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2018

pRIDE PrOGRESS A SPECIAL SECTION OF THE GILROY DISPATCH

gilroydispatch.com

2030: What will Gilroy look like?

File Photo

CITY CENTER As Gilroy grows towards the hills, it struggles to keep its downtown core healthy.

GILROY FACES A CHALLENGE TO KEEP IDENTITY IN FACE OF BIG CHANGES Michael Moore Reporter

notes the city’s preference for future growth is to first compactly fill in vacant or underused land within the city limits, then build concentrically outward from Gilroy’s historic core. But even those outer rings are looking more crowded every day as hundreds of homes have been built in recent years, with construction currently underway on scores more. Elected officials as well as community organizations like the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation tout the need to bring more jobs to town so that people can live and work here. As of 2017, about 15,000 Gilroyans commuted outside the city for work each day, compared to just 12,000 who commute into Gilroy for daily employment, ➝ Progress 2030, 2

Sumbitted

Even without looking into a crystal ball that probably doesn’t work anyway, it’s easy to predict that Gilroy’s population will be notably larger in 2030. The real question is, how will city officials and community organizations accommodate this growth while maintaining the same level of public services that longtime Gilroyans are used to? Trends indicated by the U.S. Census Bureau show that Gilroy has participated in the same population boom that has graced the South Bay Area as a

whole. In 2017, the city’s population was 57,664— an 18-percent increase in the number of residents here since 2010, according to the U.S. Census website. With that growth continuing before our eyes, city leaders and the hoi polloi will no doubt continue to maintain they want the Garlic Capital to stay true to its agricultural, rural roots. In 2016, voters adopted an Urban Growth Boundary in Gilroy for the first time, creating a boundary around the city beyond which no urban development can occur. This boundary “will ensure that the city’s boundaries will be defined by natural open space and working agricultural lands that separate it from adjacent communities,” reads Gilroy’s 2020 General Plan. The General Plan also

ROLAND VELASCO Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco cautions that the city must retain its ‘small-town feel.’

By 2030, Gilroy will continue to have a ‘small-town’ feel. Residents will be able to enjoy the sense of community and belonging that our town provides. —ROLAND VELASCO


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PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

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GILROY BY THE NUMBERS THE ECONOMY (Taxable sales) Retail & Restaurants $1.24 billion $1.07 billion $514 million

2016 2006 1997

Total taxable sales 2016 $1.4 billion 2006 $1.2 billion 1997 $652 million

+15% +91%

Own Home

58%

Persons in poverty 13%

Median mortgage

$2,692

Total businesses 3,545

Median rent

$1,521

#Households

15,386

Minority owned businesses 1,563 44%

Median HH income $84,351 per capita

$30,763

POPULATION (US Census) July 2017 (est) April 2010 est 2020 est 2030

57,664 48,821 60,000 70,000

Hispanic 60% Cauc. 74% Asian 6% Black 1.7% Foreign-born 25% Non-English at home 46% HS diploma 78% College degree 26%

Sources: State of California and U.S. Census

Growth could bring improvements Progress 2030, 1 according to Tammy Brownlow of the Gilroy EDC. The push for more local jobs includes a strong preference for large-scale industrial and commercial employers. At the same time as Gilroy inevitably grows, city officials want to maintain the cultural roots that have defined the town’s charm since it was founded 150 years ago. “By 2030, the City of Gilroy will continue to have a ‘small-town’ feel. Residents will be able to enjoy the sense of

community and belonging Still, Velasco wants that our town provides,” Gilroy-based companies to Mayor Roland Velasco “profit from their integrasaid. “Keeping tion into” the highour residents safe tech, ultra-modwill remain a top ern Silicon Valley priority for our market over the city. Our downnext dozen years or town will be brismore. tling during the Recreation and day and filled with appreciation of excitement in the the outdoors won’t evening as peo- Mike Wasserman take a backseat to ple gather to enjoy this vision of popshopping and dining. ulation growth and more Meanwhile, a strong local jobs, as such opportunities economy benefits our res- should expand along with idents in terms of jobs the economy, Velasco said. and services the city can “Overall, Gilroy will be provide.” environmentally sound

and financially healthy with a population that is proud to call Gilroy home,” Velasco said. Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who represents the South County district on the elected five-member board, listed a number of large-scale projects he expects to be completed by 2030, meeting the variety of needs an increasing population will require. “We will have a countyowned hospital operating in South County” in 2030, Wasserman said.

