Meet a Farmer: Marcos Van Wingerden
Marcos Van Wingerden is a third generation flower farmer from Ventura County, California. As the Production Manager for Pyramid Flowers, he manages all the farming aspects of the business. We caught up with Marcos on one of the busiest days of his work-week, Monday!
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Marcos: On Mondays we check that our weekly production goals are on track. We adjust our four-week out harvest projections so we can give a guideline to sales and manufacturing on what the future harvest quantities appear to be. Monday is our busiest day because we set up harvesting and planting schedules for the week and plan out what we need to do regarding insect control for the week.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite thing about farming?
Marcos:Seeing the finished product being sent to the warehouse. Our harvest crews cut thousands of flower stems daily and it’s wonderful to see the fresh and healthy flowers ready to go to market.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Marcos:We make donations of flowers to various charities and organizations. We’ve done tours for school students and hosted dinners for social clubs as well.
CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?
Marcos:Many of my extended family members and childhood friends were of family farms and the hard work seemed to run in my blood. Originally, I wanted to be involved in large acreage farming such as vegetables , but after 5 years of working as a Pest Control Advisor for a large company I realized I wanted to be my own boss one day; joining the family business of cut flowers would give me that opportunity.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or past times when you are not farming?
Marcos:I’m an avid hunter and outdoorsman. I enjoy spending time with my farmer friends. I have a 2-year-old boy and a baby boy on the way. Our family is really close and we spend a lot of time together.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into farming?
Marcos:I would recommend networking with fellow classmates and involving yourself in as much internship positions as possible while you are in college so you can get a broad view of the various aspects and crops of the ag industry. There are so many different careers opportunities in agriculture that it may take some time to find the best fit.
CA GROWN: What is one thing you do on the farm to be sustainable?
Marcos: We prioritize heavily on insect pest management through monitoring, scouting and making timely decisions. This enables us to greatly reduce pesticide use on outdoor crops and utilize primarily biological control insects in our hydroponic gerbera greenhouses (using beneficial insects to get rid of harmful insects).