Nav & Sarbjit Athwal

Nav Athwal (left) and his father Sarbjit Athwal (right) are apricot growers in Westley, California. The family runs Trinut Farm Management, Inc. and have been farming in Northern California for over 30 years. When they purchased their first apricot orchard in 2004, they joined our agricultural cooperative and have been members ever since.

Sarbjit and his wife emigrated to the United States from India in 1973. His ancestors have been farming for thousands of years and how he put it, “dirt is in our blood.” Although the opportunity the United States had to offer is what allured him to this country, he knew he wanted to continue the roots of his ancestors in farming as a first generation American farmer. When first arriving to the country he worked odd jobs until he could save enough money to fuel his “love for the dirt” and purchase his first piece of agricultural land; 20 acres of grape vineyards in Stanislaus County. While working at Proctor & Gamble, he continued to purchase more farmland and expanded his portfolio to almonds in 1989 and apricots in 2004. The Athwal Family continues to farm apricots, almonds, and pistachios in the Stanislaus, Merced, & Madera counties with over 3,000 acres combined.

athwal apricot orchard in westley ca

In 2018, Sarbjit’s son Nav Athwal, left his career as a lawyer in the Silicon Valley to join his father in the family farming business. Nav loves being able to partner with his father who brings the “old school wisdom” in conjunction with his ideas for some of the more modern technologies to optimize their farming outputs for a successful crop. Nav enjoys the nature of being outdoors and in the orchards for his new line of work compared to his previous more pedestrian mode of being office bound.

The family looks forward to the future to continue to grow their footprint as California farmers and are excited to be cultivators of the food the world eats. The Athwals’ have a strong will and passion towards farming; two characteristics needed to be successful in today’s agricultural industry. Nav is excited to work alongside his father with the hopes of carrying the torch of the family business and being able to  pass along the family’s farming business for generations to come.

J.H. Meek & Sons, Inc.

Steve Meek (left) and his son Sam Meek (right) standing in one of their tomato fields being harvested

Steve Meek is the President of J.H Meek & Sons, Inc. Steve is a third generation family farmer in Yolo County. He studied Agriculture at the University of California, Davis.

His son, Sam Meek, is a fourth generation farmer for the family business as well. He is the farm manager directing over 50 employees. Sam grew up working summers at the ranch and became full time in 2010 and now has over 10 years work experience with the family farm.

The roots of the company started in 1945 with Jack Meek, Steve’s father, and the official J.H. Meek & Sons, Inc. name was created in 1964. Steve and Sam farm over 5,000 acres which include tomatoes, Almonds, Walnuts, corn, sunflower, alfalfa, wheat and vineseed in the Yolo and Solano Counties.

Button and Turkovich

The Button and Turkovich Ranch located in Winters, California, was established by the Button family in the 1850’s. The ranch is currently run by Tony Turkovich and his son, Michael Turkovich. They grow various organic and conventional fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, prunes, walnuts, wine grapes, oranges, seed crops and herbs. Tony’s other son Christopher, and his wife Luciana, run the Turkovich winery in downtown Winters. PCPfarmers-036
When Tony was a child, he and his family moved to Winters from Richmond near San Francisco in 1960. After high school, he attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering. He then went on to the University of Southern California and received a Master’s in Business Administration. In 1974, when Tony moved back after college, he started farming with the Button family.PCPfarmers-028
Tony’s favorite part of farming is watching plants and trees grow and produce bountiful crops that are good tasting and healthy for society. The goal of the ranch is to provide quality, nutritious food at a price that all can afford while doing it in a manner that sustains and improves the soil and environment for future generations.
Tony has been partnered with PCP since the early 1980’s; he enjoys sharing the same long term philosophy with PCP employees and management and together meeting the challenges of business in California.PCPfarmers-033
Tony has been with his wife Joanie for 40 years. They have three sons, Michael, Christopher and Daniel. Tony is part of the PCP Board of Directors, California Tomato Research Institute Board, Winter Fire Protection Distribution Board, and the Advisory Board for Sustainable Conservation. Tony also enjoys fly fishing and hiking in the mountains.

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Payne Brothers Ranch

Payne Bros. Ranches, located in Knights Landing, California, is operated by brothers William Payne and Robert Payne. Payne Bros. Ranches specializes in alfalfa, almonds, cucumbers, garbanzos, pistachios, hybrid sunflower seed, tomatoes and walnuts. Robert (Bob) attended U.C. Davis and graduated with a B.S. in Agricultural and Managerial Economics, and William (Bill) received a B.A. in Economics from U.C. Los Angeles. After college, Bob worked as a commercial real estate agent for several years.
After trying out careers of their own, Bob and Bill decided to return home and take over the ranch that their father started in 1953. Bob was drawn back to farming because of the outdoors; he missed witnessing the complete cycle of the plant’s life and the surrounding nature.PCPfarmers-070
Payne Bros. Ranches is all about sustainability; they have an automated irrigation system with drip and micro irrigation, GPS guided equipment, soil microbial supplementation and run an extensive research and development program. They believe that their role as growers is to protect and improve the soil so future generations can benefit from the vital resource. As a grower for PCP, the Payne brothers enjoy that the company puts as much care in packing their product as the farmers do into growing the products.
Bob and Bill currently reside in Woodland, California with their families. Bob and his wife Sally have two children, Lauren, who studies at UCLA, and Thomas, who attends Texas Christian University. Bill and his wife Julie have two sons, Ryan, who goes to Cal Poly, and Taylor, who studies at John Deere Technical School. When the Payne’s are not working or with their families, they enjoy fly fishing for steelhead and trout on many West coast rivers.

