A Love that Starts at Home
Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by fresh produce, health, and wellness. My mom made sure we had two vegetables and a salad on the dinner table every night. My father, who called himself a “dirt farmer,” worked so hard to provide for his six children. I admired the long hours he worked, but he always did it with a smile, enthusiasm, and passion. He inspired me to pursue a career in agriculture. At the time, there were not many women studying agriculture or working in the industry. I saw that as an opportunity to stand out and to make a name for myself. I was fortunate to grow up in vertically-oriented family farming business. I experienced everything from growing, shipping, cooling, processing, research and development, seed breeding, and innovation.
After I graduated from U.C. Davis with an agbusiness degree, I wasn’t ready to return to the family business. I wanted to gain greater industry knowledge and work experience outside of the Salinas Valley. I came back home and spent 22 years at D’Arrigo Bros. Co., of California. I found my passion in sales, marketing, new product development, and philanthropy. I will always value the Ag Leadership program and United Fresh Leadership program which helped me to increase my self-confidence and to create lasting relationships.
Then a new chapter opened when I joined the Taylor Farms team as Vice President of Community Development. I share Bruce Taylor’s passion for the welfare of his employees, team members, and a passion for giving back to the community. The promise of AgTech. The explosion of AgTech has brought the industry together in a positive way. Companies are working together more now than ever before, as we all challenge ourselves to increase efficiency, mechanize, and automate our operations. At the same time, people will always be the most important factor in our businesses. We aim to satisfy the growing number of healthy minded consumers by giving them what they want and what their bodies need: fresh fruits and vegetables.
It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been working in the produce industry for over 33 years. I’ve seen so many changes, both evolutionary and revolutionary. What’s it like to be a woman in the agricultural business? Challenging, but rewarding. No two days are the same and change is inevitable. That’s what I find the most exciting. My personal goal is to be a mentor for young women in considering or entering a job in the produce industry. I have a lot of experience and wisdom I want to share with others. Produce is a business built on relationships. I hope more women will choose a career in agriculture. No matter where my path takes me, my roots will always be in agriculture.
Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin is Vice-President of Community Development for Taylor Farms. She has over 35 years of experience in the produce business, including Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing for D’Arrigo Bros. Co., of California. She was recently selected as the Ag Woman of the Year for Monterey County. She has an Agricultural and Managerial B.S. degree from U.C. Davis and earned her Executive MBA from CSUMB. Her greatest passion is her twin boys, Alex and Sterling (13), who attend San Benancio Middle School. Margaret enjoys her limited amount of free time sipping wine with girlfriends, walking, hiking, travelling, and cooking.