Hector, Enrique and the Rodriguez Family
Back in the early 80’s, Hector and Enrique Rodriguez chopped weeds with machetes alongside Jacobs Farm founders Larry and Sandy. The work was hard. There was no running water or electricity and the fields were choked with hemlock and thistle. With hillsides too steep for tractors, the farm’s pair of draft horses, Jimmy and Johnny, pulled the plows and cultivated the rows of rosemary.
Never did the Rodriguez brothers imagine that what began as part-time, seasonal work would blossom into a full-time opportunity, and one that would span decades. Nor could they imagine that this rustic farmland, with its then-unusual practice of growing crops without relying on chemical inputs and pesticides, would evolve into a successful farm — and a business that would present a future full of personal growth and opportunities for their families, as well.
The horses have long since been retired, but the rosemary still grows bountifully on the same steep hillsides. Hector and Enrique each have vital roles at Jacobs Farm, with ever-increasing responsibilities: directing more employees; making key production decisions, and rising to meet the daily challenges of a growing company. In addition, their spouses — and now their children – also hold key positions in areas ranging from plant propagation and harvesting to warehouse management, logistics and distribution.
Hector and Enrique have come a long way from the early days, when they were working and living separated from their spouses and young children still living in Mexico. “Home” for the brothers and their families is on the original farm site, in energy-efficient housing built just for them, and those who live here refer to the site as “Eden.” As Enrique said, “We are grateful to live in a beautiful place without contamination, unlike the farms where our friends work, where chemicals are sprayed damaging the health of the workers. And, living here has given our children the chance to better themselves. Our families have health insurance. Our children go to school, learn English and face a brighter future. They have opportunities for careers at the farm. And, we are able to help our family members still in Mexico with financial aid, and that has helped their communities.”