Kern County Students Take On Viticulture

FARMS Leadership | Kern County | October 2, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Kimberlina Facility | Bakersfield, CA 93308

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Fernando Garcia – Director of Northern Operations
Josh Legorreta – Shipping Manager
Cecilia Rivera – In-House Packing Director
David Fenn – Executive Vice President of Farming
Michael Strambi – Wasco Farming Director
Terry Bacon – Vice President of Variety Development
Monica Escoto – Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety
Danielle Loustalot – Marketing Manager
Tammy Collum – Sales Executive

Theme: Food Production |Consumer Science

Summary of the Day:
A grape story behind our favorite snack! Students from 5 different high schools: Bakersfield Christian, Independence High, Frontier High, Ridgeview High, and West High Schools kicked off our 2018-19 Kern County FARMS Leadership year by coming together and learning about grapes along side of a few of Sun-World’s finest employees!

Students learned about the demands of the grape industry. They saw how consumerism has changed the way in which Sun World packs its grapes – bringing it indoors. One student commented, “they are so careful to be sure that the weight of each bag is just right that they even will take out one grape!” Students noted the care and time it takes to pack one bag of grapes. Students inquired about the career opportunities and the different levels of expertise at each packing station. Students then were driven to the fields where the contrast in outdoor packing was shown. Sun-World has customers that require different packing practices. Students experienced the change in work environment for the employee and the humidity from inside the rows. They strolled in awe and were able to taste from each side of the vine sharing what they tasted, smelled, and heard. David Fenn, Executive Vice President of Farming, shared the science behind reasons a grape may taste one way on one side of the vine from the other as students noticed that one batch was less sweet. It was time now for students to learn about the different varieties of grapes.

We then moved on to the Research and Development Lab. Students participated in an activity to get to know each other and separate into groups. These three groups were on a 20 minute rotation – Research & Development, Sales & Marketing, and Quality Control.

Research and Development described the step by step breeding process and allowed students to tour and see it in action. The lab with over a thousand test tubes of possible new flavors was overwhelming. Students identified the embryo in the berry prior to the breeding process. Time to rotate! Next Up, Sales and Marketing.

Students were able to network with Sales and Marketing professionals and learn about their favorite aspects of the job. Travel is a big plus for some! Students asked about career paths and opportunities. Oh, time to rotate on to Quality Control. Students taught how to read the import requirements from different companies and measure sugar levels based upon cold storage availability. Students worked as a team to gather data and report back to staff about their findings.

We wrapped up with an inspiring message given by Sun World’s CEO/President Merrill Dibble while eating lunch together with the Sun World staff before heading home. Students were able to take some grapes home to their families as well.

Kern County FARMS Leadership Class of 2018-19 Touring Sun World International
Kern County FARMS Leadership Class of 2018-19 Touring Sun World International
Kern FARMS Leadership Student learning to use a Refractometer
Kern FARMS Leadership Student learning to use a Refractometer