“Community Minded - Customer Focused”

County officials recently submitted a bid for Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, which is for sale after the current owner recently applied for bankruptcy protection. Wasserman has a lot more on his wish list for 2030: a new county jail and public justice center; county facilities powered by 100-percent renewable energy; a reduction in the county’s homeless population by 90 percent; CalTrain running to and from South County at least four times daily; and “several new schools”

built and opened throughout the county. Furthermore, the county will have its new animal shelter constructed and operational well before 2030, Wasserman added. That project is expected to break ground in San Martin in early 2019, with construction finished in 2020. The new facility will be vastly larger than the current digs, with a 36,000-square-foot shelter, a 2,500-square-foot barn; an upgraded adoption center; and an overall modernized structure.

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Christopher Ranch banks on USA GILROY FIRM’S PR EFFORT POSITIONS ITSELF AS U.S. AGRICULTURE LEADER Bryce Stoepfel Reporter

Bryce Stoepfel

Christopher Ranch leaders are putting their garlic where their mouth is. One year after Christopher Ranch's reputation was assaulted Netflix documentary series “Rotten,” the preeminent American garlic company in America's garlic capital is fully committing itself to offer only American-grown garlic. The documentary wounded Christopher Ranch’s public image outside of Gilroy, asserting that Christopher Ranch imported Chinese garlic peeled by prison labor. In what Christopher Ranch considered a journalistic hit job, the company was portrayed as an agricultural giant that used cheap products to bury small American garlic producers. Christopher Ranch denied the claims and because of the documentary, Christopher Ranch committed itself to openness and renewed its commitment to Americangrown garlic. The company has relaxed protections on what they considered trade secrets with tours of the facilities, and answering emails and phone calls from customers, suppliers and journalists. Christopher Ranch is going a step farther. Breaking away from many of its agricultural

contemporaries, the garlic producer is supporting a 10 percent tariff on imported Chinese garlic. “Christopher Ranch applauds the decision of the U.S. trade representative to raise the tariff to 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2019,” said Ken Christopher, executive vice president of Christopher Ranch in a bold announcement Sept. 18. “For decades, Chinese exporters have flooded the US market with cheap and often illegally dumped garlic, and this tariff will help to level the playing field for American garlic farmers.” Christopher Ranch has been a Gilroy staple since Don Christopher founded it in 1956. From 10 acres, Christopher Ranch grew into Gilroy's largest private employer. Through three generations the company gradually expanded by offering new garlic products for the market, like peeled garlic, roasted garlic, pickled garlic, organic garlic, as well as shallots, ginger, pesto sauce, and other offerings. Now that the water shortage is over they can grow even more. With more rain, there’s more availability of groundwater. This year Christopher Ranch has had one of it’s best garlic harvests, over 100 million pounds. “When the reservoirs are full, the government backs down,” Ken Christopher said. “The unfortunate side effect of the drought is that we could not grow all the garlic we needed. We imported garlic from Mexico, Spain,

HOME-GROWN GARLIC Ken Christopher, executive VP of Christopher Garlic, checks out harvest. and Argentina to keep up with demand. We have absolutely not, never, used Chinese garlic, past, present or future.” Cold-storage technology helps Christopher keep garlic fresh all year, but they do sell their best garlic during holidays. Even though they have enough garlic to last all year, there are some markets they have yet to penetrate. “The one market we don’t have much in is the

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South,” Christopher said. “They use Chinese garlic that can beat us in price every time. If some more people in the South tired our garlic, they would go to produce managers to request Christopher garlic.” “I learned to say yes to everything,” Christopher said. “There’s a great story in every tour we give. We have some of the highestpaid jobs in the industry. We have daycare for our

employees. We donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charities. We have days where our staff volunteers like at St. Joseph’s.” “The community was there when we were being attacked by online trolls,” Ken Christopher said. “They know us like a family. We give back to the community, and we’re doing more now than ever on philanthropy. We want to be a role model, and give back.”

To help combat the online flak, Christopher Ranch made a significant investment in software to detect when Christopher Ranch is mentioned online. The software operates like an online hound dog that sniffs out when Christopher Ranch is mentioned in social media. “We made a five-figure investment, we had to improve,” Ken Christopher said.


