YOUNG FARMER GROWS MANGOES IN CALIFORNIA
Some day in the future, if you find California Gold mangoes in your grocery store, you’ll have Rishi Kumar to thank. A self-described fruit fanatic, the 31-year-old farmer grows mangoes and many other fruit on his farm in Pomona, California.
“Most people don’t grow fruit trees from seed, because you don’t know the exact fruit you’re going to get,” Kumar told the Los Angeles Times. “But my mom planted the (mango) seed, and it came up. At first, I didn’t pay very much attention to it. Then last year, after eight years, it produced fruit. We got these big, beautiful mangoes with yellow, red, peach skin and super golden flesh. They smelled so good and turned out incredible. So we named it California Gold, and I’m working on propagating it now.”
Over the last decade, Kumar has planted more than 80 fruit trees on his farm, where he also grows vegetables and medicinal herbs. His farm allows visitors to pick fruit themselves and also buy plants to grow in their yards.
“We try to focus on plants that will give people food to eat from their garden without a lot of effort,” he said.
But farming does involve hard work, as Kumar realized before pursuing it as a career. After studying computer science in college, he spent a summer at a rural farm in North India, where his interest in farming was kindled.
“It was a completely different world than I ever experienced, seeing how hard people work physically, doing intense physical labor,” he said. “It was crazy to see the amount of effort it takes to grow a bag of rice or a bag of lentils. You’d have to sit there for an entire day and sift through a bag of rice or lentils by hand to make sure there’s no rocks, stones or insects.”
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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