By RACHAL PINKERTON
QUINCY — Around the Quincy area, the Becerra family is known for their garden - their very large garden.
Rosa and Amado Becerra first started selling their produce in 1992. Their operation has grown over the years and led to the family being named the Farm Family of the Year for the 2019 Quincy Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day.
“It (the business) evolved out of a yard sale,” said Amado. “My wife was having a yard sale. People suggested that we sell it (garden produce). We had more than we needed.”
It took the Becerras three years to get their garden fully established. Then in 1999 they moved from the Quincy city limits to their current location at Roads K and 9 Northwest, where they farm 20 acres of U-Pick vegetables.
“We have lots of peppers,” said daughter Laura Becerra. “That’s what we’re known for. We also have cucumbers, zucchini, cantaloupe, tomatoes, potatoes and green beans.”
The family also sells asparagus from April to June at the Wenatchee Farmers Market on Saturdays. Once the asparagus is done for the year, they take a break from the market until the rest of the vegetables are ready. Peppers are what the Becerras are known for at the Wenatchee Farmers Market.
“We have customers that are, ‘oh, the pepper people are here,’” said Laura. “We have such a variety that they enjoy that. When we got started, that is what we grew the most. It’s a strength of ours. We’ve kept it going.”
“We have all kinds of bell peppers in different colors,” said Amado. “There are different hot peppers if different flavors and heat. We have purple, orange, red.”
During the summer, Becerra Gardens is open for U-Pick from sunup to sundown.
“We have no specific hours,” Amado said. “We’re always open. We always try to be there. If someone comes from far away, it’s difficult to turn around.”
The family has had customers from Spokane, Bellevue, Centralia and even Portland.
“They sometimes come to visit family,” said Amado of their Portland customers. “They take some peppers home. They take advantage of the trip.”
“Over the weekend, we get a lot of people from Seattle,” Laura said.
Becerra Gardens charges $15 per five-gallon bucket. If someone has a partial bucket, they are charged by the pound.
“It’s $15 for a five-gallon bucket of any product,” said Amado. “Mix and match. Anything goes.”
Over the years, the Becerras have tried different vegetables.
“We’ve added a few things over the years,” Laura said. “Okra is one. No one really is growing that around here. We’ve grown some peppers that customers didn’t want. We do some experimenting.”
One of the things that customers may notice as they pick vegetables from the 20-acre garden is the lack of weeds.
“We have to be like Santa Claus,” said Amado. “We hoe, hoe, hoe.”
Laura, a nurse in Moses Lake, helps her parents in the garden when she can.
“I’ve done it my whole life,” she said. “It is important to me.”
Laura said she likes to interact and help people. That is the reason she became a nurse.
“With the farm, I’m working with people giving them food,” said Laura. “At work, it is the same thing, but in a different way.”
The Becerras have also used their land to help out the local Lions club. They raise pumpkins for the club’s annual harvest maze.
“The Quincy Valley Lions Club approached us to see if we would do that for them,” Laura said. “They do the event itself. We grow the pumpkins and take care of them. It’s a team effort. They help us plant them in the green house.”
And what is the one vegetable that the Becerras have to plant every year?
“Jalapeños,” they all said. “It’s a staple food in a lot of dishes,” added Laura.
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.