Meet our Team
The Rivermaid team has expertise in agriculture, operations, consumer marketing, logistics and more. But as you’ll read in the profiles below, the common denominator is a passion for business and doing whatever it takes to put the best tasting pears and cherries on the retail shelf.
Click on a name below and learn more about the people that put flavor first.
Ownership / Leadership
Chiles Wilson Principal Owner & Chairman
Born and raised in the Sacramento River Delta community of Walnut Grove, Chiles brought his family’s long farming heritage into its fifth generation.
He began working for All State Packers in 1972, and so impressed its owner – the Eadington Davis Company – that they handed him the operational reins in 1979. The company flourished under the leadership of Chiles and his longtime friend, Brian Machado. So much so, that in 1993, the two were able to buy-out Eadington Davis and own the company outright.
In 2011, All State Packers was renamed Rivermaid Trading Company, and Chiles continues to oversee the company’s operations as its President. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Pacific Coast Producers, a California-based fruit processor.
“Being able to continue my family’s farming legacy and be part of an industry-leading company setting new standards in quality, flavor and safety – that’s been a dream come true,” Chiles said. “It just doesn’t get any better than that.”
While Chiles’ professional journey has taken him far, he continues to live in his Walnut Grove home surrounded by his family’s pear orchards.
Brian Machado Principal owner, Corporate Vice-President & Salesperson
After graduating with a degree in Agronomy from California State University, Chico, in 1978, Brian gave himself exactly one day to relax and reflect on the achievement. The very next Monday, he began working for All State Packers (now Rivermaid Trading Company), where he continues to put his education and years of farming experience to work every day.
Representing the fourth generation of a farming family, Brian was especially drawn to the pear business, appreciating the healthful benefits of the product as well as the character of the people involved. He quickly rose to the position of Sales Manager, and then was given the opportunity of becoming a partner in the business.
“It’s gratifying to know that we’ve added third, fourth and fifth generation farmers to our grower base,” Brian says. “They’re good people – the heart of our supply – and I enjoy a good rapport with them. To see Rivermaid Trading Company thrive and contribute to the economy is rewarding, because I know we’re providing a service that’s vital to the nation.”
When Brian isn’t busy with his duties at Rivermaid Trading Company, he enjoys athletic and concert events, travel, history and antiquities. His love of all things outdoors extends from skiing to hunting to the occasional round of golf. Brian is also involved with Special Olympics, the Lake County Pear Association Board and other worthwhile organizations.
Patrick Archibeque Corporate President & CEO
Patrick came to Rivermaid Trading Company in 2003 with two degrees from UC Davis (a B.S. in Agricultural Science & Management and an MBA) and a wealth of industry experience. He was named Sales Manager in 2006, COO in 2008, and CEO in 2011, a position that enables him to develop the company’s vision and execute its goals on a daily basis.
“We have a clear vision of where we’re going, we’re developing awesome human talent and hiring even more talent as we grow,” Patrick says. “We’re looking hard at what we do and how we can get better at it. Perishability is pressure. Strategy is stimulating.”
That kind of intensity is in Patrick’s DNA and in the heart of our company, fueled by Patrick’s belief in education, travel and observation. During his tenure with Marko Zaninovich, Patrick traveled to Asia and Europe to observe his products at market. “There was nothing more valuable in my experience,” he says.
At the same time, he puts a premium on activities our entire team can enjoy together. “We drive pear category growth with good data and by giving consumers the most flavorful eating experience, and we want to have fun doing it,” he explained.
“We’re passionate about our categories, and we want to be the world’s authorities on them.”
Apart from his role at Rivermaid Trading Company, Patrick’s interests run the gamut from hunting to music, wine to fantasy football. He enjoys coaching youth soccer, and serves as a board member of the California Pear Advisory Board and the California Pear Growers Association.
Marie Degelos Controller
Standing at just 5’2”, Marie Deglos is a powerhouse of accounting knowledge, work ethic, and management expertise. Born in San Jose, she remained close to her California roots even after spending most of her high school years in Ohio. Hard work has never intimidated Marie, which she proved by graduating with honors from CSUS in 2009 with a double major in accounting and international finance. She started with Rivermaid Trading in 2014, quickly earning a reputation for doing what was needed in order to get the finance and accounting division up to speed and build a department capable of handling the diverse and complex challenges of the agricultural industry. It is not for nothing that she possesses an axe behind her desk engraved with the words “Born to Chop.”
