Employee Spotlight: 8 Things to Know About Adrian Zendejas, General Manager
Adrian has been a dedicated employee for nearly 25 years and has a wealth of experience and information on the ranch. Read below to learn some of the highlights and get to know Adrian starting with how it all began.
1. How did you get started with Ocean Mist Farms?
It all started 27 years ago while visiting the Salinas Valley as part of a field trip through Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. We visited several Ag companies, but I was most impressed with Ocean Mist Farms. Soon after the visit, I got an internship at Ocean Mist Farms that took me to both the Castroville and Coachella production regions. After graduation, and after many months of traveling back and forth between both cities, I took a full-time position at an affiliated company called Sea Mist Farms as an IPM Specialist (Integrated Pest Management). As the IPM Specialist, I was responsible for overseeing the in-house weed control on artichokes. Plus, I was required to learn the harvest process and pack styles for Artichokes, Broccoli, Cardone, Cauliflower, Fennel, Spinach, and Mix Lettuce!
I gradually learned other ranch responsibilities such as planting/transplanting, cultivating, drip irrigation, and field prep. I was part of a team that started the romaine hearts program and organic artichoke production in Coachella. Ultimately, in April of 2006, I was hired as the General Manager for Ocean Mist Farms in Coachella, CA. A wonderful education in the field for sure!
2. What does your typical workday look like and what are you & your team responsible for?
My team and I are responsible for the day-to-day farming activities e.g., field preparation (disc, plow, landplane), irrigation (drip or sprinkler), transplanting, planting, fertilizer applications, and ensuring ranches are clean from weeds and debris. Proactive daily management of all ranch activities, including crews, is crucial to our success.3. What are some challenges in your role?
There can be many, but most are manageable. It is important to maintain a safe environment for our workers and keep our ranches in good standing, which includes following all food safety guidelines. Staying on top of all the local and state regulations is necessary to make sure we are shipping the very best to our customers each day.4. What other departments & agencies do you work with daily?
I work closely with the Sales, Accounting, and the Shipping& Receiving departments as well as IT and HR. Outside of Ocean Mist Farms, I work with irrigation, crop protection, and tractor vendors, plus community leaders and industry associations.5. What are 3 words best describe your role?
Visionary, Decision-Maker, and Coordinator-of-People. Not exactly 3 words.6. What is your best memory of Ocean Mist Farms?
During my nearly 25 years here, I have had many memories. The one that stands out though, is the 80th Anniversary Party. That was one for the books! It was a fun opportunity to enjoy each other's company and established new friendships and connections.7. What is the best advice you have ever received?
People are our number one resource and I've learned that that is absolutely true!8. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and two kids as well as traveling, hunting, fishing, and grilling my favorite vegetable, Artichokes!
Be on the lookout for video field reports featuring Adrian. And if you want to try grilling artichokes yourself, check out one of our favorite recipes here.