Steve and his wife Shelly have two sons, Keith and Ben, who are both pursuing careers in produce. Keith recently graduated from his father’s alma mater, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Ben is currently a student there.
“My father was a farmer of citrus and avocados in Ventura County,” say Steve Barnard, president of Mission Produce.
“I knew I wanted to get into ag, but wasn’t sure how. I went to Cal Poly San Luis and majored in Agricultural Business. During my college summers, I tried different jobs and products, from ranching to working in a packing house to harvesting cannery tomatoes. Once out of college, I was looking for permanent work. My dad’s business was, of course, something to ponder until he said, ‘This place isn’t big enough for the both of us – figure out your own thing.’”