Lisa Tate is coming into her own in helping manage her family's farms in Ventura County. In addition to avocado and citrus, she is one of the pioneers of coffee growing in the coastal California, a fledgling industry in specialty crops. Growing high quality coffee has been on the rise, thanks to Frinj Coffee creating a collaborative of growers with the goal of figuring out how best to produce the best product. With the treats of climate change, development, and disease threatening much of coastal California's agriculture, coffee provides a beacon of light as a potentially successful next generation crop. Lisa's interview below sheds some light on her family's farming operations and her role in fostering the future of farming.
Grower Q & A
- Can you provide a brief introduction of yourself?
My name is Lisa Tate and I am a 6th generation farmer in Ventura County. My family has seven farms spread throughout Santa Paula, Saticoy, and Fillmore. I earned my B.S. degree in Agricultural Business at Cal Poly, and my M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration) from Walden University. I currently split my time between farming and taking care of my two sons ages six and nine. While I am very much in the learning stage of farming, I hope to get more involved as my children become more independent.
- What do you grow?
We grow Lemons, Avocados, Valencia Oranges, Mandarin Oranges, Pomegranates, and Coffee.
- How long have you been farming?
I have been directly farming for a year and a half, but I have been somewhat involved in family ranching for about 20 years.
- What are you doing on your land to improve soil health?
We add fertilizers, use natural avocado leaf mulch, spread our pruning mulch, and manage water runoff.
- What current issues are you facing as a farmer?
As a farmer in California, we face the rising cost of labor, increased concern about water availability, fluctuations in commodity pricing and consumer demand, tightening regulations, and challenges with trustworthy and available consumer information.
- What opportunities do you see in farming in Ventura County?
The weather is fantastic, the soil is great and I think we can grow pretty much anything. I am particularly excited about growing specialty coffee in the region and see it as a sister to California's wine growing operations. I love the idea of women grown and harvest coffee for our family farm and am actively working to see that vision through.