Colin C. Muller

Colin C. Muller is a third generation farmer. His grandfather emigrated from Switzerland in 1947 who started as a lumberjack and milked cows until he opened his own dairy farm in the 1950’s. In 1967, Colin’s grandfather moved to Woodland and started farming on 400 acres of row crops. PCPfarmers-127Colin was attracted to the farming lifestyle because he believes there are great opportunities for development and progression to build for the future. Continuing his grandfather’s legacy, Colin focuses on processing tomatoes with his cousin, father, and uncle. Colin strives to push himself to always do better than the previous year – this includes environmentally, economically and socially. ragu1651Drip irrigation, crop rotation, maintaining soil health, minimizing compaction, and native pollination are just some of the ways that the Muller Ranch, LLC farm stays sustainable. Colin wants The Central Valley of California to be the most productive and admired agricultural area in the world. PCPfarmers-113A PCP member since 1987, Joe Muller Ranch, LLC likes the personal elements the PCP family brings. Colin and his wife Ariel are blessed with 3 children: Chandler, Cain, and Madison. In Colin’s free time he enjoys an array of activities including: traveling, playing basketball, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors.

Bruce Rominger

Bruce J. Rominger and his brother Rick Rominger own Rominger Brothers Farms in Winters, California. Their family emigrated to California from Germany in the 1850’s and began farming in Yolo County in 1870. Prior to his career in agriculture Bruce received his Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science from UC Davis in 1980. He grows tomatoes, rice, wheat, corn, sunflowers, oat hay, wine grapes, almonds and walnuts; he loves that he is able to do something different every day. PCPfarmers-097As a “steward of the land” Bruce believes that we are responsible for leaving the land and resources for future generations. Bruce’s beliefs fall in line with his sustainable agriculture practices by incorporating cover crops, minimum tillage, hedgerows and tail water ponds in his farming. Bruce also hopes he can grow the best tomatoes with the smallest environmental footprint. PCPfarmers-084Bruce thinks that having direct input to the management of one of your major processors is very satisfying. Bruce is a fifth generation farmer and has been a PCP grower for 30 years. Bruce enjoys the company of his wife, Robyn and his three kids Justin, John and Rachel. He also spends his time serving on the Local Irrigation district Board of Directors, California Tomato Growers Association Board of Directors, and Advisory Board of Winters High School FFA programs.

Julie Filter-Correll

Julie Filter-Correll is from Yuba City, CA and has grown up in a farming family. After getting a Bachelor of Science in Business/ Finance, she decided to purchase her own ranch in 1999.  Julie Filter-Correll’s ranch is located in Live Oak, CA and she grows peaches, prunes and walnuts. Peach-060Julie has been partnered with PCP for 15 years. She and her husband Howard Correll have four children. Julie belongs to the Farm Bureau, Peach Association and the Prune Bargaining Association and also enjoys baking pie.Peach-099

Shindi Thiara

In 1964, Shindi Thaiara’s father and two uncles bought their first 20 acre peach ranch on Sawtelle Avenue in Yuba City after working in labor camps for 4 years. Growing up with his whole family in farming, Shindi was influenced to participate in the family business. Once the ranch had expanded to Tulare & Merced Shindi continued to help his family’s ranch grow -expanding to various counties including: Sutter, Yuba, Colusa, Glenn, Butte, Merced Tulare, and Solano. Shindi Thiara1As a steward of the land, Shindi tries to minimize the use of all resources to achieve the highest yield of his crop. Shindi believes that price sensitivity and substituting for foreign product without concern for food safety are two of the greatest threats to American growers. Shindi has been a PCP Grower for 16 years and enjoys the cooperation PCP has with its growers. Shindi and his wife Verpal have two children – Jack and Ryshum; and in his spare time he enjoys golfing and traveling.

Rajeev Davit

Rajeev Davit has been a Peach grower for Pacific Coast Producers for over 20 years. His ranch is located in Yuba County, where he also grows prunes, rice, walnuts and almonds.

Rajeev’s father started their business in the early 1950’s. He worked in the orchards to earn his way through college. Once he graduated from college, he leased his first ranch and has been farming ever since.

Rajeev started pursuing an engineering degree when he first entered college. In his second year, he knew that farming was going to be his future. Rajeev changed his major and later graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. After graduation, he returned to his family farm and claims it was the best decision he could have made.Peach-013

Rajeev believes a grower’s role in California agriculture is to produce products that are safe and nutritious for the consumer. Growers adhere to strict guidelines to ensure that they are successful in providing quality crops, which is essential to sustainable agriculture. Rajeev defines sustainability as remaining profitable economically, while at the same time being stewards of the natural resources used to produce their crops. He also believes it is important to be socially responsible.

Less than two percent of the American population works in agriculture, and Rajeev feels that “if you take into account all additional jobs necessary, for example distribution, processing, and accounting, the percentage is much larger. Agriculture is vital to the United States economy. For the consumer, there is nowhere in the world where you are going to receive a safer product. The American consumer can be sure that they are receiving the safest and highest quality products offered. With the use of modern technology, traceability of the product is possible and essential in this quality standard.”

Rajeev believes there are many threats to American growers, but the greatest threat is the increasing amount of imported products that we rely on here in the United States. Other countries can now grow products cheaper and with virtually no oversight. This creates an unlevel playing field that makes it that much harder for American growers to compete with imported products. To combat this growing issue, growers continue to maintain product safety and strive to be as efficient as possible in their growing practices to ensure superior quality.

Rajeev enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife, Chitra, and his daughter, Rithika. Rajeev is currently the Yuba Sutter Farm Bureau Director and Vice Chair of the California Cling Peach Board.

Rajeev says he enjoys working with the professional staff at PCP. He believes they are the backbone to the success of PCP in a very competitive and always changing environment.

 

Did You Know?

Canned fruits and tomatoes are packed within just a few hours of being harvested at the peak of ripeness.