Fair Hills Apple Farm Interview with Yaneth and Alex
Fair Hills Apple Farm was first founded by Alex's Father Arnulfo. Alex didn't see himself being a farmer himself at the beginning but he was able to take over the farm and expand it. Fair Hills Apple farm is located in San Luis Obispo county. Their farm truly care for the health of their orchard and the quality of the fruits that they produce. Get to know more about the farm through our conversation with Alex and Yaneth:
Alex grew up in the farm and eventually took over the farm from his father. Yaneth was going to school for business administration and he was brought in to manage the farm.
What does a typical week look like for you?
It's a little different every week. For instance this week we spray a bunch of certified organic fertilizer. I have my crew sorting fruits for the market and. Tuesdays and Fridays we send a truck to the farmers market and we also do deliveries. We usually pick in August since apple and stone fruit have a longer shelf life.
Who is helping on the farm?
It's mostly me (Alex) and I have four other staff for support. My dad is in charge of planning the farming such as picking the right spray, fertilizer and everything is on track.
What crops do you grow during different seasons?
They mostly grow apples and stone fruits. Apples are grown for a full year and stone fruits are from March to June/July. We juice around 30,000 32 oz juices this year and 16-18 different blends. Our juice is 100% cold press so nothing is added to it which makes it completely apple juice.
What is the most difficult challenge your farm is facing right now?
Sampling is very hard to do now. We used to be able to allow people to try out the apples or apple juice when they ask how it tastes like. Now, we can’t do that anymore and its affecting the sales.
Share one thing that you are most proud of about your farm.
Our product. Our apples. I can certainly say that the quality is good. We’re also proud of how the business is expanding. We’re soon trying to sell directly to consumers.
Share one thing you like the most about being a farmer.
I enjoy what I do because not a single do I do the same thing. I do a variety of things which keeps me going. As a person I like what I do.
What do you wish most people knew more about sustainable farming?
I wish people would see the effort that we put on the orchard then they would appreciate it more. From thinning, picking to pruning takes a lot of time. Thinning is necessary to let a single apple grow from a bunch of little sprouts of apples. Pruning is the process of shaving and trimming the individual apple trees. They donate about 4000 ounces of apples to the food bank.
What is the best way for people to support your farm?
Spread the word. Buy from the farmer markets. Our juices are also available.
Where do you see your farm in the next 5 years? 10 years?
We would like to produce more apples that could support the production of juices. The juice sales have been doing very good since we launched them so we want to continue to support that. Russel also wants to focus more on direct to consumers and build that relationship with the customers.
Fair Hills Apple Farm donated about 4000 ounces of apples to the food bank last year.