The Beet

Today is National CSA Day! If you’re contemplating joining our program, we are offering $10 off your first bag to celebrate. Use COUPON CODE CSADAY2019$10 when signing up.

Today we also honor our founding father, Pat Herbert, who celebrated his 50th year farming last year!

FROM BECKY HERBERT:

These days, Dad and I work so much we don’t get to see each other very often so we’ve made it a routine to have dinner together regularly to catch up. During our last dinner a couple of weeks ago, he casually mentioned last year was 50 years that he has been farming. He said it nonchalantly like he was just letting me know he finished the book he had been reading. No big deal. I, on the other hand, was like “Why didn’t I know about this? This is monumental!” To which he replied, “It doesn’t mean anything except that I’m old.”

Spoken like a true, humble farmer. Like a man whose relationship with his land is so ingrained in his blood he can’t consider retiring because he can’t not wonder what the heck he would do with his time if he weren’t raising vegetables.

I am so proud to be his daughter. Eating with the Seasons wouldn’t exist without his example of hard work and dedication he has shown me all my life. And in fact he started our family’s CSA many years ago. It’s true the program officially started in 2000, two years before I joined him to take it over, but in actuality, his first try at a CSA was in the late 50’s when he was 11 or 12 years old growing up on the Herbert Ranch where he had a garden. He raised lots of different vegetables and Hollister residents came and purchased the food he produced. I love this story. It speaks to his true self now at nearly 73 years old – putting seeds in the ground is just something he has to do. It’s part of his life. Like most people these days must get the new phone upgrade when it becomes available.

I’ve been compared to Dad a lot over the 17 years I’ve been running the CSA. Always overambitious, too big of a dreamer for our 24 hour day to get it all done. I wouldn’t change if I could though. My career is an organic evolution of my passion for healthy food. That passion was ignited the year my parents gave me a job helping them market their CSA and it has gone from cooking vegetables for myself to cooking prepared meals for CSA members to having my own restaurant to serve the residents of Hollister healthy food based around the vegetables that are in season.

And yes, in case you are wondering, there is another step. I just turned a corner in my journey that, if a year ago someone were to tell me I was going to take this road, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. But like all the turns on the journey I’ve been on, this has been a natural new path that started taking shape over the last year when customers started asking me for advice on what to eat based on their health issues and diet restrictions.

Last month I started taking nutrition courses online through Cornell University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. My intent is to become a health coach. Adding this service to Eating with the Seasons seems like the natural next step for helping people with their food. And if you are in need of guidance my hope is you will let me help you. It has been nothing short of gratifying to see people with limited diets with smiles on their faces after I’ve shown them ways they can still enjoy flavorful food on their plate. My plan is to not just offer coaching, but there will be opportunity to experience hands-on training with food and recipes.

My pride in Dad has not just been from a career perspective but he has also been an influence in underscoring the need to offer healthy food to people after he changed his diet completely to overcome heart disease. Likewise, he has been an example for me to maintain a healthy diet of my own. After my bout with ovarian cancer 7 years ago, I am more dedicated to a healthy diet than ever. I want to be nearly 73 scoffing at people who ask me when I am going to retire. My goal with the coaching is to share my experience and knowledge with others to help people live a full, healthy life. So while Dad continues growing the vegetables for us despite his qualifying retirement age, I’ll use his crops to Spread the Health!

FROM LAURA HERBERT: 

I was enjoying my Friday evening dinner with my parents when dad brought up that is was his 50th year of farming. It brought back so many fond memories of going to work with him on Saturdays when I was young and seeing firsthand how he spent his days. The one-on-one time with him was something I relished. His drive and love for what he was doing was always apparent in every task that was at hand. I admired that about him.

Each Saturday I spent with him was different; however, one thing was always for certain, there was never a dull moment! We would drive around to the different fields of crops to check on their progress. Dad would be out of truck and in the field before my short legs could catch me up to him. We fixed equipment in the packing shed when needed. We inventoried onions that were packed up on the pallets at the end of the day. There was always work to be done and dad rarely slowed down, except when a friend would stop by to catch up.

When I got older and was able to start working for my parents, I was more than happy to spend more time at the ranch. It was a comforting place for me and getting to be around different members of my family was definitely a perk. From my teenage years until my early twenties, I worked for my parents in some capacity. I started out sorting peppers and onions during the summer season. That transitioned to helping more in the packing shed and eventually to administrative work in the office.

I did move on for a while. I went to college. I also worked with kids and loved it! But, when Becky approached me about working for her when she started Eating with the Seasons, I jumped at the chance. The thought of being able to work on the farm and so closely with my family again made me excited. 13 years later, I feel blessed to still be working here and I can also say that the work ethic I saw in dad from the Saturdays spent with him, was instilled in me. And now, not only do I work on the farm, I live there as well! I love that I am able to do this. To be close to my parents and enjoy the serene environment makes me feel incredibly lucky. Plus, I never get tired of the view from my house…or any view, from any angle of the farm.