We proudly display giant sculptures by local artist John Cerney, who was assisted on occasion by Dong Sun Kim.
While these sculptures are modeled on past employees of our farm, they are also a tribute to all of the hard-working people employed in the farming community of the Salinas Valley. Without them, our country would not be blessed with such an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
If you visit The Farm, you’ll notice an ensemble sculpture of four figures next to the produce stand. The sculpture depicts men harvesting iceberg lettuce. The man standing is a foreman with a weight scale. He insures quality and directs work flow. He occasionally weighs a box to keep box weights at a desired level.
The two men with knives are trimmers. Their job is to select and cut suitable heads of lettuce. The man bending over the Bunny box is a packer. He picks up lettuce cut by the trimmers and packs them into the box, three at a time and twenty-four per box. Two trimmers and one packer typically work as a team (known as a trio) in packing lettuce.
The Farmer’s Job
Moving away from the stand, we next encounter two more figures. The kneeling man, holding a handful of dirt, is the farmer. It is his job to oversee the entire farming operation, from planting to water, fertilizer and pest control. He must coordinate everyone’s work and thus communicate with all employees, outside service providers, government inspectors and regulators, buyers and sellers. More than anyone, he has to know how to do everything to insure that all aspects of his complex and fast-paced farming business are in order.
Further out on the ranch are two thinners. These two ladies were part of a larger thinning crew that managed a vital step in the growing process. Lettuce seeds, for example, are planted in lines on top of earth beds, or rows. After germinating and the emergence of the leaf above-ground, it is then the job of the thinner to walk down the furrows between the rows and hoe out the excess plants from the line of lettuce. This has to be done precisely to allow the remaining plants to have enough space on either side to grow into their full size. Thinning crews are also in charge of removing weeds from a field.
The Irrigation Foreman
The closest statue to our farmstand is the irrigation foreman. One of the hardest jobs in a farming operation, the irrigation foreman has to work closely with the farmer and oversee the watering schedule for the crops. This means juggling dozens of different plantings that are all in different stages of growth. In addition to overseeing a crew of irrigators, planning their jobs and hours, the irrigation foreman also has to coordinate the inclusion of fertilizers in water, as well as deciding when a field should be switched between drip tape or overhead sprinklers or furrow irrigation. All of this must be done, of course, while keeping a close eye on the ever-changing weather!