fiorella cerpa calderon-food safety manager
Richard was born in the Imperial Valley to a 2nd generation farmer, Cecil Martinez. His family then made their move to Ventura County when Richard was 7. Richard began his career in agriculture at the young age of 8 where he worked for his father harvesting strawberries. At around that same age is when Richard first connected to the Deardorff family where he played Little League Baseball with the next generation of Deardorffs. Over the years Richard worked about every job there is on the farm from harvesting, to driving tractors, applying chemicals, and working in the shop welding and fixing tractors. Richard graduated from Rio Mesa High School in 1981 and decided to continue his agricultural education with on the job, old school training. He then began his career with Deardorff Family Farms (formerly Deardorff Jackson Co.) in 1989 as their Strawberry Grower. Three years later Richard was asked to make a move to San Clemente, CA where he was asked to oversee operations of San Clemente Ranch for Deardorff Jackson. There Richard oversaw production of growing Strawberries, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Cauliflower, and trials of Potatoes. After many successful years of production, Richard returned to Oxnard in 2004 to oversee the production of Tomatoes. As agriculture continued to evolve in California, Richard welcomed the challenge of managing growing operations of Organics. Due to Richards ability to think outside the box and his desire to always improve he coupled his old school, hands on training with the developments of modern technology to become the farmer he is today.
Steve Donovan was born and raised in Ventura County, growing up in Somis and graduating from Camarillo High in 1965. He attended Ventura College then transferred to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he received his B.S. Degree in Mechanized Agriculture. Steve has worked in agriculture all his life, from baling hay and driving tractors at his father’s business as a teenager, to post-college working for Dullam Ranch, who coincidentally used to be a grower for Deardorff-Jackson, Co but the business dissolved years ago. Steve started working with Deardorff-Jackson, Co. in 1992, first as a growing foreman and worked his way up over the years to Production Manager, overseeing all growing operations for our Conventional products; 1000 acres throughout Ventura County. Steve also has a Pesticide Advisors License and a Certified Pest Control Applicator’s License. He has also been a member of the California Celery Research Advisory Board (CCRAB) for the last 23 years, and a chairman of the CCRAB for 15 years. He is also a member of the California Leafy Greens Research Board.
His favorite part of the job? “Growing plants from planting to harvest is very satisfying, and I have enjoyed and do still enjoy working and interacting with the people who work at Deardorff.”
Steve reflects on the changes he’s seen over his years working in agriculture, noting the most significant impact being from the development and use of technology. From calculating acreage, to making the furrows, from adjusting water outputs, to billing customers, to doing payroll, he sees how much more economical and accurate it is today, “In the 70s, to run payroll for 400 people the computer system filled a 9x12 room and took a special operator to operate, taking 12 hours to run, using 2 way radios to communicate. The 80s the computer was the size of a washer and dryer and took 4 hours, the 90s it became a tower and took 2 hours, and now in the 2000s it takes no time at all.”
Steve donovan-production manager
richard martinez- organic production manager
We are extremely fortunate to have some of the best people in the business working with us. Many of them have been with the company for more than 30 years.
Fiorella is originally from Arequipa, Peru, a city located in the south of the country. Its major economic sectors consist of farming and mining.
Her father was a Chemical Engineer that had a distinguished career in a copper mining industry and her mother an exceptional agriculturist and farmer since an early age. She followed her passion to work the land as her grandparents did before her.
Fiorella decided to move to Lima, Peru’s capital city, to get her bachelor degree in Food Science Engineering at the University Nacional Agraria La Molina, where she intended to be a little like both her parents; a combination of an engineer with a background in food and agriculture.
After graduating, she spent a couple of years working in Quality Control Departments in Peru, Chile and Bolivia and with the experience gained from those years she felt the need to continue her education by doing further career development in the field of Food Science.
Subsequently in the fall of 2004, she was accepted to the Food Science and Technology Graduate Program to study a Master degree in Oregon State University. Upon graduation, she moved to Oxnard, CA to become a Quality Assurance and Food Safety Manager in the Fruit Formulation and Fresh Cut & Commodity Produce Industry and has been doing so for the last 10 years since.
She is grateful for the opportunity and the continuous learning in the Food Safety Field throughout her professional career and working in a company like Deardorff Family Farms that is driven to provide the highest standards of Food Safety and great quality products to our customers.