Even though I knew his great-grandfather, grandfather and father I had never met Jack Escobar. I had moved away from the area by the time Jack came along. I recently had the pleasure of meeting this engaging, handsome young farmer. He comes from a farming family rooted in the small town of Crows Landing in the Central Valley in California. The sign at the entrance to town hasn’t changed in over 50 years, still says population 500. Crows Landing is the kind of place where you go through all grades of school with the same people you first met in kindergarten. Most young people move away and only come back to visit if they come back at all. Jack says that most of his friends his age moved on and he has only one friend that he could think of that came back home to farm.
Jack farms with his father John Escobar. They grow beans along with walnuts, almonds, alfalfa and silage corn. Jack is not your stereotypical farmer. He has a degree in philosophy from Arizona State University, to go along with his many tattoos and sometimes blonde Mohawk haircut. When I had a chance to talk to him I discovered he is a delightful young man with a positive attitude, a love for life and a passion for farming.
Q: What type of beans do you grow?
A: Large Limas, around 400-500 acres this year.
Q: What is the best part about bean farming?
A: Watching and helping the business grow. Growing myself as a person and learning new things.
Q: Why philosophy as a major at ASU?
A: Philosophy helps with critical thinking and problem solving, both useful in farming.
Q: Did you always want to go into farming?
A: I always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I’ve wanted to do that forever.
A: Listening to music, archery, being outside and in touch with the world. I’m also playing on an adult league baseball team this year. I played baseball, football and wrestled at Orestimba High School in Newman.
Q: What type of music appeals to you?
A: I like all genres of music. To me it’s all about the song and how it speaks to me.
Q: Were you in FFA?
A: In a kind of round about way. I never got a jacket, but I went to the meetings. The Ag Science class in high school encouraged participation in the FFA meetings and I had a lot of friends in FFA.
Q: What is your favorite way to eat beans?
A: I don’t have a favorite way, I just like to add them to food like burritos.
Q: What do you like about living in the small town of Crows Landing?
A: Out in the country there is no noise from cars. I like the solitude and the quiet.
Q: What direction should the bean industry grow?
A: I think what the California Dry Bean Advisory Board is doing with social media is a great start! Consumers need to see what farmers are doing and be connected, which is all possible through social media. Hey, maybe even have them out to the farm to see how their food is grown.
Q: Any good farming or bean tips?
A: Just stay positive about things!