Our membership spotlights feature farmers from all walks of life and this time we’re introducing you to a farmer who started his farm this year! Eraclio Duenas founded FDA farms in January of 2023 in Hollister CA. Here he shares a few insights into his new endeavor and his love for growing food. We hope you enjoy leaning more and continue to support farmers like him.
Why does being a CAFF member matter to you?
CAFF is important because they support my growing operation, and other growers like me. Their assistance with food safety and organic certification has been extremely beneficial for small growers in my community. In addition to the knowledge and support they provide throughout the process, they are able to offer financial assistance, like the discount for new organic certifications with CCOF. This makes a huge impact for small businesses like mine.
How did you get started farming?
I started FDA farms in January of 2023, and began planting in May, following the rains and flooding of early 2023. I began my own business using the knowledge and experience I developed operating Jardine’s Farm for 35 years. The founders of Jardine’s gave me autonomy to operate the business as if it was my own. I had pride in the products we produced and the way that the operation ran. When Jardines dissolved in November of 2022, I brought the lessons learned from Jardines into my own business.
When quality was good, I was excited to harvest all that we had, and excited to bring the product to market. I did my best to always harvest the good products we had and hold tight when the markets were difficult to navigate. When a product did well in the market, I planted more, and when products were not successful, I steered away from them until there was room in the market again.
In my own business, FDA Farms, I enjoy the autonomy of making those choices on my own. To always bring a product that I am proud of, that I have put my heart into.
What is your favorite moment in a day of farming?
My favorite moments are in the early morning when I arrive at the farm. To see my fields strong, with good product, covered in dew, and shining in the soft morning light. In these moments, I see the beauty of farming, and have pride in my work.
If the average consumer could know one thing about farming, what would it be?
If I could say one thing to consumers, I would say “thank you for buying organic products. Thank you for choosing a product we work so hard to produce without chemicals; a product that is safe for the land, and safe for people growing, harvesting, and consuming it.”