About Bautista Farms
Originally hailing from the Mexican state of Guerrero, Manuel Bautista migrated to the Central Coast in 1983 where he worked for various years in different agricultural settings. Once equipped with some knowledge of the agricultural business Mr. Bautista decided he was to ready to venture on his own cultivation. His perseverance, social connections and high spirited dedication gained him the opportunity to access land. He started planting with 20 acres and over the years has spread his bountiful produce to 40 acres of land.
When Manuel first started farming, he only grew squash and cherry tomatoes-now he grows everything under the sun! In 1988 his wife, Apolonia Bautista, suggested they begin selling at the local farmer’s market. The two started with 2 boxes of squash. Now the farm produces salad mix, spinach, kale, chard, arugula. It grows three different types of peas: English peas, snap peas and snow peas. There are blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. The farm also produces tomatoes, golden beets, red beets, green beans, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, and parsley. Mr. Bautista states “Life on this beautiful Arroyo Grande farm in Huasna Valley runs like clockwork. “Monday’s, Tuesdays, Thursday’s and Friday’s we pick in the fields. On Fridays we pick for four markets- one on Friday, three on Saturday. We keep everything in a cooler and on Monday we start all over again. I have about 4-5 guys who help pick every week.” All of his produce stays within the County: it is sold at farmer’s market and directly to restaurants that support the locavore movement. In order to keep up with demand, his wife makes a list each night of what needs to be picked the following day for their markets and local accounts.
Mr. Bautista has planted on the same soil over 25 years and will continue to conserve his dedication to provide his fresh produce to the community. Over the past seven years, Mr. Manuel has began transferring his skills to his only son Jacinto Bautista who is slowly taking over the management of the farm in order to ensure that it will be well organized and continue cultivation when Mr. and Mrs. Bautista are ready for retirement. Equipped with the support and help of his two sister’s; Anayeli and Susie, Jacinto will be well supported in continuing the legacy of Mr. Bautista. The third generation is Mr. and Mrs. Bautista’s grandchildren who is growing up on the land, picking raspberries in the fields, splashing in muddy puddles and attempting to help at the same farmer’s market Mr. and Mrs. Bautista’s children helped with.
Manuel beams with pride over this produce and gushes grateful for his lifestyle; “I like everything about my job, Its really nice. I get to do so many things each day. I’m really happy with the crew I have right now. I love farming so much! I thank God for giving me the opportunity to farm. I’m really happy and so proud of everything we do”. His passion for growing is palpable.