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GUEST VIEW

Historic core is critical GILROY GROWTH NEEDS TO BUILD ON CITY’S OLD FOUNDATIONS

Robert Eliason

Sunnyvale's Murphy Street. It is the only remaining part of a once vibrant downtown that was destroyed to make way for a new shopping center that eventually failed and Gary Walton was also torn down. This is the power of a historic downGilroy is one of the oldest town. They stand the test of cities in Santa Clara County. time because they have the Only San Jose and Santa same attributes of European Clara are older. Against all cities that Americans love to odds, it has retained its his- visit: sense of place, pedestoric core while others have trian scale, historic architecdestroyed theirs attempting ture and walkability. to emulate modern shopI once heard a downping malls by clostown consultant say ing streets to traffic, the average life of covering historic faa shopping mall is cades with modern only 18 years. And materials, or demolthen he asked the ishing their historic crowd, “how old is buildings and reyour downtown?” placing them with In that moment, I parking lots. understood that The City of Santa Gary Walton investments in a Clara made the downtown core extreme sacrifice to the altar would, in the long run, make of modern shopping cen- better investments than the ters by demolishing its his- strip commercial centers that toric downtown in the 1960s. are built to last as long as Santa Clara leaders recog- their 25 year mortgage. nized their mistake shortly In time, both our outafterward and recently have let center and our big box begun efforts to re-establish stores will fail, becoming a a downtown. But they will blight on the landscape. Just never completely regain their look at the empty shell of loss. New materials, design the Orchard Supply store on and the tendency to build 10th Street. When that day large buildings all at once just comes, I imagine that downdon't create the ambience of town Gilroy will still be here. a downtown full of historic Yes, downtown Gilroy has buildings built by many indi- its problems from neglect, viduals, in different eras and our own missteps and the built from locally sourced failure to implement the construction materials. 2005 revitalization plan or Organic downtowns enforce our building codes. trump faux downtowns every But the bones of downtime. One only has to look at town Gilroy are good. Our

CITY CORE Trees are growing in Gilroy’s historic center, where new brew pubs are opening, but storefronts are still vacant. downtown is intact, has a wide variety of services, eateries and retail stores. Downtown is also blessed with a large residential area that enables customers to walk to their destination, something that is virtually impossible in every other part of Gilroy. Most demographic and market indicators suggest the time has never been better for the traditional

downtown. The Internet revolution is affecting "transactional” shopping centers more than traditional downtowns. Why? Because downtowns still deliver experiences that shopping malls rarely ever do and the internet never does. And as humans, that's what we crave. Millennials—undoubtedly the most technological generation ever—have

abandoned malls for the Internet but have embraced urban centers with their restaurants, craft breweries, entertainment venues and places to gather with friends. New investment is increasingly seeking locations based on quality of place rather than utility of location. The future belongs to downtowns and mixed-use development. Strip development is so last century.

Let's embrace this change and create that great downtown that we keep talking about; our community will be better for it. At the end of the day, downtowns are the heart of any community. If you don't have a healthy downtown, you don't have a healthy town. Gary Walton is president of the Gilroy Downtown Association.

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GUEST VIEW

Technology is a success formula BUSINESSES THAT SUCCEED IN GILROY ARE ONES THAT CAN HARNESS HIGH-TECH By Mark Turner

and grow into every business sector. With that said, there are still a few basic business components that every generation of consumer will still require in the future.

Customer Service Will Still Count

Barry Holtzclaw

With more than half There is a generation of of Americans having individuals and business scrapped a planned purpeople around today who chase or transaction beknew life before comput- cause of bad service, ers, cell phones, and other customer service will contechnological tools, tinue to be king. but wouldn’t know The advancement where they would of technology can be today without bring about the them. Technology opportunity to imis advancing at prove customer breakneck speeds service and those changing the way who take advanwe do business on tage of those opa daily basis. Cloud Mark Turner portunities will computing, mobile benefit greatsolutions, video chat, driv- ly. Those who don’t will erless vehicles and drone suffer the consequenctechnology… beam me up es. A recent American Scotty. Express Customer Service How will all this “prog- Barometer indicated the ress” affect business in the following: future? It’s hard to preSeven out of 10 U.S. dict, however, the rapid consumers say they’ve advancement of tech- spent more money to do nology shows no sign of business with a company slowing any time soon. that delivers great service. Business will need to U.S. consumers are leverage technology willing to spend 17 percent in their favor to remain more to do business with competitive in the mar- companies that deliver ket. Businesses that fail to excellent service, up from do so will be left behind. 14 percent in 2014. Every business is different As a group, Millennials and business owners will are willing to spend the need to determine what most (21 percent additional) works best for them. for great customer care. Technology will conDerek Silvers, founder tinue to change, advance of CD Baby, may have said,

COMMUNITY ON FIRE Flames fly at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which offers non-profits

like the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce great fundraising opportunities. “Customer service is the new marketing.”

