Photo by Ted Escobar
Faustino Aguilar works with red radishes.
As of Monday, August 6, 2018
Wapato is famous as a vegetable growing region, but the Murray Road-Wendell Phillips Road area between Sunnyside and Mabton can hold its own. Small farmers like the Bautista-Aguilar clan farms diversified, labor-intensive crops that can generate tens of thousands dollars to the acre. They start harvesting in May and close down in October.
The Bautista-Aguilar operation is all-organic and all family, according to Analilia Aguilar, whom all the rest — even her husband — refer to as the owner.
Analilia is the face of the business. She helps on the farm and she also handles marketing and logistics. Wherever the family is selling produce, from Prosser to Seattle, she’ll be there smiling and interacting with the public. Just about everybody who frequents the Sunnyside Farmers Market knows her.
The Bautistas and Aguilars harvest just about every day for that day’s estimated demand. They start picking before sun-up. At mid-morning they head for the shade of some trees where they prepare the produce for presentation and sale.
Low quality vegetables are sorted out and good quality vegetable are washed, trimmed if needed, bunched if needed, then placed in transport containers.
Then Analilia and whoever is helping her that day head out for a farmers market. That’s where Analilia’s smile and charm come into play. Happy to see her again, the customers step up.
In addition to the produce in the photos, the clan raises sweet onions, red onions, white radishes, cucumbers, kale, cilantro and more.