In 2018, Minnesota-raised Becca Kufrin embarked on her journey for love as “The Bachelorette” in Season 14 of the hit ABC TV show. Little did she realize she would find love and laughter with avid adventurer and outdoorsman Garrett Yrigoyen (pronounced “Yer-GOY-en”).
At that time, Garrett was working in medical sales in Reno, Nevada, but he grew up on a farm in Manteca, California. His great-grandfather came to the United States from Spain as a sheep herder, and his family history expanded from there, settling into Northern California. Garrett’s father, David, once had a diversified farm of alfalfa, tomatoes, beans, asparagus, and other products, but over time, he discovered his niche for tomato transplanting.
This is where Garrett’s stories of the family farm really come to life. He has so many memories of helping at his dad’s tomato transplanting company, he shared a beautiful story about it on his Instagram page, which has more than 723,000 fans. It’s great to see his public platform used to promote farmers across a broad, non farming audience: Bachelor Nation!
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🌱 Thank you agriculture 🍅 You’ve taught me the value of work ethic, long hours, failure, and success. You’ve taught me valuable life lessons, and allowed me to bond with my dad and brother over countless hours of labor, screw ups, stories, jokes, laughs, tales of who my sister was dating, curse words, and tasty lunches my mom would pack. You gave me the skills to think outside of the box, rationalize decisions, have my voice be heard over the heavy thrum of motors, and figure out how to fix the shit I broke. You allowed me to see more sunrises than my peers, drive before I lost my baby teeth, and makeshift a bathroom when I had to go. I was able to show you off on national television and tried to convey this same message to my now fiancé: ‘why I am this way today.’ Last but not least, I’m so proud of my dad for his decades of love, passion, dedication, and pride that he puts into work daily. He doesn’t get much time off, but he always finds a way to be there for his family. Here I’m trying to show off a tiny part of that in this video. Thank you, farmers across the globe, for continuing to provide for your people in this uncertain time, and continually caring for our planet 🌎 ————————————————— #agriculture #transplanting #farming #tomatoes #johndeere #customtransplanting #dnbyrigoyen #garrettlife #youneedacustomtransplanter? #iknowaguy
I loved this post so much, I was honored to get a phone interview with Garrett himself (and his father) to talk about how farming made him the man he is today. Through our conversation, I learned about the way he and his siblings helped their Dad with things like planting, irrigating, cultivating, and harvesting. Like a lot of farm kids, they would help move trucks, run the water truck to keep dust down, and manage their time between school, sports, and farm chores.
Garrett fondly describes the taste of fresh, very ripe tomatoes straight from the field — they’d be used for ketchup, processing, and canning, among other things. They’d always keep little salt and pepper packets on hand for the tomatoes, and his dad could gauge how well the crop and yield would be based on acidity and sweetness of them. Garrett and his brother would also sometimes have tomato fights, where they’d throw tomatoes at each other and get so sloppy they’d sometimes have to ride in the back of the truck. Ahh, childhood farm memories.
Family farms often last for generations, and as his father David gets ready to retire, he always encouraged his three children (Garrett is the youngest) to get out there and live life to the fullest and be happy doing what you love.
“Farming is a grind with ups and downs. You have to love where you live,” Garrett says. “Every day is different and being outside is great. It can also be very stressful. I also give my mom a lot of credit.”
His mom does the books for the family business, where Dad is sort of like a “middleman” for tomato growers. He takes the plants when they’re about six inches tall and transplants them into fields for growers. This also cuts down on pesticide use and helps the tomato fields grow more uniformly. Watch a video of the process here, during the famous “hometown week” episode of the show.
When asking Garrett and David what they feel the biggest misconceptions are with agriculture, they both agree that people really don’t have any idea all the work that goes into producing food. Although workers on farms are generally treated well and paid fairly, finding workers continues to be a struggle. Land values continue to rise, machines are expensive (David builds and sells custom tomato transport equipment), politics and policy continue to make it harder for farms to operate.
Despite all this, they wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Farmers are gamblers, you could risk it all. But it instills a hard work ethic where you learn from your failures,” Garrett says. “You’re up before the sun and go to bed after it’s down. It shapes you, where you appreciate the little things and don’t take anything for granted.”
To bring fans of the show up to speed, Becca and Garrett are still together and doing well in their home in Carlsbad, California. They’re happily engaged but taking their time before getting married. Check out a couple more of their videos together on the show and watch their love unfold. Garrett was the recipient of the “first impression rose,” and, clearly, Becca has good taste in “picking” a man with his roots planted in agriculture.
Michelle Miller, the Farm Babe, is an Iowa-based farmer, public speaker, and writer, who lives and works with her boyfriend on their farm, which consists of row crops, beef cattle, and sheep. She believes education is key in bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.