Quality Experience

With greater demands on people's’ time, more and more people will suffer “time poverty.” Uber is a good example of how service sectors are cashing in on this phenomenon. An Uber driver will not only pick you up from the airport this afternoon but will deliver your dinner this evening. The ease of shopping

online in the comfort of one’s home makes this a greater challenge for local merchants. Consumers will continue to want to spend their time wisely, as a result, the retail industry will have to do more to draw consumers into their locations. Consumers will invest in “experiential” outings. Think of artists hosting painting parties or Ikea hosting a sleepover in their store. In a survey prior to the 2017 holiday season, millennials

indicated 52% of their holiday spending would go on experience related purchases. This trend is expected to continue.

The Human Element

While just over half of U.S. consumers saying their goto channel for simple inquiries is a digital self-serve tool, such as a website, mobile app, voice response or online chat, they still want to have the human touch. Newvoicemedia.

com indicated the #1 reason people dislike calling companies is the inability to speak to a real person right away. Companies that implement live chat support often see higher customer satisfaction ratings, likely because of the speed and conversation nature (Live Chat Benchmark 2017). Technology will continue to improve and make inroads in our lives, but the human element should not be ignored.

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Modern Medicine, Compassionate Care

Mary McCullough PRESIDENT

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Jeri Hernandez TREASURER

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Ariel Hurtado, M.D. ASSISTANT SECRETARY

Mrs. Mary Ann Barragan

Hazel Hawkins Hospital is Proud to Bring Comprehensive Diabetes Services to Our Community The Diabetes Center was a dream of Mary Ann Barragan* to honor her late husband, Ray, who suffered from diabetes for many years. To honor him, she and her family want to help residents in San Benito County who have been diagnosed with the disease. Thanks to her generous donation and the partnership and support of HHMH, the Diabetes Center is now a reality. *No relation to District Board candidate Frank Barragan

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Where does your water come from? imported from the Delta, these subbasins could not meet South County’s water needs. Natural groundwater recharge from rainfall is no longer sufficient as perhaps 50 years ago. Through the water district’s recharge programs, using both local and imported water sources, overdraft of the groundwater subbasins has been avoided. Groundwater levels in the South County have been kept at higher levels than they would have been otherwise, increasing water supply reliability and reducing the amount of energy needed to pump the water out. The water district’s water conservation and recycling programs also reduce demand on the groundwater subbasins. The water district’s groundwater management programs have also helped reduce the impact of groundwater contamination from perchlorate and other contaminants, which is an additional benefit to Gilroy and other South County areas. In addition to programs to increase supplies, the water district also has programs to address the numerous threats to groundwater quality. Leaking underground fuel tanks, industrial spills, urban runoff, septic systems, poorly managed agricultural operations and other sources can pollute groundwater, making it costly to treat or even unusable. The restoration of contaminated

Santa Clara Valley Water District

The City of Gilroy buys its water from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which obtains its water from several sources. The diversity of the city’s water supply, from “imported water,” local reservoirs and local wells, helps protect against problems or shortfalls in any single source. Gilroy depends on groundwater from the Coyote Valley (part of the Santa Clara subbasin) and the Llagas Creek subbasin for its water supply. The Santa Clara Valley Water District actively manages these subbasins to augment the supply nature provides and to protect them from contamination or other threats that would jeopardize this resource. Three main sources replenish groundwater in the Coyote Valley and Llagas Creek subbasins: • Deep percolation of local rainfall • Water captured and stored in local reservoirs, which the water district releases to creeks and recharge ponds for managed recharge • Water imported from Delta, which the water district also releases to creeks and recharge ponds for managed groundwater recharge Residents in San Martin and Morgan Hill and Gilroy use a mix of these three groundwater sources. Without a managed recharge program that includes both local surface water and water

