REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- ABC30 celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring Liset Garcia!
Reedley's Entrepreneur of the Year is having fun with her farm stand while educating customers via TikTok, Instagram and other social media platforms.
In-person or online 29-year-old Liset Garcia's positive energy is felt by everyone she encounters.
She's the farmer/operator of Sweet Girl Farms in Reedley. Cars driving by Alta Avenue near the old Midway-Drive In will often stop as customers find various commodities offered by Garcia and her family.
"It's a joyful place where people can come and obviously get the food that you know, fruit, fresh produce, eggs, honey, and a good therapy session," said Garcia.
"We have at least 30 commodities, at least 30, so that ranges from citrus to stone fruit to grapes, to veggies, now like watermelons, flowers, herbs. This entire row was a mix between sunflowers and zinnias, and right next door, I have tomatoes. So I have a lot of heirloom tomatoes growing right now, and we are in between an apple orchard," Garcia laughed.
Garcia's customer base is growing thanks to her marketing skills. She produces tutorial videos, recipes and lets people know what they can buy that day.
Darleen Toews likes Sweet Girl Farms' specialty vegetables because she cannot always find them in local stores. She enjoys making her own salsa.
"She has purple tomatillos that are hard to find," said Toews.
On this day, she picks up tomatillos along with Sweet Girl Farms Oaxacan salsa. Garcia's mother makes the spicy salsa which often sells out.
"My parents happen to be from the Mixteca region. And a lot of that knowledge and culture that they grew up with of course they miss their hometown, they bring it here to the farm," said Garcia.
Garcia's bilingual videos give the public a look at other offerings of the day, including Aguas Frescas or a quick way to pair jicama with watermelon.
"It can take me a day to do a youtube video, edit, upload and then propagate that to different outlets," said Garcia.
Garcia is modest, but her laugh and drive are infectious. Reedley's Chamber of Commerce named her Entrepreneur of the Year.
Keiko Hatakeda often comes by for fresh produce and friendly customer service.
"She's just a very bubbly person, sweet personality, you know the name fits her: 'Sweet Girl Farms,' you come out here, and she'll make conversation with you it makes everybody feel really special, said Hatakeda.
"I don't think people realize how much of a nice connection I end up making, and it brings a lot of joy personally," said Garcia.
The California drought has impacted what local farms can grow. Sweet Girl Farms was forced to cut production of a variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables.
"One of the wells is no longer available to use because we have no water," said Garcia.
Garcia holds degrees from UC Merced and USC. She returned to the family's farm after dealing with health setbacks. She doesn't like to go into those details but says she is grateful to be alive and back home in Reedley.
"I'm super grateful to be back with my family. I wasn't with them a couple of years ago," Garcia said.
Her education has been an asset to the farm.
"For my undergraduate degree, I attended UC Merced, and I did a molecular biology degree. In terms of actually physically growing everything, that's where the education has really helped me because all the chemistry, the biology, has made it easy, even the physics, of putting an irrigation line and the pressure that it takes, how much water pressure do I need," says Garcia.
"My Masters in Public Health from USC it's mostly with the community. Growing the fresh produce, what more fundamental thing to offer the community to maintain themselves, healthy and have good vitality just be well overall," said Garcia.
Garcia works long hours and is grateful for every customer she meets.
"Having the customer stop by while they're driving and going about their business and they decide to stop, I'm like thank you. It's really meaningful. That being grateful, that's usually what drives me."
Check out Sweet Girl Farms on Instagram
Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Liset Garcia of Sweet Girl Farms in Reedley