Know Your Grower: Steve McGuire
At Well•Pict, 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 third installment of “Know Your Grower,” it is our pleasure to introduce you to Steve McGuire:
WP: What is your background as a grower?
SM: I started my farming career when I was 20; I was offered a job with only one qualification: must be a hard worker. I only had to commit for one year, but I enjoyed the work so much that I just stayed on and never returned to school. I’ve been a strawberry grower for 38 out of my 42 years of working as a farmer. I started at the bottom of the ladder and worked my way up to management. Every job I’ve ever had was a learning experience (both good and bad), and I am still learning today.
IMAGE: Steve and his wife Darlene
WP: Why strawberries? What about vegetables or a different fruit?
SM: I tried vegetables, but berries were in my blood; I missed the uniqueness and challenges that no other crop can give me.
WP: What is your relationship with Tim Miyasaka and the Well•Pict brand?
SM: Well•Pict and Tim hired me at the turn of the century, and I’m the luckiest guy alive. Tim took me under his wing and became my mentor. We have a very strong bond. He has taught me so much—it’s hard to describe properly—but, his best lesson was that as long as you work hard and treat others like you want to be treated, things should work out. I lost my father shortly after I started working for Tim, and he knew I still needed guidance. He was there for me and provided personal support. I know we will always be there for each other through good times and bad.
WP: What are some of the methods you use to grow high-quality Well•Pict Berries?
SM: The growing of berries is twofold: you are trying to grow the healthiest plant you can, but at the same time you’re trying to grow the most marketable and tastiest berry. You have to strike a balance between the two. For example, too much plant growth is bad for fruit, too little growth and you won’t yield a crop at all.
WP: Do you have any favorite berry recipes? If so, what are they?
SM: We really enjoy a good strawberry crisp. I’m happy to share the recipe:
Easy Strawberry Crisp
Preheat oven to 350 F.
For the berry mixture:
1/2 cup brown sugar (or Splenda)
2 tbsp flour (or Gluten-free flour, 1:1)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a large mixing bowl, combine above ingredients with 2 lb hulled and sliced strawberries.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 8x8x2 pan and set aside.
For the “crisp”:
1/2 cup flour (or Gluten-free flour, 1:1)
1/2 cup brown sugar (or Splenda )
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup quick oats (or Gluten-free quick oats, 1:1)
Mix together in a large bowl and spoon the mixture into the pan over the strawberries.
Bake for 45 minutes.
IMAGE: Dakota, Steve, and Darlene’s beautiful dog