You could say that Don’s father put farming in the San Joaquin Valley in motion. He was the first to drill deep enough to find water.
Don started working at a very young age. For the first 11 years of his life, he lived with his grandparents in a more developed area while his parents worked in an undeveloped San Joaquin Valley area that had no electricity and no schools. He remembers helping his grandparents with the watermelon crops. As a youngster, he would drive the pickup truck down the road chock full of watermelons.
While technically Don and Michael are the only family members still involved with the family farm, that’s not entirely accurate. Enrique Martinez and his brother Catarino are an “integral” part of the farm, Don said. “They are exactly like family to us.”
Don and Michael are still pioneers—refining the farm’s growing techniques and business markets. Today the farm grows both organic and traditional crops, including more than 20 different fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts such as carrots, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes to name a few. The company grows for Grimmway, Bolthouse. and Kern Ridge.
Don Valpredo and his son Michael of Don Valpredo Farms come from a family line of pioneers. Back in 1944, the only affordable land was in the San Joaquin Valley—and there was no water. Part of a tight-knit community of Italian immigrants, Don’s grandparents came to the area in the days before electricity or other modern conveniences.