Third-generation California Cling Peach grower, Lou Boer, will tell you he developed a passion for farming at an early age. His father, also Lou Boer, started farming in 1960 and Lou started learning about taking care of the land as early on in his life as he can remember. By the young age of 18, Lou was awarded the State Crop Proficiency Award for American Farmer. Lou worked on his father’s farm through high school and two years at Modesto Jr. College and earned enough money to put himself through his final two years of college at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where he graduated with a Soil Science degree. Lou moved back to the Central Valley in 1984 and started farming. In addition to his Cling Peach orchard, Lou also grows alfalfa, almonds and corn on his 60 acre (24 hectare) farm in Ceres and Empire, CA.
Lou is most proud of the high-quality product he produces. “My role as a California farmer is to grow safe and nutritious produce that people enjoy,” explains Lou. He is concerned by the increase in overseas imports that provide consumers lower value in place of a North-American grown and high-quality product. Lou even has a close friend that owns a bakery in Holland that only uses California peaches in his delicious desserts!
Lou’s main message to school foodservice directors is to introduce a wide variety of healthy foods to students so they will learn to enjoy nutritious foods. “Peaches are full of good nutrients including fibre, potassium, lycopene and carotene,” Lou explains. “I grew up eating cling peaches as a snack or with a meal, and it’s something that I still enjoy to this day. They are great for taking on my hiking adventures because they keep me energized and also help with muscle cramping. This past year I brought them on my trip to climb Half Dome and it definitely helped me,” says Lou.
Lou currently lives in Modesto, CA with his wife Valerie Boer. In addition to belonging to the California Cling Peach Board, Lou is also a Pest Control advisor for the Western Farm Service and a member of the American Commodity Distribution Association. In his free time he enjoys hiking, martial arts and water sports.