Ismael Hernandez

Ocean Mist Farms
“I came from a small town from southwestern Mexico about 80 miles south of Morelia City, the capital of Michoacan state. That’s where I finished high school and two years of university. My mom and dad were U.S. immigrants before I was born, so every summer during summer vacation, I came to the Salinas Valley and harvested broccoli. I worked with the same crew for five years before realizing that even with a university degree there might not be enough places with jobs in Mexico. I also missed my family since both of my parents, sisters, and younger brothers had moved permanently to the U.S. I made the decision to leave school in Morelia and return to Salinas. My family didn’t understand why I wanted to keep working in the agriculture business when I had the education to do many other things, but my answer to them was that I like to work very close to nature and to bring healthy food to the table. Although I may never meet the millions of people that eat the food we harvest, I know I have helped them. And when I see the beauty of the broccoli and celery in the fields, I know my job is important.”
“As a young child, my grandmother had a garden in our backyard and while she was cooking, she would ask me to go pick jalapenos, tomatoes, and squash. That garden made a big impression on me and my life. I believe that is where my passion for food and fellowship developed. On Sundays our family would gather at my grandparents’ home to eat and laugh. I believe that no matter what happens in life there is no better feeling than gathering around the dinner table with your family and friends.”