WATER EVERYWHERE Varied sources of water provide some protection against drought. groundwater can take years, decades or longer. Prevention is key to groundwater protection. “Groundwater may be out of sight, but shouldn’t be out of mind,” the water district says in a South County water pamphlet. “Not only is groundwater essential to meeting our water needs, but stored groundwater is also our best insurance against drought or other water supply disruptions. This storage enables us to save water during wet years to use

during droughts or other emergencies. Groundwater management has gotten us through past droughts.” Pumping water from underground aquifers in the Coyote Valley and Llagas Creek Subbasin increased more than 30 percent over the last 20 years. Over the past 10 years, annual groundwater pumping in South County has averaged 54,000 acrefeet. One acre-foot of water serves two families of five for one year, on average. On average, the amount

of groundwater pumped from the subbasins is almost two times the amount that nature replenishes. On average, water captured in South County reservoirs represents 30 percent of the water used to recharge the Llagas Creek Subbasin. Over the last 10 years, the average district recharge to the Llagas Subbasin was 24,000 acre-feet per year. Of that amount, nearly half was imported water. When the water district began recharging imported

water in the Llagas Creek Subbasin at the start of the 1987-1992 drought, groundwater levels began to recover, despite the drought conditions. Without a managed recharge program to “recharge” the underground aquifer, South County would have faced a severely diminished water supply, according to the water district. For more information, visit www.valleywater. org/your-water/


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12 YEARS

40 YEARS

Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home 870 San Benito Street, Hollister 831.637.3757 grunnagle.com 100 YEARS

Heinzen Manufacturing

Rianda Air Inc.

405 Mayock Rd., Gilroy 408.842.7233

703 McCray street, Hollister 831.636.3767; riandaair.isoars.com

40 YEARS

20 YEARS

Silva Custom Construction, Inc. 45 W. 1st Street, Morgan Hill 408.612.4888; silvacc.com 10 YEARS

1919 - 2019

Gavilan College

Rosso’s Furniture

5055 Santa Teresa Blvd., Gilroy 408.848.4800 gavilan.edu/

6881 Monterey Rd., Gilroy 408.842.2800; rosso.com

100 YEARS

212 Tennant Avenue, Morgan Hill 408.776.8100 40 YEARS

Weston Construction

RV Restor and Repair

17500 Depot Street, Suite 200, Morgan Hill 408.779.6686; wcconstruct.com sam@wmarchitects.com

16885 Joleen Way, Morgan Hill 408.779.1769; rvrestoreandrepair.com

20 YEARS

9 YEARS


12B

PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

High-speed rail to shape city future GILROY IS TAPPED AS A HIGH-SPEED RAIL HUB Jaqueline McCool Reporter

File Photo

Stepping onto a train in the heart of downtown that would take you up to your job in San Jose, or down to a friend’s in Bakersfield in a matter of minutes, may still seem like a distant pipe dream. But high-speed rail is set to make that a reality as soon as 2030. “A hub for South County,” is how Boris Lipkin, Northern California regional director for the HighSpeed Rail Authority described the stop that will be located in Gilroy. He believes it will be an opportunity to open up the South County to more economic opportunities located in Silicon Valley. With less than a 30-minute ride into San Jose, Lipkin said the highspeed rail service will be “very different” than any train service available today. In 2008, California voters passed proposition 1A which gave $9.95 billion of general obligation bonds to be used to build the high-speed rail system in California. Several areas have already broken ground, beginning construction on the ‘valley-tovalley’ leg of the project. The first phase of the line will run from Bakersfield to San Francisco, the Central Valley to Silicon Valley,

and will be completed by 2029. In Gilroy, the rail will either run through the Caltrain tracks on Leavesley Road or by the Outlet Mall parallel to US- 101. Lipkin said the key to high-speed rail is leveraging the electrified tracks to create a web of trains that run throughout California. There has been renewed interest in extending a Caltrain line into Hollister, which is the type of extension Lipkin said the rail authority had hoped for. He said the major question on the rail authority’s mind has been, “How do we take best advantage” when it comes to utilizing existing rail lines. Which is how the “mixeduse” plans came to fruition for Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Although there will be no stop in Morgan Hill, the rail authority hopes electrifying the tracks to run the high-speed train in the Union Pacific Corridor will give Caltrain more stops and benefit Morgan Hill commuters. A “mixed-use” plan is one the president of the Gilroy Business Association, Gary Walton, said he can get behind. He said he is not in support of a viaduct plan, which would raise the rail line, but he thinks a mixed corridor may be an economic boost for the city. The rail authority’s 2018 business plan estimated the economic impact of the valley to valley line stating,” A

