April 16, 2019
Krista Tavares has a passion for plants. She grew up in suburban Los Angeles to parents who had no connection to agriculture. In Kindergarten she was introduced to growing plants through a raised bed garden at school and the rest is history. That school lesson led to getting her own raised beds at age 10 and lesson about growing food and dealing with pests in the garden. She went to college for Crop Science and Management at UC Davis and that led her to a career in the industry. She is a Pest Control Advisor (PCA) and works as a Sales Representative for Syngenta in California. Her job is to work with growers and other PCAs to identify issues with their crops and find solutions to help them grow healthy and bountiful yields.
I met Krista on a cool California winter morning in an almond orchard filled with fog. She needed to check the roots on a tree in that orchard and brought along her shovel, digging down into the root system. She showed me an issue that that grove has and explained that she would identify a product for the grower that they could apply to help the roots get more water and the trees to flourish.
From there we headed to another field to meet a fellow PCA and customer of hers, Justin Burrows. It was his family’s almond field and grape vines at that property and we learned about some of the issues almond trees face with mummies…and not the kind from the movies! Mummies are nuts that are left on the tree after the harvest. They are susceptible to the Navel Orange Worm and when that worm takes hold it multiplies quickly. In opening up one of the mummies we found a nut with FOUR worms in it, make it easy to see what the issues could be. Again, Krista worked with Justin to identify a product to help eliminate those pests and make a direct impact to his bottom line, in the right direction.
We ended our day in Fresno County in a garlic field, taking a peek at the growing plant that is so important to so many of us in our cooking! Then a quick walk across the street landed us in a Pistachio grove. She explained that about 300 different crops are grown in their area, making the agriculture abundant and super diverse!
Krista’s infectious enthusiasm for agriculture was a joy to be around. She is a walking billboard for the need to connect kids to agriculture through growing food. In her case, that connection brought an amazing young woman to the field of agriculture, spreading a positive #farmher message.
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