in 2020 we’ll
get our first harvest. But it’s gonna be a while, ’til I can afford an employee to help me just do this
little stuff, you know? I mean I’d love to have
one now if I could, but I don’t have any income. I have no income off
this, until we harvest. My dream for Beaver Vineyards
is to not be in debt. Which I think is like
every farmer’s dream. Because I think a lot of farmers take out a loan every single year. And they gotta pay that
loan off every single year. Through social media I’ve
connected with some women that have moved to other states to be able to buy property. I mean, their property is half the price of what it is here. My dad’s side of the family
immigrated from Belgium. And they came straight to California. So it’s like, this is where we’re at. But it is so expensive
to do anything here. Anything. A lot of farmers are selling. And I think there is a pressure, and this is why my dad
discouraged me from doing corn, is you have to have so many acres to make it.
– Hi! – Where small farms are
normally like mixed vegetables and stuff like that, and I think
the diversity is important. And I think small farms
are really important. Because I think people who start farming a little bit smaller, I hope that they’re
gonna be more successful. (music)

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