October WG Insider: Josh Ruiz with Church Brothers
Posted on October 16, 2017 13:53 PM by WGCIT
During October’s WG Insider, Josh Ruiz, vice president of Ag Operations at Church Brothers Farms, spoke to nearly a dozen agtech startups about the cutting-edge farming innovations Church Brothers is implementing. An integral part of the agriculture operations team, Josh is constantly evaluating the next generation of harvesting, growing, and methods to improve Church Brothers’ current operations. He spoke about the importance of trialing new technology, as he does not know the value of it until he puts it to the test in the field. He also shared with the startups how Church Brothers’ enthusiasm to trial, innovate, and invest in new technologies has given the company a competitive advantage in farming operations. During the discussion, Josh voiced his frustration with all of the technologies that gather data but do not give back the trend analysis in real time.
Josh shared how his experience in owning a winery and planting a lemon orchard has played a significant role in his success at Church Brothers. Josh owns a winery with his wife, called Twisted Roots, which grows grapes in Lodi, Paso Robles, and Monterey County and also has a tasting room in Carmel Valley. Additionally, he recently planted a lemon orchard on one of his open ranches. With his wide variety of experience in crop production, Josh was able to immediately identify the pain point of labor and spearheaded the effort to mechanize as many production and harvest steps as possible at Church Brothers. He discussed how the new broccoli floret harvesting method—for which he is responsible for—is helping the operation run more effectively and efficiently.
And, in keeping with the Western Growers Center for Innovation’s aim to be the “freshest work space,” Josh brought the startups a case of fresh, machine harvested Church Brothers broccoli florets and two bottles of Twisted Roots wines from Lodi. To conclude the event, Josh answered questions from the startups about his wide variety of field and vineyard experience.