Meet A Farmer: Mike Mellano of Mellano & Company
We had fun catching up with San Diego flower farmer, Mike Mellano! See what he’s up to and learn why he became a farmer! FUN FACT: he doesn’t just raise beautiful blooms he also raises adorable puppies!
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Mike: I did a whole variety of things. In our industry it’s never one set thing. I did a lot of prep for Valentine’s Day. It’s coming up quickly and in our industry it’s a big holiday for us. There are a lot of pieces that we need to piece together, we are organizing and prepping and making sure things are in line for it. I did a lot of reviewing of our Carlsbad fields today. They are progressing along and are going to start blooming here in the early part of March. We’ve been reviewing and making sure all of the details are in line for that as well. I am also the chairman of the board for our company. So I was also doing some chair work today, looking over those details.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite thing about farming?
Mike: My favorite thing about farming actually is the opportunity to be innovative. To find new and better ways to help our operation to be successful and to figure out the challenges that come at us on a regular basis. We have to adjust the operation sometimes to thrive in the environment we are in.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Mike: As far as in the grower community I volunteer a lot of my time to a lot of different committees and ag related entities. I’m also appointed by the University of California to the Carrot Committee, a nationally focused committee of industry people that help the land grant university system advocate in Washington DC for the advancement of research and education. I just like to be involved in things that have a broader scope and impact on our day-to-day activities.
CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?
Mike: I grew up in the business; I was always surrounded by agriculture. I grew up on our family flower farm up in Los Angeles as a kid. The energy behind the flower industry and what it entails and the whole aspect of growing plants kind of just fit me. Because of that I knew I wanted to be in agriculture and be involved in plants. After attending UC riverside I was faced with either staying in the university system by teaching or getting back into farming. Ultimately I chose to get back into farming with our family farm in San Diego.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you’re not farming?
Mike: Besides my kids, outside family activities I would say my passion is fishing. I love to fish, in the ocean, lakes, streams and rivers. I love the outdoors. I love hiking, walking and seeing sites. I love our national park system, I really try to get around to the national parks and see what they are all about. Oh and raising puppies. I raise and breed golden retrievers.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a farmer?
Mike: I would say make sure it’s your passion. It’s going to be time consuming and highly involved. There’s a lot more to farming than what you think but it can be a tremendously rewarding career. And don’t get caught up in the romance. There are a lot of things that are involved, like managing people, working with other companies and legislative advocacy.