Kate Moser, Young Grower from Walnut Grove, California
TJ Mullinax // April 15, 2014
age / 33 crops / wine grapes, 200 acres in apples, 100 acres pears, business / Darsie, Hutchinson & Pettigrew, Inc. education / English and journalism focus other experience / Learning from father and and ranch foreman Alfonso Casillas about the daily operation of the farm
Q: What was your path to farming? I studied English in college, and then I went to journalism school and was working as a newspaper reporter when my dad asked me if I’d like to join the business. So now I’m working for the family.
Q: Are you learning old and new farming techniques? A little bit of both. It’s going to take me years to learn a lot of the stuff that I need to know. Right now I’m doing a lot of paying attention and learning from the people who are my teachers. I have some ideas of how things can be done differently and some hopes for making changes that could be good for the business for the long run.
Q: What are some of those ideas? We just took out our 100- year-old Bartlett pears and are putting in wine grapes over the next three years, so that’s a big change. We’ll adapt the farm as needed.
Q: What challenges do you face in the next five years? Well, it’s a huge deal just trying not to make any devastating mistakes learning how to grow a whole new crop. Labor shortages continue to be a real concern, and that’s part of the motivation for planting grapes because we will be able to machine harvest.
TJ Mullinax joined Good Fruit Grower as digital producer and photojournalist in 2013. He photographs and edits visual stories for the print magazine and online publishing spaces. Along with editorial production, TJ develops and maintains the magazine’s digital products. -- Follow the author: Phone: (509) 853-3519 -- Email