Ag Spotlight: Talley Farms
Meet Andrea Shapiro Chavez of the Talley Farms Box Program
Ag is truly a family business for Andrea Shapiro Chavez, manager of the Talley Farms Box Program! A Cal Poly graduate, Andrea started her impressive career in agriculture at Dole Fresh Fruit in the early 1980s.
"They had just bought the largest lettuce company in the country called Bud Antle, Inc. They moved me into vegetable sales and I worked my way up to Western Regional Sales Manager,” she recalled. “In 1986 I married one of my big customers and we've been married for 37 years, working together in produce. Randy has been our quality control person for our Talley Farms Box Program for the last nine years."
Today, Talley Farms grows vegetables, avocados, lemons and wine grapes for the wholesale market on about 1,600 acres in Arroyo Grande. The Talley Farms Box Program grows about 40 different kinds of produce year-round just for its customers.
The farm is best known for napa cabbage, spinach, cilantro, and bell peppers. For the box program, they also grow lettuce, carrots, corn, green beans, squash, tomatoes, and more!
The rest of the box items are sourced from other California farmers within 150 to 200 miles of Arroyo Grande. The goal is to provide fresh, seasonal produce that's California-grown right to people's homes.
"Our main Original size box has 9-12 different fruits and vegetables in it and our Junior size box has 6-8 items," Andrea said. "I buy and load pallet volume direct from growers mostly in Santa Maria, Salinas and the San Joaquin Valley areas. We look for flavor, buying variety-specific fruit when possible."
She loves being in the ag industry. What's her favorite part?
"Knowing we help feed the world with healthy food. I believe in what I sell and I work hard to exemplify a healthy lifestyle."
She and her husband, Randy, who also works at the farm, start most mornings with a delicious smoothie made with fresh produce from their Talley Box.
Of course, things don't always run smoothly when you work in ag.
"The greatest challenge is providing quality produce to consumers consistently. As farmers, we can anticipate demand and holidays and plant the right varieties and seeds, growing to meet that demand," she said. "But we can't control the weather and unexpected weather is the toughest component to success."