In the Life of Grower Vernon Peterson.
Farming is deep in Vernon Peterson’s family heritage. In 1893 Vernon’s great grandfather came to the United States from Sweden. He probably only had about 10 acres at that time but it was enough to get by. Vernon’s grandfather then started farming the land and grew to the biggest plum grower of that time period. He had somewhere between 200 and 300 acres. When his father took over he had big dreams of keeping it all in the family. Through some unfortunate events his father had to start over with 20 acres. These 20 acres were part of the original place his family had farmed years before. Vernon’s father was able to get it up to 90 acres. He grew tree fruit for the fresh market and cannery, raisin grapes and also had chickens.
Sadly, Vernon’s father died when he was only 48 years old. Vernon was left with a farming operation at the age of 21. He had to eventually split the 90 acres with his brother leaving him with 40 acres. Vernon smiles when he gets to this point in the story and says that he made it from 1978-1985 before he went broke. He had to sell some of the land and their packing operation went idle. The reason he smiles is because he knows that this is the part of the story that marks his journey. He persevered, got a job managing some land for a larger company, he also had an opportunity to run a packinghouse, and manage the cold storage. He says he learned so much during this time. He saw so much of how a business works. Going broke by the age of 28, but picking yourself back up and building from the ground up again is something to be proud of. He loves the people he got to work with, and was extremely grateful for all he learned with the other company. Something inside him told him he wanted to start over on his own though. So he did, and here he is today. He has about 200 acres, and is proudly the organic grower of the Mountain View group.
Going back now, to memories as a kid, Vernon remembers waterskiing by the age of 5. You may be thinking, tree fruit farmer that waterskies all the time? Well Vernon was an exception. He says his father instilled in them to work early, then you could be off early. Those were the days before a packinghouse in the family, so if you work early, and get off early, there’s time to waterski! Later on they did own a packinghouse and Vernon said having blue hands was a memory he couldn’t let go. The ink that was used to code the boxes took a blue ink, no matter how careful you are, you always end up with blue on your hands. He remembers the people he worked with having a great attitude, and lots of hustle to get everything done. Vernon can’t pin down one summer that is memorable; he says they are all an adventure. He is all about the people he works with. He loves people! He loves seeing all the hustle, God’s blessing through it all, and how God provides.
In 2002 Mountain View approached Vernon to be the organic provider. He went through the process to become organic, and also started his company called Abundant Harvest. Today, he still works hard and grows Summeripe fruit, but he also takes care of his own business. Vernon is a busy man! He is married, with two kids, who both play huge roles in the family business. Vernon’s favorite fruit is a Mariposa plum, or a Zee Lady peach used to make ice cream! Vernon is a true success story, through all the storms of life, he knows that he is supposed to farm. He certainly enjoys farming, and hopes that you enjoy the fruits of his labor as much as he does!