Brothers Apolinar (“Poli”) and Gilberto Yerena, along with 6 full-time employees and help from their sister, Berta, and other brother, Guillermo.
22 acres in Royal Oaks, about 100 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
After growing strawberries for Driscoll with their parents for 12 years, Apolinar and Gilberto decided to lease their own farm. They began in 1982 growing conventionally, but in response to market demand converted five trial acres to organic. The organic fruit sold so well they eventually decided to transition the farm to organic.
Presently, 10 acres are certified organic by Monterey County Certified Organic (MCCO), with the remaining 12 in transition.
Sandy with a little clay. The sandy soil presents a problem with erosion so the Yerenas prevent the loss of soil by putting plastic around the perimeter of their farm.
The water on the farm comes from a well and drip irrigates the farm once a week in the winter and every 4 days in the summer.
They use propane flame torches in the winter time, hand weed during the harvest, and cover raised beds in black plastic to prevent weed and fungal growth.
Beneficial insects: ladybugs for aphids and spider mites for mites.
The Yerenas’ organic strawberries are sold under the label FeNella, combining their parents names—Federico and Nella.
McGinnis Ranch is steep: it sits on a 12% grade. The harder it rains, the less fun it is for Howard, who sometimes spends days replacing soil that has washed down the hill. But the grade allows maximum sun exposure and extends the farm’s season significantly.
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »