Roger Hudson, a young grower from Sanger, California
TJ Mullinax // February 24, 2016
family background / Roger is a sixth-generation grower of about 180 acres of tree fruit in the Sanger and Del Rey communities. He has a sister, Charlotte, and is the son of Liz and Earl Hudson. age / 27 crops / Peaches, nectarines and plums business / Hudson Farms
What was your path to farming? I’m just a day-one farmer. I’ve been working the farm full time the past six years. I had one of our drivers the other day say that he remembered me hanging off a bin trailer when I was 9 years old helping sort fruit.
Farming is what I know, it’s what I’ve done, and I enjoy it. I love that I can get up early and work alongside my family. I’d tell friends, “Look, there’s 20 acres of land over there — go buy it, and I’ll help you farm it. We’ll get it going.” It’s an awesome way to live, out on the farm.
What’s your workload during the season? Right away I’d say to someone getting into farming that you can’t be afraid of hard work. You’ve got to be ready to get to work and get it done.
During the summertime I get up before 5 a.m. or so to change the water and make sure everything’s ready to go for the day. When everyone starts picking, I’m on the forklift till 5 p.m. or sundown.
Then I go out and change water again. For me, I just get my work done — it’s my main concern. I’m sure down the road, I’ll get more involved with the business side of things.
My job is to ensure the farm is working well, the fruit is top notch and that there’s water on the ground.
What challenges do you face in Sanger? We’ve got some pretty good dirt for our farm. About the only concern is water availability.
We’re doing fine right now with our wells. All of our water has been pumped for the past two years. Around here, you’ve gotta have good pumps, and farmers need to be planning to drill new wells.
They say gambling in California’s illegal, but it’s not when you’re a farmer.
Are you looking at new crops or varieties for the future? I’m all in on stone fruit. I know a lot of farmers around here who aren’t. I don’t see any reason to change to a different crop.
Maybe I’ll be looking at new varieties, just to stay up with the times. We split our peaches, half cling and half for fresh market.
If the nectarine, plum or peach market isn’t good in a particular year, the processed fruit helps. Either way, the market will be good on either cling or freestone year-to-year.
How are you approaching the future? My dad has always had the philosophy that you’ve got to go with the times. There’s a million old-style farming practices that people still use, and some’ll never go by the wayside.
But I pay attention as technology picks up and little things advance, like spray nozzles that work better. Or if a new variety comes out and it’s good. You’ve just got to keep moving forward because things are always changing.
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