“As every farmer knows,” Marie says, “if you want growth, sometimes you have to prune.”
When not juggling financial management responsibilities, Marie enjoys spending time with her two beautiful children Marek and Troian, parks and playdates, and teaching them that you don’t have to be tall to be head and shoulders above the rest.
Chan Van Assistant Controller
Chan was born in Sacramento, CA. Chan stayed close to her roots and graduated from CSUS with a bachelor’s in accounting and Finance. Chan started her career at a local CPA firm working in their tax department before moving on to the private sphere where she gained many of the skills necessary for her position at Rivermaid.
Chan started with Rivermaid in 2016 and quickly displayed her abilities to create order, improve processes and boost office morale with her bright personality.
“There is no secrets to success,” Says Chan, “It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
In her spare time, Chan loves to spend time with her nieces and family, travel to new places and try new foods.
Carina Gastelum Human Resources Manager
Sales & Marketing
Karla Arceo Sales Coordinator
Karla was born and raised right here in Lodi, CA. She joined the Rivermaid team in 2011, gaining experience from different positions held such as receptionist, sales assistant, and worked her way up to becoming a sales coordinator. Karla’s responsible for providing support to the other sales members and key customers as well as overseeing export processes for cherries and pears.
During her time at Rivermaid, Karla also completed her bachelor’s degree at Chico State University.
“I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people during my time here at Rivermaid and I consider this place my second home/ family,” she says. “I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned from my co-workers and the opportunities I’ve been given to expand my knowledge of the produce industry.”
Karla continues to grow and lead at Rivermaid. In 2019, in addition to her other duties, Karla began establishing sales accounts of her own.
In her spare time, Karla enjoys spending time with family, reading at the local coffee shop, and tending her flower/ berry garden.
Kyle Persky Sales Manager
Kyle grew up north of Sacramento in Willows, California. In 2002 He started his career in the produce industry after graduating from UC Davis. Living and working in Sacramento and Lake County areas, he developed a sincere admiration for the people of the produce industry.
“I have been lucky enough to work with so many different types of people, from domestic retail buyers to importers all over Latin America.” Kyle says. “There are so many unique and talented people in produce, and that’s what makes the industry special.”
In January 2016, Kyle and his family moved to Lodi, California to join the Rivermaid Trading Company team. He will be instrumental in finding the right homes for our growers’ fruit.
“I believe I am a good planner and a strong problem solver.” He says. “I enjoy ‘finding the best fit’ whether that means matching the right mix of product and service for a particular customer or finding the right distribution channel for a particular part of the crop.”
In his spare time Kyle enjoys spending time with the wife and two children, traveling, playing golf, or going on Alaskan ocean fishing trips with his Dad.
Scott Martinez Vice President of Sales
With 29 years of experience in the Northwest pear industry, Scott is responsible for developing Rivermaid Trading Company’s base of growers and products in this strategic region. Scott says, “Produce is in my blood.” And he has the pedigree to prove it, with a father who served as a produce buyer for Kroger in the 1970s.
“I remember going to the Los Angeles Produce Market with him as a kid, as he bought produce for the warehouse,” Scott recalls. “I liked the interaction between buyer and seller – it was business done on a handshake, and it’s essentially done the same way today.”
Scott understands that the produce business relies on personal relationships, and is largely based on trust. Developing trust means consistently performing for both our growers and customers, product after product, year after year. He also understands the risks of farming, and enjoys helping our growers become as successful as possible.
With a degree in Business Management from Northwest Nazarene College, Scott appreciates Rivermaid Trading Company’s approach to business. “We’re an industry leader, a forward thinker, with progressive owners and young, aggressive management,” he says. “At the same time, we’re good stewards of the land, responsibly keeping it in a healthy state and giving back to our community and our industry in many ways.”
In his spare time, Scott likes to fish with his kids, coach high school girls softball and basketball, play golf and enjoy a good cigar. He also serves on the Pear Bureau Northwest Promotional Board and the Fresh Pear Committee Board, and has been a Salvation Army board member for six years. Scott is on the Foundation Board of Cascade Christian High School.
Justin Bloss Sales Representative
Hailing from the Midwest, Justin was born and raised in Michigan. In 2014, he started his professional career in the produce industry after moving to the Sacramento area to manage a fresh vegetable operation. Prior to entering California agriculture, Justin held multiple positions with Michigan based retailer Meijer while completing studies at Ferris State University.
