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.”