Meet our Keynote speaker for the 2017 LFC!
The Bautista family has history of over forty years with the 7 Hot Dates Farm. The first fifteen of which, Enrique, the patriarch of the family, worked as foreman on the Wendlers family farm. When the Wendlers retired in 1999, Enrique and his wife Graciela decided to purchase the property and continue stewardship of the 14 acres they so dearly cared for. With the help of NRCS and the EQIP program, they developed a conservation plan that targeted some key practices for their organic farm that included cover cropping, irrigation management, nutrient management, pest management, and mulching. They have also added cattle to the operation in order to further promote nutrient cycling in the soil. Careful irrigation management has helped to save water as well as reduce mosquito infestations. As a result of their dedicated style of land management, the 7 Hot Dates Farm produces in the range of 300-400 pounds of dates per palm. For many years, the Bautista family's organic dates enjoyed modest sales at farmers markets throughout southern California and were marketed to a handful of mail order customers. Then, in 2004, a tragic event shifted the family's priorities.
Economic sustainability was becoming a challenge which forced the family to take a look at marketing strategies that would address their new situation. By shifting away from farmers markets to focusing heavily on internet marketing, they were able to find an outlet that worked. Through these efforts, mail orders increased by 8,000 percent.
We are thrilled to welcome the Bautistas to speak about their family farm - you can find more info about their farm on their website.