“Agriculture has always been a part of my life.” Justin says. “In my early childhood, I would ride around in the semis of our family business with my dad or grandpa to local dairies and haul the raw milk to be processed. I started ‘officially’ working in the summers at the age of 12, de-tasseling seed corn. As an adult, I’ve spent years working with great mentors learning how to grow, pack, and market fresh fruits and vegetables.”
In February 2019, Justin and his family moved from West Sacramento to Lodi, California to join the Rivermaid team. He hopes to add new perspective from his time spent in retail grocery, and add value to new and existing customers.
In his spare time Justin enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, hiking and camping in national parks, catching a hockey game, and traveling around the country to visit family.
Wolfgang Rochert Procurement Manager
Wolfgang has been a part of Rivermaid’s production team for 11 years now and is our Procurement Manager. He is responsible for the purchasing of all the packaging materials used for our cherries and pears. Wolfgang also assists in the exportation process for cherries such as working with the county agricultural department on fumigation procedures.
His organizational skills and meticulous planning when it comes to procurement assures for a fluid and efficient production process for the packing facility and the sales team.
“What I like about working here at Rivermaid is being a part of a bigger team.”
Wolfgang enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as visiting his hometown in Germany.
Angelo Diaz IT Manager & Produce Traceability Supervisor
Angelo began working for Rivermaid eight years ago and has worked his way up to becoming our IT Manager and Produce Traceability Supervisor. Angelo manages Rivermaid’s server, network security and traceability equipment/ software as well as supervising the production lines during the season.
With the all the technological advances, both on the production line and in our offices, we greatly rely on Angelo and his IT expertise to ensure all departments are running efficiently.
“I enjoy the fact that we work together as a unit for the best interest of the company,” he says. “I also appreciate the fact that I have had the chance to grow professionally with Rivermaid as they have been expanding on the business side. There is a lot of room for growth.”
Angelo’s hobbies include expanding his ever growing “Funko Pop” collection and participating in fantasy football leagues.
Rosa Mora Quality Control Manager & Food Safety
Rosa joined Rivermaid’s production staff in June 2010 and is our Quality Control Manager and a Food Safety Coordinator. Along with her food safety audit responsibilities, Rosa works with all the departments to ensure the product being packed meets our high quality standards and customer specifications. Rosa provides the needed support to guarantee a smooth and consistent packing process for both cherries and pears.
Her professionalism and experience contributes to our successfully established, quality brand of excellence that customers can rely on.
“I believe it’s very important to love what you do and be happy where you work. Being part of the Rivermaid family has made that possible.”
When Rosa isn’t busy working (or buying shoes), she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and traveling.
Veronica Equihua Production Supervisor
Veronica has been working for Rivermaid since 2001 and is one of our production supervisors. Veronica plays a key role at our Lodi and Steamboat plants by providing the necessary labor planning to ensure a smooth packing process. She also oversees the training of new employees and supervises workers on the packing line, monitoring for proper handling and packing of both cherries and pears.
Veronica’s training and guidance of production employees allows for consistent and quality products that live up to Rivermaid’s expectations.
“For me, the employees at Rivermaid are what make working here so enjoyable. Over the years, I have met so many interesting people that have inspired me with their hard work and dedication.”
Veronica often spends her free time immersing herself in nature and hiking with her family.
Miguel Nuñez Cold Storage Manager
Miguel began his career at Rivermaid back when it was known as All State Packers in 1988 and is now the Cold Storage Manager for our Lodi facility and Steamboat facility in Walnut Grove. Miguel oversees our shipping/receiving operations at both cooler locations and works closely with our sales and production team to ensure inventory processes run smoothly.
Miguel’s dedication and attention to detail ensures that orders will be shipped accurately and thus allowing for the best customer service.
“I love the overall culture here. Everyone is passionate, cares about the business and takes pride in their job. Here, your career trajectory is limitless with plenty of growth potential.”
In his free time, Miguel enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting and fishing.
Juan Nuñez Shipping & Receiving Supervisor
Juan has been a part of Rivermaid’s family for 21 years now and is one of the most experienced members of our shipping department. Juan supervises both the shipping and receiving processes here at our Lodi plant as well as providing inventory support to our sales staff.
Under his supervision, we can be assured that orders received are stored properly and our coolers are maintained and organized; thus allowing for orders to be shipped out in a timely manner during the season.
