It was announced this week that John Pisturino has been selected by the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau as the “Farmer of the Year - 2012”.
This award is presented annually to the farmer(s) who have contributed beyond their normal farming duties to help the community. The presentation was made during its 95th Annual Meeting held Thursday at in Watsonville. The board of directors felt it was appropriate to honor John who made significant contributions within Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley.
Featured speaker for the evening was Craig von Foerster, Executive Chef, Post Ranch Inn, who spoke about “Love Of Cuisine Acquired Locally” (LOCAL). Master and Mistress of Ceremony was Cynthia Mathiesen, Co-Chair of the Public Relations and Information Committee and Chris Enright, President of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau.
Here is John's story, told by Frank Estrada, who nominated him for the award:
John Pisturino was born in San Jose, Ca. 1952. He was raised on one of the prune orchard owned by the DiNapoli family. His father worked for the DiNapoli family and farmed prunes, pears, cherries, walnuts, and apricots in the Santa Clara Valley.
The family had a 4 tunnel dehydrator plant where they dried 2,500 tons of their own fruit and also dried some for other farmers.
John’s dad went to Escalon and Kelseyville to farm, John took over the 75 acre home place and did all the tractor work and ran the dehydrator crew, tunnels and unloaded the trucks. He went to Kelseyville to work the pear orchards and to Escalon to work the Peach orchards.
After John’s father unexpectedly passed away at the age of 59, Frank DiNapoli asked John to be the management of the pear orchard in Kelseyville and the cattle ranch in Watsonville.
John and his family moved to Watsonville in 1982.
The Pear orchard was pulled out now hay is raised there for the cattle ranch in Watsonville.
John attended DeAnza & Foothill College studying Ornamental Horticulture. John has hosted the Board of Directors retreat at the ranch several times.
He has served as:
- President of the Santa Cruz County Cattlemen’s Association
- Director of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau
- Director of Agri-Culture
- President of Foothill Firefighters Association
- Farm Bureau Legislative Committee
- Farm Bureau Nominating Committee
John has been a bull grader at the Stockton and Galt Bull sales, as well as the 101 Auction Sales Yards.
Previous Farmer of the Year winners are:
1979 J.J. CROSETTI, JR.
1980 ROBERT “BOB” HARRIS
1981 EDWARD SILVA
1982 FRANK SIRI
1983 BRUCE RIDER
1984 ERNEST J. BONTADELLI
1985 CLINT MILLER
1986 HARRY H. FUKUTOME
1987 NITA GIZDICH
1988 FRANK “Lud” MCCRARY
1989 MILES RIETER
1990 GEORGE H. COWLES
1991 KEE KITAYAMA
1992 AGRICULTURAL EMPLOYEES: REPRESENTED BY - GUADALUPE OLIVAREZ, LUCILLE COXON, DAVID LOPEZ AND JOSE CAMPOS
1993 PATRICIA “PAT” WILEY
1994 FRANK ESTRADA
1995 LARRY B. GALPER
1996 HENRY HARNEY
1997 ARNE THIRUP
1998 MARVIN GLAUM
1999 MIKE JANI
2000 PAST FARM BUREAU PRESIDENTS 1917-1999
2001 ELIO RODONI
2002 HULDA MCLEAN
2003 KIRK SCHMIDT
2004 TOM AM RHEIN
2005 GROWERS WHO DONATE TO AG AGAINST HUNGER
2006 JIM RIDER
2007 HENRY WASHBURN, Posthumously
2008 RICHARD “DICK” PEIXOTO
2009 DIANE PORTER COOLEY
2010 BARGETTO FAMILY
2011 STANLEY E. IVERSEN