This is How We Grow
Family of Farmers
Art Thomas, a third generation farmer, and his family have farmed this land since 1900 growing fresh, wholesome blueberries since 1940. He raised his own family here and he can’t imagine it any other way. “I love it. It’s the most enjoyable and fulfilling job I can imagine; I want to grow the best in taste, quality, and safety.” We’re proud to have Art Thomas as a member of our family of farmers.
Bill and George Fritz
Meet Bill and George Fritz. The brothers and their families grow fresh blueberries near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. As third generation farmers, they have been farming their entire lives. The family berry farm planted its first blueberries when Bill was born. Bill and George worked on the farm through high school and college and now keep every member of the family busy on 250 acres. “I love to grow things,” says Bill. “I’ve done it all my life and I find it very rewarding.” We’re proud to have the Fritz family as a part of our family of farmers.
Bob Varni is a third generation farmer in Salinas, California. His father and grandfather farmed apples in the Pajaro Valley for the last 80 years. After getting started with apples, Bob set his sights on raspberries and strawberries by getting his PCA license, then became involved with crop management. In 2002, Bob began his own farming operation of strawberries and has been a proud grower for Naturipe ever since.
The Bocock family of Michigan exemplifies family farming, growing fresh, healthy blueberries just east of Lake Michigan. In 1978 parents Ed and Joyce started farming on 12 acres. Today, with 170 acres and three hands-on generations including the youngest grandkids, what began as a family project has turned into a legacy. Farming is Ed Bocock’s way of keeping his family close to him. “Each harvest, we bring everybody together,” beams Ed. “It’s the hardest job I’ve ever loved.” We’re proud to have the Bocock family as a part of our family of farmers.
Chuck Dailey, Jr.
Meet Naturipe® grower Chuck Dailey, Jr. of South Haven, Michigan. As a fourth generation farmer, Chuck grows blueberries along the cool shores of Lake Michigan. With his wife Kathleen, Chuck farms 250 acres of fresh berries. “I feel blessed to have the ability to be a good farmer and gratified to produce healthy, great-tasting berries,” said Chuck. We’re proud to have Chuck as a part of our family of farmers.
David and Kable Munger
David and Kable Munger are partners in farming fresh blueberries in the rich soil of California’s San Joaquin Valley. As teens, they came with their parents from northern India and worked in the family peach orchard. In 2000, the brothers planted blueberries, adopting a sustainable approach to farming. Success has come through hard work and a commitment to quality. We’re proud to have family farmers David and Kable Munger as a part of our family of farmers.
About 13 years ago, Fuad Faran started in the blueberry business. He had 8 hectares to work with in an area located in Huepil, eigth zone. Today, the blueberries are predominant in generating income for Fuad and because of the positive outcome; it has been the root of his other agriculture projects.
Gary Nakamura is a second generation strawberry farmer in Oxnard, California. His father, James, now in his 80s, started farming in 1952 with 20 acres. Today, Gary oversees about 420 acres and is bringing his son Jeff into the family business. At 23, Jeff is learning from his father that quality is of utmost importance. “I would rather farm for quality than volume,” says Gary. We’re proud to have the Nakamura family as part of our family of farmers.
Germán Novión is a second generation farmer in Chile and has been producing blueberries, pomegranate and currant’s since the 1980s. Along with his team, they produce more than 800 acres in five producing stages. Their operations consist of north to south regions in farms that are about 1500 km in distance from one another and with a 6 month harvest per year. For their family and team, working with berries is a part of their healthy lifestyle.
Guillermo Maino Canales
Guillermo Maino Canales is a first generation farmer in Chile. In 1999 he produced 2, 8 hectares of blueberries of the O’Neal variety in the Quinta de Tilcoco zone in the sixth region thanks to the Alessandrini family. Due to their hard work and support from Hortifrut, he has 14 hectares of blueberries of different varieties which he produces for Hortifrut. The blueberry production has made Guillermo grow as a farmer, it has also taught him a great value; a better quality of life for the people.
Meet George and Henry Ito of Ventura County, California. These third generation farmers grow fresh strawberries in the cool coastal climate near the Pacific Ocean. “We take great pride in following in the footsteps of our father and grandfather. We learned much from them and this hard work is rewarding,” say George and Henry. With over 500 acres in Oxnard, Camarillo and Ventura, they grow sweet, healthy berries that people love to eat. We’re proud to have the Ito brothers as a part of our family of farmers.
Jesus Villasante-Producer of Rucahue Group
About 20 years ago, Jesus Villasantes family harvested the first production of blueberries in Panguipulli, Chile. Today they are comfortable with the project of blueberries in conjunction with the evolution that they have had in the past years of new varieties and expanding markets.
Naturipe® grower John Bennett has farmed fresh blueberries since 1975. He started out as a school teacher with just 10 acres and a desire to work outdoors with his sons. Over 30 years and 300 acres later, John farms his land alongside his sons Vance and Reed. John found that working outdoors and growing tasty, healthful blueberries gave him great satisfaction. We’re proud to have John as a part of our family of farmers.
Rolando Leons family has been in Chile’s agriculture industry since the 1940s, his father Rolando Leon Besnier initiated the production of blueberries in 1992 with only 5 hectares. He became the director in 2000 with the sole purpose of extending their blueberry production and in 2003 they became organic, free of pesticides. He is very grateful to be able to continue his family’s tradition which has given him many personal satisfactions along the way.
Four generations have linked together from the Chilean farms in the VIII region in Chile. Thirty years ago Victor Mollers family started with the production of berries with only 3 hectares. Today with the help of Hortifrut, they now administer close to 2000 hectares. It has been of great value to them, to know that the berries they have been growing are of high nutritious levels-“without doubt it is a super food.” They are proud to work with excellent partners and feel that they are of great support in the quality of life for present and future generations.