SPEEDING BULLET Gilroy will be one of just a few stops for Californiaís high-speed rail, as early as 2030. forward-looking analysis shows that a completed Silicon Valley to Central Valley Line will support nearly 240,000 job years of employment and nearly $50 billion in economic activity over the lifetime of the line’s construction.” Walton also thought the chance to create a “quiet zone” would reduce noise pollution in Gilroy, and stop the other trains from blowing their horns as they pass through the Gilroy station. An urbanized

downtown with a suburban rim is the future Walton sees in the high-speed rail is put through the Caltrain station. “I think having the transportation center is an asset,” said Walton. “We’re lucky.” He does not want to see the rail line divide the community and worries a viaduct or a line by the outlets wouldn’t be beneficial to the city. But says ultimately he hopes the city will take advantage of the desire of people to be near a

transportation center and an urban core. It seems the future is coming more quickly than anyone anticipated. Despite years of construction, in under 10 years a quick commute to and from California’s cities could be a reality. “With high-speed rail, a trip from as far south as Bakersfield and other key locations in the Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area will take two hours or less, and it will be the same every time

no matter how congested the roads or how bad the weather,” wrote the rail authority. Lipkin sees high-speed rail as a game changer for cities and economies throughout California. He thinks it will be a sustainable and long-term solution to California traffic and ever-lengthening commute times into the tech-hubs of the state. “High-speed rail is the future of how we’re going to get around in California,” said Lipkin.


SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

13B


14B

PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

Merry Cherry fruit stands have variety TWO SISTERS PRESERVING TOGNETTI FRUIT STAND TRADITIONS Scott Forstner Reporter

Submitted

The Tognetti sisters, Andrea and Nancy, always loved being on the family ranch with their parents and brothers, playing in the fields and on the tractors. Throughout childhood and into their high school years, they even helped out with the family’s Merry Cherry fruit stands. But as they entered adulthood, both had different career paths in mind. For Andrea, it was teaching. She earned her teaching credential from San Jose State University and is in her 25th year at Rod Kelley Elementary School in Gilroy. For Nancy, it was dentistry. She earned her degree from Cabrillo College and has been a dental hygienist for 30 years, currently working at Eric Nagareda, DDS in Gilroy. But the two sisters never strayed too far from home and, although well-established in their chosen professions, the two sisters jumped at an opportunity offered to them by their younger brother Gary to take over one of the Merry Cherry fruit stands. “It was always fun when we were kids,” said the now 52-year-old Nancy (Tognetti) Soto who recalled fond memories of hanging out with her grandmother at the stand. “I just like being out here, talking to the customers. I love fruit and I love baking.” So, in 2011, the two

Tognetti sisters took over the Merry Cherry stand behind the Gilroy outlets while their brother Gary took ownership of another Merry Cherry stand on the outskirts of town heading east on Highway 152. Nancy and Andrea now manage their Merry Cherry fruit run the Market 25 fruit stand on Highway 25 north of Hollister. “For the first couple of years, it was just us two sisters only out here,” said the now 50-year-old Andrea (Tognetti) Castro. “I love being outside and it just felt good to come back to your roots.” The Merry Cherry business began in May of 1972, the year Gary was born, as the sisters tell it. Their mother Carolyn Tognetti and grandma Mary Tognetti opened the first stand outside the grandparents’ house on old Monterey Road. They partnered with a nearby and now Christopher Ranch farmer, Don Christopher. Carolyn would run the stand in the mornings and Mary in the afternoons, switching off as to who would take care of the four children, Nancy, Andrea, Gary and Tony. Carolyn’s husband, Ed Jr., and his father, Ed Sr., were local farmers who later on down the road formed B&T Farms in Gilroy, where today they grow mostly tomatoes, peppers, corn and, yes, cherries on parcels throughout Gilroy and South County. Once the freeway opened up through the region, the Merry Cherry stand moved next to Highway 101 south in Gilroy. Soon after, they moved it again to the corner of Castro Valley Road and Highway 101 and yet again

