Maria Navarrete, Suzie’s Farm

“My name is Maria Navarrete. I have been working at Suzie’s Farms since they opened. I am from Ensenada, Mexico, but I have been living in the US for a long time now. When I started working here, Suzie’s was a small farm. In the last few years, Suzie’s Farms has grown a lot. They have more customers now. I had the opportunity to see the owner stay up to date with business regulations. For instance organic certification. He makes sure that everything is running smoothly according to the rules imposed by the State of California.  I am also happy to see that more people have the opportunity to work here now. The farm has expanded and we have many returning customers. Whenever I have to take care of a customer, I can tell that they leave very happy with the product they get. The product they receive comes directly from the land to their hands and this benefits them.  We are glad to be able to serve people in this way.”

“Truly, we are like a family.  There are many families working here. For example, here I have my sister, my niece, my husband and his siblings. I also have four sisters working at a different part of the farm. Also, another couple with three of their children work here. All of us here consider the farm a big family. It is beautiful that they are able to provide a job to each one of us and many of us have known each other for years.”


“Prior to working here I didn’t know most of the vegetables. I knew what a chili looked like, however, now I can see the different varieties of chiles that we have. The romanesco cauliflower I had never seen before. It looks like it comes from another world, but when I cook it, it tastes delicious! Also zucchinis…there are lots of different types of zucchinis such as the summer squash. Summer squash tastes delicious! There are more uncommon vegetables that I had never seen before such as eggplants and different types of broccoli. Before I only knew of the green broccoli, but there are many other types. Suzie’s Farms continues to bring new vegetables and that’s how I am getting to know more of them. Everything is delicious!”

“Now when I go to the grocery store, I can tell whether the produce is fresh or not. I see how they try to make it look fresh, by spraying them with water. When you know about the produce, you can tell right away by smelling the vegetable. For instance, when I see celery at the grocery store, apparently, it looks fresh and has a green pretty color, and is crunchy. But as I have seen at this farm, when it comes right from the field I know it is fresh! Now, if I go to a large grocery store, I won’t be fooled. Now I can tell when the celery is fresh and doesn’t have any chemicals.”

“If I buy tomatoes in the market, the tomatoes will last you weeks. Here at Suzie’s Farms, the don’t last that long because they don’t contain hormones, artificial colors or chemicals. Whenever I go to the grocery store, I can see that some of the vegetables look deteriorated. I can tell that they have been there for weeks. All they do is rotate them.  Here at Suzie’s Farms we don’t do that. When the vegetables are a week old, we get rid of them and feed them to the chickens or use them for compost. There is zero waste.”

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“My parents had a great influence over me in regards to laboring on the farm. Before this land became Suzie’s Farms, many years ago, the land was strawberry fields.My parents had many memories in this place. My parents grew up being farmers. They always worked in the fields. In some ways I follow their steps.  What is my experience regarding using organic products? It is very important to use organic products, and they are especially good for our children. Many years ago, you did not see people getting sick, especially children and young people. These things we are seeing now, chemicals, processed food, and it makes you more conscious of what you eat.”


“At the beginning of the organic movement, prices were outrageous. Only well off people were able to afford organic food. However, now organic food is available at a lower price, especially at Farmers’ Markets. Sometimes we prefer to pay “less” and buy the oranges that have pesticides because they are cheaper. My experience is that it’s worth it to buy organic! People who come here tell me that even though vegetables are more expensive here, it is worthwhile to get them. For instance, you can go to the store and with $50.00 buy a kilo of meat and other things that contain chemicals. However, if I come to a farm or Farmer’s Market, I can buy organic eggs and vegetables without hormones. When you eat organic vegetables, you don’t have to go to the doctor as often or start a special diet. You save money, and it compensates for the fact that you are using organic products.”