Small Crops Bringing in Big Bucks

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POSTED: Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 5:18pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 8:33am

Yahweh's in Harlingen practices all natural farming on three small acres of land.

"It's the best decision we've ever made," said Yahweh's owner, Diana Padilla.

Saul Padilla and his wife, Diana used to grow for just themselves, but three years ago decided to try their luck at small farming.
Saul comes from a long line of farmers and says it's something he's always wanted to do.

"We want to plant vegetables, but not only vegetables...healthy vegetables without chemicals and all natural," said Saul Padilla.

They say there's a huge demand for organic farming in the Valley.

"We don't use the machines to grow the vegetables. Almost everything is by hand. We just prepare the land with the tractor and the rest is by hand," said Padilla.

It can bring in big bucks. The Texas Agri-Life Extension Service in Weslaco says families can earn up to $45,000 a year.

There's a lot of people with half an acre, 4 or 5 acres of land and they can make money off it. It can be a business, a family business," said Dr. Luis Ribera.

A small farmer isn't going to have the waste of leftover produce like a large market farmer would, because this squash and these peppers are spoken for.

People actually prepay for their vegetables and we plan to grow them.

The planning can be tedious and take a lot of work.

"So, we'll plan how many days is it gonna take to plant it and what we're gonna give them and what season at what time," said Padilla.

Last year the Padillas had nearly 60 people they sold their produce to.  This year they plan to expand to 7 acres and sell to 100 people.

"If you know how many members you're going to have and how much you're going to grow, you're not going to lose so much money," said Padilla.

While big farmers plant acres and acres of one vegetable. the Padillas plant many rows of different types of vegetables.

"I believe if we had more small growers, custom growers like we're growing, that the Valley would benefit," said Padilla.

The padillas say the days are long, but the job is something they enjoy doing, so it doesn't seem like work at all.

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