Farm Spotlight: Talley Farms in Arroyo Grande, CA

“The Talley family and our employees are pleased to ship weekly fresh produce to the Food Bank.  We believe that providing the opportunity for GleanSLO volunteers to come in and glean our fields is another way to care for those in need.  The enthusiasm of the volunteers from Glean SLO makes working with them a real pleasure as we come together to support our community. “ 

Todd Talley, CFO, Talley Farms

Pictured above are Brian Talley, Olivia Talley (center photo), Mission College Prep students, Charlee Bunnell (SLO Food Bank employee), Andrea Shapiro Chavez (Manager, Talley Farms Fresh Harvest).

Pictured above are Brian Talley, Olivia Talley (center photo), Mission College Prep students, Charlee Bunnell (SLO Food Bank employee), Andrea Shapiro Chavez (Manager, Talley Farms Fresh Harvest).

The Talley family has been donating harvested weekly fresh produce to the Food Bank for more than 4 years, donating more than 300,000 pounds of food since 2010. The Oceano Food Bank warehouse team has been receiving this produce and sharing it within 24 hours with Food Bank agencies and recipients. In 2012, the Talley family generously welcomed GleanSLO and Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School students for a bell pepper glean. Hosted by Brian and Johnine Talley as well as their daughters, this glean opened the door to future opportunities. GleanSLO is grateful to the Talley family, both family members and employees, for their generous spirit in not only allowing us into their fields, but by additionally believing in the importance of supporting a healthy community and donating already harvested produce each week. We want to thank the Talley family for their generous contributions!

 

Interview with Andrea Shapiro Chavez by Carolyn Eicher

 

Please share information about you and your background:

Andrea Shapiro ChavezManager, Fresh HarvestTalley Farms

Andrea is a Cal Poly graduate, earning a degree in Economics in 1980.  She has spent the last 30 years working at various levels in the produce business from Western Regional Sales Manager for Dole Fresh Vegetables, to being a Buying Broker, shipping produce all over the world, to owning her own business for 13 years delivering fresh produce and gourmet food to homes and offices in Southern California.  In February of 2012, Talley Farms hired her to create a new, local, consumer program for them called Talley Farms Fresh Harvest.  As a mother, wife and cook who loves fruits and vegetables, her passion in life is to “GET PEOPLE TO EAT MORE PRODUCE!”

 

We would love to know more about the Talley history! 

 

For over three generations, Talley Farms has been growing high quality fruits and vegetables.  It all started in 1948, when Oliver Talley began growing vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley on California’s Central Coast.  Talley Farms is now a diversified family-owned farming operation that grows, packs and ships a variety of fruits and vegetables, including bell peppers, wine grapes, napa cabbage, lemons, avocados, cilantro and brussels sprouts.  Brian, Todd, Ryan and Rosemary Talley are active in all aspects of the day-to-day operations of Talley Farms, following the company’s vision to strive for “Excellence in Everything.”

 

What is your connection to gleaning and GleanSLO?

I first heard about GleanSLO from participating in the SLO County Food System Coalition.  I always think of calling Jen Miller, GleanSLO Program Manager, when we have extra product in our Fresh Harvest fields and don’t have the labor to harvest it.  Jen is so enthusiastic about life and her job with the food bank.  I love communicating with her!  If we have the labor, we’ll go ahead and harvest the product and then donate it directly to the food bank.

 

What do you like about GleanSLO?

What I like the most about GleanSLO is we don’t have to use our labor to harvest a crop that we have chosen not to sell.  And it doesn’t get wasted!  All the volunteers are so positive and energetic.  It’s great to see them out in our fields!

 

Can you share ideas with us about the future of GleanSLO and the vision for a healthy community?

 

As the word gets out about GleanSLO and your ability to gather your volunteer troops to harvest, more and more growers will be calling you to finish up certain fields that they may not want to sell due to market conditions.  There are three of us at Talley Farms that communicates with Jen about fields available for gleaning.  As Jen gets to know more and more growers, there will be more product available for the food bank.

 

Any messages you’d like to share with other farmers who might be considering working with GleanSLO? 

Jen Miller is the key to having a warm and consistent relationship with GleanSLO and the food bank.  We are also happy to see volunteers who are aware of food safety standards that we follow in our fields.  We do not usually allow volunteers or strangers in our fields.

50 volunteers gleaned over 6,000 pounds of bell peppers and onions in less than 2 hours at Talley Farms.

50 volunteers gleaned over 6,000 pounds of bell peppers and onions in less than 2 hours at Talley Farms.