Meet a Farmer: Diana Roy of Resendiz Brothers Protea Growers
A love of flowers drew Diana Roy into farming and today she farms the unique and beautiful variety of flower called protea with Resendiz Brothers protea Farm in Southern California. Her passion for protea has led to a successful business and a blog about her favorite flower, which you can read and subscribe to here.
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Diana: My days are a combination of different things. First thing I do is social media posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, while making notes of things I would like to post and blog about in the month of January. This morning I am preparing paperwork for a protea shipment to Korea. Making sure all documentation is done is important when exporting product. I am also working on a Resendiz Brothers book so I am reviewing the pages and determining what we need to add or change. I am working on updating our gift cards for promotional items. I also do a lot of bookeeping on the farm. I have already taken orders and spoken to customers this morning.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite part of working on a farm?
Diana: Being surrounded by beautiful flowers every day. Seeing the change of seasons reflected in the flowers while living and working on the farm is beautiful.
CA GROWN: What are some ways you give back to the community?
Diana: We do a lot of farm tours. We also donate flowers for fundraisers. We planted protea in the Children’s Garden at Alta Vista Botanical gardens to educate children about protea. We share informational presentations with garden groups and clubs and we are very involved in the California Protea Association. We mentor other protea farmers by bringing them to our farm and providing educational information about protea. We made a trip to Africa to learn about their growing techniques and then were able to share those learnings with other protea farmers in California.
CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?
Diana: My love for flowers! I have always been a flower person. As a mother of two young children, I wanted to be home more and wanted to turn my passion for flowers into an income source. In the beginning, I was mentored by a former boss who was a flower farmer. Spending time on her farm cutting flowers gave me the notion that I could turn my passion for flowers into a living. So the logical next step for me was to buy some land in Temecula and start farming.
CA GROWN: Your blog “A Passion for Flowers” is probably the only blog out there that focuses on protea farming. Why did you start the blog and has it created any new opportunities for you?
Diana: I first started writing an industry newsletter for the California Protea Association, and then I started writing a newsletter at Resendiz Brothers for our customers and that eventually turned into the blog. We have nearly 2,000 subscribers now and that number continues to grow. Visitors to our website are given the opportunity to sign up for our newsletter and blog posts. The blog was initially educational about protea. Protea is a flower that many people are unfamiliar with so my focus was to educate people. Although the blog is primarily an educational tool, I also include information about what is happening in the community and on the farm. Periodically we will offer special workshops on the farm and those events are also talked about in the blog.
I also use the blog as an informational piece for customers that request additional information about our products, events, and the happenings on the farm. The blog content is always current regarding the season and what is happening on the farm.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you’re not farming?
Diana: I love cooking and gardening. Particularly, I like to cook items that I have grown and picked from my garden. I love to travel and enjoy wine tasting events. Art and decorating are interests of mine but after a day at the farm, there isn’t much time to devote to all my hobbies. I really enjoy learning about different varieties of flowers.
CA GROWN: As a California farmer, we know that you have a long list of activities you undertake on your farm to care for the land and its resources. What are one or two ways that you’re most proud of or you feel are innovative ways you care for your land?
Diana: Our Bloom Check certification requires maintaining extensive records on water usage, electrical usage, equipment maintenance, and drip irrigation. By maintaining these detailed records, we can quickly identify equipment that needs repair and manage our resources more efficiently. We capture rain water and use that before we revert to using city water. We recycle unused flowers and foliage for composting new soil and do our own mulching.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a farmer?
Diana: Start small and test varieties on the land that you farm. Not every item is suited to every soil and location. Experiment, be patient and passionate about what you are growing. Protea takes years to grow so you have to be patient and committed to the process before you get any production. New plants are produced from cuttings of older plants and it takes time. The average age of a protea plant is 15 years. Love what you are doing. Farming is hard work, and land has to be cared for constantly.