“It’s a lifestyle choice” – John Tobias
It is obvious from the minute you meet him that John Tobias is doing what he wants to do and that is farm the land. John grew up in a family of cattle ranchers, but when it came time to venture out on his own he eventually settled on raising crops instead. John started out growing baby leaf lettuce and tomatoes and in the 1990’s he decided to make the conversion to organic farming. When asked why organic, John will tell you that it is all part of a sense of environmental stewardship that he and his family share.
John is married to Marian, who is a Speech Therapist for the local public school district. They have three children. The oldest is Jennifer and she is currently working on her master’s degree in Structural Engineering. Second in line is Michael and he is currently in Veterinary school at U C Davis. The youngest son, Mark, is a senior in high school planning his college career.
John currently farms about 500 acres in Hollister, California and you recognize immediately that John is a hands on farmer. He still grows baby leaf lettuce and tomatoes but when you go to his home you see that it is surrounded by fields where the squash and onions are grown. During the fall and early winter months you may find in your Abundant Harvest Organics box butternut squash, spaghetti squash, red or yellow onions, or shallots that were grown by John. When we visited the crew was busy in the shed sorting the onions by size and carefully hand washing the squash with a damp rag to remove the rich brown earth that was still clinging to them.
John had to think long and hard when asked what the hardest part of farming was. When he did respond he said that he really wouldn’t say it is hard, but mostly challenging. There are the constant unknowns like the weather and the market. On the other hand it took him no time at all to respond with his favorite part of farming. It was right then and there that you could see that he is doing what he loves to do. He loves the whole process and watching it unfold from the planting of the seed to the harvest of the crop. There are always new beginnings. It is a “lifestyle choice” according to John and it certainly seems to be a lifestyle that fits him well.