This is my dad, Tom Shepherd. I know I've talked about him a ton but I'm pretty sure I've never really done a formal introduction on him and his work. My dad has been farming organically (before it was a thing) since 1973. Let me just get one thing clear from the get go: it has not been an easy process! In 45 years, my dad has been on 25 different farms. I can remember at least 14 farms off the top of my head all in which I have fond childhood memories. Although Tom has had a more difficult journey, he has done it with a smile on his face and is always pushing forward. He gets that from my awesome grandma that is pictured above in the red sweater: "do what you love, make it work, and if it doesn't work out, figure it out."
I got the pleasure of going up and visiting my dad while he picked half of the tomatoes to supply our cart. It's something that I used to do with him daily, but now with 2 young children and a TON of computer work I don't get to visit his farm as much and I miss it. But it's really nice to get a chance to sneak away and spend a morning harvesting with him, because it is always the same and he's always the same, which is something that I really appreciate. As much as things are changing around my father, I can always count on him being the same kind, supportive dude that he's always been.
My dad has always had an EPIC small group of guys working with him. The backbone of this group is Maxamino. Max has been his right-hand man since the very beginning of Shepherd Farms. He's had to put up with my dad for over 40 years, go Max! And below are some of his other employees. All super happy men that continue to work hard day in and day out. Look at those genuinely satisfied and proud looks. Some of you may recognize Max from the farmers market. He now has formed a partnership with Tom and runs his own farmers market booth for my dad in Carpinteria, Montecito & Goleta.
Now here it is- the farm cart circa 1998, parked at the farm where I probably had the most childhood memories. A farm across the street from Girls Inc. in Carpinteria. The Farm Cart was an old wagon built by a family friend, Bradley Miles. The wheelbase was an old veggie wagon from the 1920s and they refurbished the top. The picture below is The Farm Cart parked in the same location in 2002. The building in the back was a restaurant instead of the current bookstore and the restaurant had the best French fries in the world.
This is my brother putting lady bugs on my dad's strawberry plantings. My dad has always used lady bugs to control his spider mite population. The More lady bugs the merrier! And below is actually a super old picture of my dad's strawberry harvest.
I really could go on and on about my dad. My dad is like a 4,000 page chapter book that you could read forever and ask a billion questions but I just wanted to lay down the basics. Tom has a huge following in Santa Barbara and although farming hasn't been the easiest for him his relationships with people is huge. He has a big heart of gold and we can all agree that fulfillment from life is way more meaningful than any amount of money or success. Thank you for showing me that along the way dad! So an AMEN to that and enjoy your veggies guys!