COLORFUL BOUNTY All kinds of local fruits, preserved and fresh, are on display at Gilroy and Hollister fruit stands. across the highway where Garlic World stands when diverting off Highway 25 to 101. At that time, the Merry Cherry stand was absorbed into Garlic World, which was run in part by the Tognettis. “All we did in the summer was work in the fruit stand and then at Garlic World,” said Andrea, who graduated from Gilroy High School in 1986, three years after her sister Nancy. “Our friends worked with us as well.” Nancy added: “We had lots of fun doing it, although if anybody called in sick we had to come in to work.” However, after several years passed, Carolyn (the girls’ mom), stepped away from the fruit stand at Garlic World and leased it

out. Wanting to rejuvenate the Merry Cherry business, Gary decided to re-open the stand behind the outlets and a second one on 152. Shortly thereafter, he asked his sisters if they wanted to take one over and they immediately obliged. “We all work together,” Andrea explained. “He gets the produce and then we get it from him and bring it here to sell.” Every weekend from April through Labor Day instead of sleeping in and relaxing at their homesteads, the two Tognetti sisters go out and open the stand, luring in customers, new and old, with fresh stone fruit, vegetables, and a secret weapon

of garlic ice cream. They now have a staff that works the stand during the week as well. (They are opened daily from 10am-7pm on weekends and noon-6pm on weekdays.) “The best thing is the return customers,” Andrea said. “Now we have a following. They are always asking, ‘when are you going to open?’” Behind the stand is one of the fields where the family grew garlic back when they were growing up. The sisters smiled as they recalled going out in the field with friends and topping the garlic, which their dad would graciously pay them for. Today, their own children come out and help

at the Merry Cherry fruit stand just like they did when they were children. Andrea has two children: 21-year-old Lauren and 18-year-old Andrew (who helps his grandpa with irrigation pipe in the fields, she shared). Nancy has four children: Matthew, 26; Michelle, 24; Michael, 21; and Mark, 19. And if an employee calls in sick or can’t make it to work, “we do what our mom did” and have one of their children come in to fill in the hours at the stand. “Michael wants to go into farming. He’s studying ag at Chico State and plans to come back (and work on the family farm),” Nancy shared.


SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

15B

PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

South Valley Civic Theatre production of

st

THE MAGIC IS BACK...WITH EVEN MORE BOO!

th

Sept. 21 – Oct.20 Friday

Saturday*

7:30 pm

3:30 pm

Saturday 7:30 pm

Sunday 2:30 pm

Sept 21

Sept 22

Oct 05

Oct 06

Oct 07

Oct 13

Oct 14

Oct 13

Oct 12

Oct 20

Oct 19

*Oct 13th @ 3:30 will be a sensory & young child friendly performance

Adult $25

Senior $20

Youth $16

Gardens@Night Halloween at Gilroy Gardens Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings Now through October 28 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm Discover spooky-but-not-too-scary fun for the whole family! Dance along with The Great Big Boo! live show, hop aboard the Boo Train and other rides, or trick or treat along the Boo Trail. Admission is FREE for season pass holders or may be purchased separately.

www.svct.org

Resident Company of the Morgan Hill Playhouse 5th and Monterey Streets

Fall Harvest is In!

Saturdays, 9AM - 1PM

Year-Round, Rain or Shine! Facebook.com/MHfarmersmkt

Buy this season’s bounty direct from local farmers to taste the freshest hand-picked heirloom fruits and vegetables.

1-800-806-FARM

gilroygardens.org/gardens@night

$

CAFarmersMkts.com

8 OFF

GENERAL ADMISSION

Present this coupon at any open ticket window at Gilroy Gardens and save $8 off each adult general admission (ages 3 & up), up to six (6) people. Valid for general admission only, which includes use of all shows, and attractions in operation on day of use except pay events and pay-per-play attractions. Coupon valid 9/21/18 – 10/28/18 during public night-time operating hours only. Not valid on park company rentals or special events, including but not limited to daytime operating hours and events. Not valid with any other offer, discount, coupon, or promotion. Call (408) 840-7100 or visit www.gilroygardens.org to conrm operating dates and hours as they are subject to change. ©2018 Gilroy Gardens, Inc. A 501(c)(3) Nonprot Corporation Created & Built by Michael Bonfante. PLU 7580619


