Courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
In March 2012, Nolan O’Brian, one of the Full Belly Farm interns interviewed orchard manager, Jesus Jacobo Garcia.
Where were you born?
My hometown is called “El Fuerte” (the strong). It’s a neighborhood in Sinaloa, a state in Mexico. It’s a beautiful part of the country. There are many farms there – mostly conventional but many are becoming organic as the demand for organic food grows.
Do you visit home often?
Until I’m a resident here I’m not allowed to visit my hometown. In two years I can apply for residency, and I’ll do that right away. I miss my dad and want to visit him. I think I have a good shot. Judith helped me get my Visa a few years back by sponsoring me. I’m thankful for that and think it will help me get residency.
Tell me about when you first came to Full Belly.
I started working at Full Belly 10 years ago. My last name is Jacobo, so you know how connected my family is to the farm! I’ve got cousins, uncles, and brothers here. My brother Victor probably was the one who most motivated me to find work at Full Belly.
What do you do at Full Belly?
When I first started working here, I did a little bit everything. I harvested produce. I worked in packaging and shipping. I cleaned produce. You name it. Then I shifted my attention and worked closely with my uncle in the fruit orchards. That’s when I learned how to prune trees, shape trees, help them grow strong, and harvest the best fruit. Little by little, as I got to know the owners and earned their trust, they gave me more responsibility. I got to spend more time working alone and making decisions. In time I’ve become the person in charge of the orchards.
Do you like your work?
I am very proud of my work. I go into the orchards every day, and it is my responsibility to care for the trees and find the best, most flavorful fruit. It can get very hot here, but despite the tough conditions, I get my job done and do it very well.
Speaking of tough conditions, what weather is hardest on the orchards?
Ice. Ice kills the leaves and ruptures the fruit. Too much rain and too little rain can be problems too. When it rains too much the bees don’t pollinate the trees, and during a drought, the orchards don’t get the energy they need. If the temperature is unusual for the season, that’s bad too. For example, if it gets warm and the trees sprout buds before there are bees here to pollinate, we’ll have a bad crop. (Jesus laughs). Basically, I want everything to be perfect.
I heard you might leave Full Belly. Is that true?
Yes. I love Full Belly, but I think I’d like to learn some new skills. I’m young and have been here for 10 years. Don’t get me wrong. Full Belly is great, and I’m incredibly grateful for everything the owners have provided me—not only work but also their respect and support. But at the same time, I think it’s time I try something new.
Ok, how about even more personal questions. What kind of music do you like?
I’ll talk about my music taste, but that’s as personal as I’ll get! (Jesus laughs) I like ranchero and norteño music the best, especially Chalino Sanchez. But I like American music too!