FARMS Leadership – Central Valley – April 19, 2021 Location: Fresno State, Fresno, CA
A group of Fresno State business students were able to give the FARMS students a virtual presentation about citrus with a main focus on juicing oranges. Students were able to learn about how citrus is grown in Fresno, popular varieties, harvest times, and most fun the juicing process. At the tour it was an industrial sized juicer in use but the students were able to juice 5 oranges with their at home kits and could compare their fresh juice to the sample of bottled juice in their kit. The virtual tour ended with some questions and answers that the FARMS students could ask the Fresno students not only about citrus but also about college life at Fresno State.
FARMS Leadership | Central Valley Central | Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Location of Field Day: Peterson Family Farm 38694 Road 16, Kingsburg CA 93631
Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Vernon Peterson, Owner
Theme: Citrus, Chickens & Organic Farming
Our day started off with a tour of the Petersons Citrus Packing House, where students rotated between Quality Control, Administration, Security and Loading. The students rotated between the 4 jobs for about 30 minutes each. In quality control, students learned how to test the citrus to the specifications for sale in each category. In the admin office, students learned how billing, receiving and distribution works. At some points, the packing shed runs 24 hours a day. In the security office, students learned how to keep the machines running and that the employees were carefully completing the tasks at hand. Finally, students help load and keep track and pack the pallets that went onto the trucks and out to the stores.
Next, Mr. Peterson took us to his family’s chicken ranch. He showed the students how quickly the chickens grew and how his employees cared for the chickens and the houses they lived in. He showed us how technology-based their houses were as they continuously kept a temperature of about 70-90 degrees depending on how old the chickens were.
Finally, we ended the day with lunch and an ice cream treat in Kingsburg.
Participating Schools Frontier High School Bakersfield Christian High School Independence High School
Students had a great opportunity to see the Halo process from field to packing box. We started at the McFarland Halo Ranch learning about Safety, Ranch Management, and Pest Control. Then, we traveled to Delano to the packing facility and the iconic picture in front of the “Blue Box”.
We divided into two groups where students could have more interactions with the Wonderful Staff. Students were trained on the warning symbols used on signage and labels to communicate risk.
Then we were able to see and understand the process of the spray rig management in regards to safety and staff logistics with night spraying with Johnny Magana, Spray Manager, and Larry Minor, Shop Supervisor.
Next, we walked to their shop where learning to put things back where they belong isn’t just a chore at home, but a life skill. It is critical to keeping the workplace safe and it also helps the bottom line as inventory is always up to date. Manager of Technical Operations, James Lundgren, shared his career journey with the students. He is a wealth of knowledge and loves what he does!
Students were very interested in the number of careers and opportunities Wonderful provides for their employees. Truly is a Wonderful place to work! The employees there love their jobs and have great pride in the company. This is evident as they talk and students could see their passion for coming to work each day.
We then switched places with the other group. We had Jesse Castanon – Farming Manager and James Lundergan – Pest Control Advisor on board. They shared their heart for the company which was equally magnetic. We stopped the bus and unloaded to the beautiful aroma of citrus blossoms. In the citrus orchard, students learned about the purpose of netting the trees to affect seedless citrus. They also were led to look at clues, clues that would tell you what type of pest us attempting to take up residence.
We all loaded back into the bus to gather as a group for lunch on our way to the “Big Blue Box”, the packing facility. This highly visible box can be seen from Hwy 99 and it is a coveted photo for most Ag students.
Once we unloaded from the bus in Delano, we walked through their main offices to get to the packing plant. Even their offices smell like oranges! We were led on a fantastic tour of their 11 football field sized plant. It was huge! Photos are not allowed inside the plant however the sizing belts were breathtakingly large! This photo is from their website:
The staff was welcoming and generous! The citrus was tasty and so interesting to learn about. The smell was amazing! It was a great day! Thank you, Wonderful Company, for a great day!