“The people that work here have become like family to me and there is always a positive environment as a result.”
Juan enjoys barbecuing, traveling and spending quality time with his family and friends.
John Lucchetti Production Manager
John was hired by Rivermaid in March of 2013 as a production manager for both cherries and pears, overseeing the day to day operations in our packing facilities. Along with his responsibilities on the production line, John also works with the sales department in executing special projects and assisting our sister company during their busy season in the winter months.
John’s leadership and initiative facilitates the many processes required to efficiently run production here at Rivermaid; allowing for a great experience to both our customers and consumers.
“I enjoy the family like atmosphere and the opportunity to try to take us to the top of the industry.”
John’s favorite pastimes include duck and dove hunting with his dog Gigi and golfing.
Chiles Wilson Jr. Project Manager
Chiles joined California Fruit Exchange, LLC (the e-commerce sister company of Rivermaid) in 2012. He is now the Executive Vice President, managing procurement, inventory, and operations. In conjunction with his responsibilities for California Fruit Exchange, Chiles is managing an experimental trial for Rivermaid.
“I’m fortunate to be surrounded by so many hardworking and talented people. I’m excited to continue working at the intersection of agriculture and e-commerce!”
Chiles enjoys Jiu Jitsu, his dogs, and being a part of his local volunteer fire department.
California Fruit Exchange, LLC was founded in 2009 in partnership with Rivermaid. Today, California Fruit Exchange spans five national production and distribution facilities and owns well-known brands like Manhattan Fruitier, LoveBerries, Branch to Box, A Gift Inside, and Fruitfully. In addition to its own brands, California Fruit Exchange offers perishable packing and fulfillment services for many household name brands.
Albert Dalporto Farming Manager & Field Representative
From the age of eight, when Albert began irrigating the fields of his family’s farming operation, he has found farming to be more than merely an occupation – it is his passion.
“I’ve never wanted to do anything else except be involved in agriculture,” he says.
After graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Albert enjoyed a 15-year career in farm management before coming to Rivermaid Trading Company, attracted by the high ethical standards of its leadership and the high standards expected of its people.
Today, Albert is responsible for communicating with cherry growers throughout the year, advising them on maintaining the highest quality possible.
“We want to make sure the consumer gets the quality they expect when they purchase Rivermaid products,” he says. “That’s vitally important to all of us.”
When he’s not in the orchards, Albert can be found traveling, working out and participating in sports, and has enjoyed coaching high school basketball.
Chris Frieders Joe Green Ranch
“Choose a career you love, and you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life.” For Chris Frieders, that’s more than just a saying – it’s the truth. “For me, farming isn’t work,” he says. “It’s my life. It’s my family’s life. It’s what I love.”
A fifth-generation grower, Chris still lives on the Sacramento Valley pear orchard first planted in 1860 by his great-grandfather. He grows pears exclusively, including such varieties as Bartlett, Golden Bosc and Organic Golden Bosc. He believes growers should embrace organic farming practices whenever it is viable, and credits organic practices for helping improve his conventional farming and his stewardship of the land.
Why does Chris enjoy working with Rivermaid Trading Company? “Rivermaid is a family run company, and family farming companies are driven by a passion that sets them apart from other businesses,” he says. “With Rivermaid, there’s an honesty and passion for the products they put their name on. These are values that I believe in.”
With a degree in agriculture and over 40 years of field experience, Chris has become an innovator in pear production, planting varieties that will one day reduce his dependence on hand labor. He also believes growers have a responsibility beyond merely providing food.
“I’m concerned that consumers have lost their connection with the land and their food sources, and it’s becoming the growers’ responsibility to educate them,” he says. “Consumers need to know that their demands for food quality and safety are best being met right here at home.”
Chris is a Pear Growers board member and past chairman of the California Pear Advisory Board. In his spare time, he enjoys horseback riding, metal sculpture and sailing.
Alex Dentoni Field Representative
Alex was born in Morada, California. Inspired by his grandfathers farming operations, he acquired his bachelors degree in communications from Sac State. Alex joined Rivermaid’s field staff in 2020 and is one of our field representatives for cherries. Alex is responsible for grower relations and farm duties such as monitoring application of chemicals and tree maintenance, just to name a few.
“I have grown up in the agriculture industry and enjoy the farming camaraderie.”
