Hector Gutierrez is a first-generation strawberry farmer from Oxnard, California. He exemplifies environmental responsibility in California strawberry farming.
Growing up in an agricultural family in the Central Valley, Hector developed a profound respect for the land and a desire be a steward of the environment. He initially farmed vegetables, but several decades ago gravitated to “the pinnacle of what I wanted to do” – growing strawberries.
In addition to being a farmer, Hector is a licensed pest control advisor who understands integrated pest management strategies. He is committed to employing sustainable farming practices, which include a wide range of organic and conventional methods. Some of his sustainable practices include:
- Limiting pesticides with use of a bug vacuum to remove harmful insects.
- Plants flowers to attract beneficial insects.
- Uses fish emulsion as an environmentally friendly fertilizer.
- Participates in cutting-edge research to see a further reduction in pesticide use.
Hector says he has learned a lot from organics, and says, “The public has a misperception about how we farm. We only use pesticides if we have to – and even then, as judiciously as possible.”