Rodriguez Farms: Patricia Rodriguez
Rodriguez Farm brings California Certified Organic strawberries, blackberries and raspberries to the market both Tuesday and Saturday April through November.
How did you get your start in farming?
I am a second-generation Watsonville farmer. My father worked in berries and then worked for someone who was doing farmers markets, so when I was an age where I could drive, I was sent to farmers markets. When I got married, my husband’s family worked for the same berry farmer. We started Rodriguez Farms with my dad in 1991 when we married, and in 1993 my dad decided to step back.
What do you love most about your work?
The people I get to interact with. Working with people at the farm who make it possible for us to grow these delicious berries. Because my husband and I come from being employees, we treat our employees like family. It’s nice to be out there with them. Most of them enjoy what they do and that makes a big difference. When we’re all happy, we get the outcome we want.
Growing certified organic berries is difficult. A pest can wipe out your entire production. We take pride when we get through the season and we made it. We kept our plants healthy.
What do you love about selling at the Napa Farmers Market?
The clientele is so appreciative of us farmers. So many people make jam for us. It’s one of the markets where we feel most appreciated.
How does the Napa Farmers Market support your farm?
We just appreciate that people come out and support us. Berries are not like apples. If you don’t sell apples one day, you sell them the next. The berries we don’t sell might get thrown out. This year, we’ve started something new: we’re drying berries outdoors. We’ll package them and sell them at the market.
Your go-to berry recipe at this time of year?
We just eat them fresh. That’s our favorite way. But when I want to put together something for friends that’s really quick, I like making fruit tarts. I’ll make a tart dough and pastry cream filling and put fresh berries on top.