Alex enjoys living an active outdoor lifestyle which includes hobbies such as surfing and snowboarding. Alex is also a passionate baseball player.
Fidel Suarez Field Supervisor
Fidel began his career at Rivermaid back in 2011 as one of our field supervisors for cherries, assisting Albert, Jerry and Bob with day to day tasks in the orchard. Fidel’s responsible for overseeing the harvest crews in the various orchards here in the northern district of Lodi/ Linden.
His dedication to his work and the support he provides to our cherry field staff allows for an effortless process of getting product from the field to our production plant in a timely and flowing manner.
“What I like about working for Rivermaid is the friendly atmosphere between the workers and field staff. Everyone gets along well and works together; I feel comfortable when going to work.”
Fidel enjoys spending time with his friends and family on his days off. He particularly loves being able to participate in the academic and extracurricular activities of his children.
Jerrett McGary Field Representative
Jared recently joined Rivermaid’s staff as a field representative, working with our different growers on farming practices and maintaining grower relationships.
“The thing I enjoy about working at Rivermaid is the people I’m surrounded by and the friendly atmosphere.”
In his spare time, Jared is often spending time with his friends and family.
Patrick Fitzgerald Field Quality Manager
Patrick has been a member of Rivermaid’s field staff for four years now and plays a key role in maintaining our goal: providing the best possible eating experience for our customers. Patrick helps ensure that our fields are maintained and are meeting our quality standards.
“I think it’s the great respect that everyone has for each other that makes Rivermaid an enjoyable place to work at.”
Patrick’s personal interests include fishing and family time.
Rick Arata Field Representative
Rick started working for Rivermaid in 2018 as a seasonal field representative for cherries. Reporting field estimates, maintaining grower relationships and field transportation are just a few of the responsibilities that Rick handles during cherry season.
Rick enjoys the opportunity to be involved and work hands on in the field which he feels translates to a higher quality product. He cherishes his family and friends and the time he spends with them.
Troy Coldani Field Representative
Troy joined the Rivermaid team two years ago as a field representative for our cherry program, primarily dealing with orchards in the Sacramento Delta region. Troy provides support to our growers with his knowledge on different application processes for the orchard during certain times of the year. He also gives growers suggestions to improve farming practices and manages the harvest crews.
“In order to succeed as a company, you need to be able to work together as a team and that’s what we have here at Rivermaid.”
Troy enjoys hunting, fishing and quality time with his loved ones.
Jaime Camargo Field Representative
Having been in agriculture since 1972, Jaime is no stranger to the high demands of field work and management. He joined the Rivermaid team 8 years ago as a field advisor and has been a key player in our California cherry program.
Jaime spends his days in the field monitoring and supervising the farming for many of our cherry growers. He often provides recommendations to growers on ways to improve their farming practices.
“We have a great team at Rivermaid that is targeting success. Everyone here is equal and emphasizes teamwork; it’s enjoyable to work here.”
Jaime’s philosophy on life is to be ambitious when it comes to making friends and love your family.
“God bless my family, my company and my country.”
When he’s not busy with farming, Jaime enjoys coaching for soccer teams at junior high and high school level. He also has umpired for little league baseball for the past forty years.
Bob Schmitt Field Representative
Bob has been working for Rivermaid for 8 years as a field representative and farm manager, ensuring that farming operations for cherries run as smoothly as possible. Bob also oversees the necessary processes and paperwork at the farm level needed for exporting cherries, providing assurance of a smooth transaction to our international customers.
“What I enjoy about Rivermaid are my co-workers. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work with such great people here.”
Bob’s hobbies include spending quality time with his family, hunting, fishing and golfing.
Jerry Colombini Field Representative
Jerry graduated from Cal Poly in 1978 with a degree in Ag. Business Management and has been a member of the Rivermaid family for 28 years. As a field representative for both cherries and pears, Jerry’s responsibilities include: procuring new growers and maintaining grower information as well as overseeing crop harvest.
“I really like the family atmosphere and comradery with all the employees at Rivermaid, from the field to the packing shed.”
Jerry has his own cherries and almonds that he farms with his son-in-law. When he’s not busy out in the field, Jerry enjoys golfing, fishing and spending time with his family and friends. He has been happily married 38 years to his wife Vicki and has three children and two grandchildren.