16B

PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

County agriculture revenues up in ’17 CROP REPORT SHOWS MORE THAN $316M, AN INCREASE OVER 2016 Staff report

Barry Holtzclaw

Agricultural production in Santa Clara county last year grew slightly over 2016, according to the 2017 Santa Clara County Crop Report. The annual report released last month showed total county production and revenues, based largely in South County, were valued at $316.5 million, a 2 percent increase from 2016. “It is great to see another crop report grow to even higher values than previous years,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, who represents Morgan Hill and Gilroy. “I like to think of it as a testament to the county’s commitment to our farming community.” Wasserman credited the continued growth to the county’s effective implementation of the “Valley Ag Plan,” although crop reports across the state showed increases because of the end of a multiyear drought and excellent growing conditions. The county’s top producers for 2017 were nursery crops ($82,951,000), mushrooms ($74,659,000), lettuce ($17,522,000), spinach ($14,616,000), and bell peppers ($13,264,000). In 2017, 21 different agricultural commodities

HECKER PASS HARVEST These grapevines that stretch on either side of Highway 152 are laden with a luscious harvest for Gilroy wineries. grown in Santa Clara County exceeded $1 million in crop value. Commodities that now produce more than $1 million in revenues are cherries, seed crops and timber. Those that fell from the listing include celery, cut flowers, and hay and grain. “As Santa Clara County has evolved with Silicon Valley, the county’s agricultural roots continue to thrive and prosper,” said Joe Deviney, county

commissioner of agriculture. “2017 marked a second consecutive year of increased revenues. Our agricultural future is bright. Agriculture from Santa Clara County continues to feed the region and the world.” The 2017 crop report highlights the unique history of Asian vegetables in Santa Clara County, reported Deviney. He said about 80 Asian vegetable farms in Santa Clara County continue

to be cultivated and harvested by hand. Most of these farms are still family-run and small, usually 10 acres or less. Asian vegetables brought in $8,876,000 last year, making them the county’s ninth most lucrative crop. “I am very proud of our community and respectful of the work done every day. We work so hard and produce many wonderful nutritious vegetables,” said Jenny Li of Shun

Fat Nursery of Morgan Hill. “Most buyers prefer local farm goods rather than importing from outside of the Bay Area. It is important to keep agriculture local.” Chrysanthemums were among the county’s largest agricultural products through the 1960s, but have now given way to staples including bok choy, celery leaf and mustard greens. The Asian community has played an important

role in the valley’s agriculture history, with Gordon Chan, the first Chinese-American president of the Santa Clara Farm Bureau, helping lead the way. “It was delightful to see the Asian farming community highlighted in this year’s report,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. “Especially the tribute to Gordon Chan, a truly great leader who contributed so much to the community.”


SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

Visit us at the Taste of Morgan Hill!

• • • • •

Preschool – 12th grade

CAIS & WASC accredited Nonsectarian Independent, nonprofit school 355-acre campus among a redwood forest and hilltop meadows • Bus transportation available • Now enrolling!

408-847-2717 / MountMadonnaSchool.org

Holiday Advertising Programs Reach the local communities in the Gilroy Dispatch, Morgan Hill Times and Hollister Freelance newspapers with 33,400 Friday home delivery. Schedule all your holiday advertising at one time. Run 4 Friday dates in Oct. Nov & Dec for one low price! 1, 2 or 3 newspaper buys… your choice. You can add in a digital website or newsletter ad to any advertising package!

CONTACT

advertising@newsvmedia.com or 408.842.6400

17B


18B

PRIDE & PROGRESS 2018

SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

Admission to the Gallery & Receptions are always free!

Shop unique at the Artisans’ Corner Tues-Fri 2-5pm • Sat 11am-2pm

Photography Exhibit Limelight Show: ‘It’s Only a Play’ Dia de los Muertos Holiday Boutique Limelight Show: ‘Mom’s Gift’ Fundraising Exhibit for Center

Aug. 4-Sept. 29 Sept. 7-29 Oct. 14-Nov. 3 Nov. 9-11 Nov. 16-Dec. 8 Nov. 17-Dec. 16

Nov. 9 3-7pm Nov. 10 11am-4pm Nov. 11 11am-1pm

7341 Monterey Street 408.842.6999 GilroyCenterForTheArts.com

Gilroy Pride & Progress 2018  

September 28, 2018

Gilroy Pride & Progress 2018  

September 28, 2018