Explain what your business is/does?

J&P Organics grows organic vegetables and fruits, packs, and delivers boxes with fresh vegetables and fruits to people’s homes in the Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties.

When did you start it?

We started in Spring of 2006

Why did you start it?

My family had farmed raspberries and flowers in the past but due to conditions out of our control my parents had to take regular jobs in nurseries. I had the opportunity to come to college and study environmental science. Luck would have it that I became interested in organic farming after learning and seeing the negative effects of pesticides on the environment and our bodies. Since my family has a background in farming It just seemed like the right path to take.

How did the recession affect you and your business?

We luckily just saw small growth but any growth is good growth.

What do you like about your work?

Everything! I like the farming aspect, I like the packing with my brother listening to music, driving my van while eating a basket full of organic strawberries, delivering to people’s houses (even if I have to run away from dogs)... Everyday is different.

What are the challenges?

The weather! If it’s too hot the sun damages certain fruits and veggies, if it’s too cold produce doesn’t grow, if it rains strawberries go bad, if it doesn’t rain we suffer the drought economically, etc.

How did your CSUMB education prepare you?

CSUMB was the key element to our decision to grow organic. ESSP lead us to a more sustainable and earth friendly way of growing produce. Gave me the knowledge to make decisions while taking all parties that may be affected into consideration.

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering starting a business?

Networking! I have had the immense fortune to meet great people who know other great people that have helped us grow.

Anything else you'd like to add?

You may hate your professors for a little while, especially when they make you write and re-write, add and divide, but in the end it all comes together and creates a more well-rounded and knowledgeable person -- and you remember them fondly as the years go by.