Paul Wilson Field Representative
Paul always knew he wanted to be in agriculture. His great-grandparents were farmers, his grandparents were farmers and his parents are farmers. During and after college, Paul worked for Dan Winiecke at Sabroso(now Tree Top) as a fieldman. There, Paul learned how to buy stone fruit, apples, pears, cherries, cling peaches and berries from growers in Washington, Oregon, California and Canada for processing.
“Working for Dan at Sabroso taught me a lot about the breadth and depth of the world of agriculture. It gave me a wider perspective for what we do as farmers and agriculturalists. ”
Today, Paul manages grower relations for Rivermaid’s Pear Growers and oversees Rivermaid’s Cherry and Pear by-product sales. In addition to his responsibilities at Rivermaid, Paul serves on the Board of Directors of the California Fresh Fruit Association and Reclamation District 556.
“My favorite part about working at Rivermaid is feeling like I am a part of a great team. I am excited to build a foundation for the generations to come. ”
In his free time, Paul enjoys grappling, reading, travel (he’s been to 65 countries), spending time with his wife, Lorraine and raising their Yorkies, Winston and Remi.
Anthony Buckholz￼ Farm Manager
Anthony Buckholz is a generational farmer, born and raised in the cherry capital of California—Linden. He grew up on his family’s farm, where he learned how to grow cherries and walnuts. After graduating high school, he went straight into the field to chase his passion for farming.
In his free time, Anthony enjoys golfing with friends and family.
Tony Yasuda Field Representative
Tony Yasuda’s passion for growing excellent fruit is second only to his sense of style. His appreciation and attention to the details in his orchard and life have led a third generation raisin grape grower into a cherry growing powerhouse in California’s central valley. Always looking to grow and tackle new challenges, Tony’s grandfather and father diversified away from raisin grapes into more challenging crops such as peaches, plums, and other tree fruits. Tony brought his wealth of knowledge to the Rivermaid Team in late 2021 as a field representative & fruit grower in the southern districts. When he’s not in the orchard, Tony enjoys traveling, especially to the various wine growing regions for a tasting.
Luke Workman Field Representative
Luke Workman currently owns and operates his own 150-acre cherry orchard in one of the earliest cherry producing regions of California. A true forward thinking expert in his field, Luke is known for his ability to consistently produce high-quality cherries year after year while always being on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve his farm’s productivity and sustainability. He is passionate about exploring the latest technologies and techniques in agriculture and is constantly striving to find new ways to stay ahead of the curve.
Joining Rivermaid as a field representative in 2023, Luke brings his valuable experience, knowledge and quality cherries to the team. He and the growers he represents provide early season fruit, enabling Rivermaid to start and maintain season-long programs earlier. Despite the demands of running a successful farm, Luke always makes time for his family. He is a devoted husband and father of two, and he enjoys spending time with his loved ones and visiting family in Texas.
Daniel Wilson KAY DIX, INC
A fifth-generation farmer, Daniel Wilson is part of a California pear legacy that dates back to his grandfather, Darrell Mealer, who began raising them in 1917 on Andrus Island in the Sacramento Delta. Why did Daniel decide to continue the family’s farming heritage?
“I suppose you could argue the weather chose my profession,” he chuckles. “I came home from college with an Engineering degree to help my dad during the drought of 1976 and 1977 and never left.”
On a more serious note, Daniel enjoys the challenge of farming – of producing food and employment for people – as well as the fact that “farming is never boring.”
Today, his ranches remain in the Sacramento Delta region near Walnut Grove, where he grows Bosc, Star Crimson and Rivermaid Red pear varieties. At one time, his family had grown the popular Bartlett variety, but now focuses on pears that represent fresh fruit rather than canned.
“We are a fresh fruit company,” he proudly says.
In addition to sustaining the same land – and in many cases, the same trees – that produced for his ancestors, Daniel still operates a packing shed on Andrus Island. The perfect pear climate and abundant water are among the reasons his operations continue to flourish.
As Daniel welcomes his grandson, Timmy, into the family business (representing the family’s seventh generation in farming), he reflects on what he enjoys most about working with Rivermaid Trading Company.
“Rivermaid is always growing and improving,” he says. “Every year a significant effort is put into improving quality for the customer and returns for the grower, and great attention is put into food safety.”
Alex Wilson KAY DIX, INC
David Weiss Bella Vista Farming Company
A fourth-generation farmer, David continues a family legacy that began with the farming of row crops in California’s Yolo County. He graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, and after working in the technology and alternative energy fields, returned to his farming roots in 1993 to manage the Quercus Ranch in Kelseyville, California.
