Know Your Grower: Angel Ledezma
At Well•Pict Berries, we make no secret how much we believe in our product, we believe in our packaging, and we believe in every little thing we do to bring you the freshest, most superb berries around. Well, none of what we do, what we believe in with all our hearts, would be possible without our fantastic, highly dedicated growers. We’re pretty glad to know them, and we think you will be too. For this second installment of “Know Your Grower,” it is our pleasure to introduce you to Angel Ledezma:
WP: What is your background as a grower?
AL: I’ve been growing raspberries for Well•Pict for ten years now. Before that, I grew strawberries for a competing brand.
WP: What is your relationship with Tim Miyasaka and the Well•Pict brand?
AL: Awhile back, I managed a strawberry ranch for one of Mr. Miyasaka’s independent growers and became familiar with Tim and the Well•Pict brand. I quickly learned that their strawberries are of high demand and shipped worldwide. Now, I’ve been given the opportunity to make the same impact with raspberries. About thirty percent of the raspberries we harvest during the fall cycle are exported to other countries, including Japan. Amazingly, even in Japan, they too can enjoy Well•Pict Berries.
WP: When did you embark on a career as a grower; do you have a family history with the industry?
AL: My family has always been involved in the agricultural industry, whether it be running beef cattle, growing crops, or milking cows for a dairy operation. Our father made sure one or two—and sometimes all five of his sons were around to help out. So, naturally, as I was exposed to the berry industry, I learned of how delicate and weather-sensitive berries can sometimes be; I became more interested in the growing of them. Knowing that a grower can produce delicious and nutritious berries is very rewarding. I guess it’s that farming mentality that I and many others possess when it comes to growing.
WP: What are some of the methods you use to grow high-quality Well•Pict Berries in the warmer months?
AL: In Oxnard, California, we now grow all our raspberries in coir.¹ A coco coir brick is placed into a 10-liter container. Next, the pre-measured brick is watered to make it expand. Once it has expanded, it becomes soft enough to plant in. You then can grow the plant like you would in soil, but without having to worry about disturbing the soil. Another benefit of coir is that you don’t have to fumigate the ground. This method should eliminate any soil-borne diseases. Also, we are hoping to use less water and fertilizers by growing this way. This is still a work in progress. But, as of now, the berries are looking and tasting just as delicious as those grown in soil.
WP: Do you have any favorite berry recipes? If so, what are they?
AL: My favorite raspberry dessert recipe is very simple. All it takes is a graham cracker pie crust, and you can buy those at any supermarket. You fill the crust with rinsed raspberries and then you load it with whipped cream. It’s quick to make and very delicious.
¹Coir is a natural fiber extracted from the outer husk of coconuts; it can be used for a variety of household, gardening, and industry needs.