David Alvarez, 2014 Young Grower (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

age / 28
crops / Organic cherries and apples
title / Farm manager
business / Adolfo Alvarez Farm David works with his father, Adolfo, and his uncles.
education / Graduated from Prosser High School and learned from his family on one of the largest organic cherry orchards in the Yakima Valley.

Q: What was your path to farming?
One year, Dad just needed help for harvest. It’s hard finding good help on the farm. So I just helped him out one year and I liked it. I liked seeing him happy, and working with him made me feel good about myself. The farm isn’t just about my dad, it’s about my whole family that works here.

Q:  What challenges have you faced?
I had a kid when I was 17. That was hard. My son is important to me, and he needs to see that work ethic that Dad showed us. I want to pass that on to him.

Q:  What challenges does your farm face?
Right now we have new trees that we planted two years ago that are now seven feet tall through the love and care we’ve given them. Cleaning them up, giving them water, and doing all the stuff we need to do to provide for these trees because they take care of us when we take care of them. The trees and the new packing house is our future. Maybe next year we will be running all our cherries through the new warehouse, and maybe even other people’s cherries.

Q:  Why grow organically?
It’s better fruit. Everything works better. The soil is healthier, which helps the trees grow.

Q:  What would you tell others about being a farmer?
I understand that it’s hard work and it takes a lot out of you. But it’s something that I just love to do with my family. I learned mostly in the field from my dad. I really try to learn from my ­mistakes and listen to what he says, and try to do better at all times. At the end of the day, when you’re done, you feel good.