News From the Farm | Week of July 8, 2013

This is one in our series of interviews in which we introduce our CSA members to the people who pick and pack the fruits and vegetables from Full Belly Farm.

Beet: Alfonso, could you tell our CSA members about your job here at Full Belly?

Alfonso: My work is to organize and pick the heirloom tomatoes. My group also picks basil.

B: And in the cool months?

A: We also pick the greens – chards and kales, and carrots.

B: How long have you worked at Full Belly?

A: I started in 1997.

B: Before you worked here, what were you doing?

A: For my first three years in the US, I worked on a farm harvesting tomatoes and sunflowers. I was also an irrigator. I found Full Belly through my uncle. He was working here then.

B: It must be hard to pick tomatoes in this heat. Is that true? I think it’s 110° outside right now.

A: In the tomatoes the temperature is two or three degrees higher than outside. And when we are irrigating, it is the worst. Each time we walk out of the field, we carry five boxes to put in the truck Every time we do that, we rest and drink water and get more boxes. This is sometimes every 15 minutes. There are 6 people in my group. Yesterday we picked more or less 300 boxes.

B: Which season do you like the most at Full Belly?

A: The winter is great. If you are cold you just put on a jacket. But in the summer, you can’t do anything when it is hot. In the summer I like to eat the peaches and watermelons.

B: What part of Mexico did you grow up in?

A: In Zacatecas.

B: Why did you come to the United States? Do you hope to go back to Mexico to live one day?

A: I came here to work and to have a better life. In Mexico you can work but you are only working to live. You only earn $50 dollars per week and can only buy absolute necessities to live. Here it is better. But one day, I think I will go back to Zacatecas. I don’t know when. The life in U.S. is a circle. Work, Work, Work. In Mexico, if you have a business and things are going well, you can maintain your business and live well. You can have your family with you. It’s more relaxing there. It’s like another world.

B: You have children here, right?

A: Two boys. 16 and 3 years old – a big difference between them! The older one likes to play soccer. The little one likes to play all day at home.

B: What are some of the things that your family does during your days off?

A: On Sundays, we go to breakfast in a restaurant together and afterwards we eat lunch together also in a restaurant. My mother, my papa and another sister live with us. Right now, when we come to work, my mother makes lunch for us. On the weekends, she doesn’t have to cook.

B: Is there anything you would like to say to CSA members?

A: I invite them to come and visit Zacatecas. There are lots of silver and gold mines to visit. In December, the climate is perfect there.


Tomato Crew (from left): Narcisso, Alfonso, Emmanuel & Hector.