How It All Started
Being a farmer was not the obvious path for me. I didn’t grow up being trained to take over the family farm. I grew up sleeping in tractors, running barefoot in irrigation ditches, and collecting eggs from the chicken coop. My childhood was farm life, yet for some reason I never saw it as my career.
I’ve always felt a pull in two directions. I wanted to be out exploring, but I never wanted to be so far that I couldn’t go home when it called. Throughout my teens and early 20s I was lost on my true passion. I loved photography and I loved working with children, but deep down there was still something else tugging at me. I worked with children for years. I started out as a swim coach and a lifeguard, later I worked in a day care, then I become a full-time nanny. I absolutely loved being a nanny. It really did feel like a dream job. I was so happy, and I became a part of that family.
Even with the love for my job, I got home sick. This was a new feeling for me, because even though I never wanted to be too far, homesickness wasn’t a thing. I found myself going home as often as possible. During a 2 week vacation from nannying I went back home to help my dad harvest corn. During the 2 weeks it hit me. This was it. This was the life I wanted. I wanted to be outside every day, I wanted to be in the field, in the dirt. I wanted to live on a farm where my future children could have the same amazing childhood I had. This is what had been deep down, pulling at me, all along. I knew there was no going back.
I made the extremely hard decision to leave a job and family I loved, to follow an even bigger dream. I’ve been lucky enough to stay close with that family till this day!
February 1st, 2015, I packed my bags and I moved home. When I moved home to start working with my dad, I think there were mixed emotions of excitement and worry. My parents knew first hand that farming was not an easy career choice. There is no guarantee in farming. Family farms go under every year, the world isn’t making it easy to work in agriculture, even though the population couldn’t exist without it. But I was determined.
Before I made the move my dad told me he would support my want to farm, but that he didn’t want to see me farming corn for the rest of my life. The search for my own path began. I promptly started a 7 month program called California Farm Academy. It was wonderful! For 7 months we spend half our time in the field doing hands on work. The other half was spent visiting other farms, meeting successful farmers, and learning everything we possibly could. It was the best possible thing for me to be doing at that time. I only knew a few things about farming, and this opened up the entire farming world to me. At the end of the 7 months we each had to present a business plan to 5 successful people in agriculture. This was the real game changer for me. I had to pick a crop and commit. Being only an hour from Napa and 20 minutes from Lodi, wine grapes had slowly been taking over the River Delta. I felt like I could make enough connections that I could write my business plan on developing a vineyard.
I wrote a business plan on developing 50 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, not knowing that this was the foundation to the vineyard I would plant only two and a half years later.