“Somehow I always knew I’d come back to farming,” David says. “Not only is it in my blood, but I find it endlessly interesting.”
Pears, in particular, have always held David’s interest. In 2000, he started Bella Vista Farming Company which today manages over 1,200 acres of pears and wine grapes, including 450 acres of Bartlett pears.
David appreciates the versatility of pears, which can be consumed as juice, dried, canned or fresh. Pears are a special fruit requiring a special climate in which to grow, and Lake County, California, has it.
“It’s one of the world’s best places to grow pears,” David says. “Plus, it allows me to make my home in Northern California — one of the greatest slices of earth to live in!”
When he’s not managing his ranches, David likes to spend time with his family enjoying the Bay Area. He and his wife also like to collect Arts and Crafts furniture.
Robert Arceo Rivermaid Trading Company
Robert’s father was a farmworker who labored in the fields of the Sacramento Delta for over 40 years. As a child, Robert worked alongside his father on weekends and summer vacations, creating “fond memories of honorable and rewarding work” while laying the foundation for a lifelong career in farming.
“I decided this was the way I wanted to earn a living and where I wanted to raise a family,” he says. “I’m proud to be a first-generation farmer.”
Robert and his wife now grow Bartlett and Red Pears and Bing Cherries on their 80-acre ranch. Their crop is thriving, thanks to the soil and climate that have made the Delta so productive for over a century, as well as innovative farming practices such as tree training techniques, unconventional spacing, development of new varieties and growing techniques and more.
Robert joined the Rivermaid Trading Company family over 25 years ago, knowing he would be part of a “growing, forward-thinking, family-oriented company.” What does he enjoy most about his career?
“Rivermaid gives me the opportunity to share my farming passion and knowledge with other growers, as well as my three daughters and young grandchildren,” he says. “It’s my legacy to them.”
When he’s not in the orchard, Robert enjoys fishing and extended camping trips with his extended family.
Randy Ruddick Redwood Empire
Randy Ruddick is a fourth-generation pear grower, continuing a family farming tradition begun by his great-grandfather on a five-acre parcel of land.
Today, that parcel is home to Randy’s 270-acre operation. Some of the original trees planted by his ancestors are still producing and, according to Randy, produce some of the best quality fruit he’s ever tasted.
“There’s nothing cooler than picking a piece of fruit right off a tree and eating it,” says Randy. “It’s something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.”
Alongside his parents, sister, wife and teenage daughters, Randy grows a wide variety of pears with a commitment to quality made even more special by the fact that there are only about 40 pear farms left in California – each one family owned and operated.
“To produce something in the ground that has been in the family for so long is a very special and rare thing,” says Randy. “When you buy our pears, you know you’re eating a piece of fruit grown with a rich heritage and a lot of heart.”
Jeff Mccormack John Mccormack Company
“Farming is in my blood,” says Jeff McCormack, a fourth-generation farmer whose family farming heritage dates back over 125 years. “Planting a fruit tree and nurturing it to production is my passion, and walking the orchards at harvest time is one of my greatest pleasures.”
For the last 100 years, the McCormack family has specialized in growing pears, and Jeff began contributing to that tradition in 1979 upon earning his degree in Ag Business Management at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Now farming eight orchards – including 564 acres of pears – in the Sacramento River Delta, Jeff grows multiple pear varieties to meet consumer demand. While the popular Bartlett makes up 80% of his pear acreage, Jeff also grows Sunsprite (his favorite eating pear), Starkrimson, Rivermaid Red, French Butter, Seckel and Golden Bosc. All grown to perfection thanks to fertile alluvial soil, plentiful water and the region’s perfect growing climate.
Rivermaid Trading Company has been the McCormack family’s exclusive selling agent for more than a decade now, moving a tremendous volume of fresh pears and cherries and enabling McCormack to become the company’s largest outside grower of Bartlett pears.
“Rivermaid has a great field department and sales team that work in concert with us,” says Jeff. “They make us feel like part of their family.”
A former board member of the California Pear Growers Association, Jeff works hard to keep pace with evolving farming practices. He’s also preparing to welcome the family’s fifth generation into the company when his son graduates with his Fruit Science degree. When he’s not in the orchard, Jeff serves on the Pear Research Committee of the California Pear Advisory Board, and enjoys camping, boating, reading, wine tasting and barbecuing with friends.