Madera, CA – Figs
In an industry that prides itself on tradition, Kevin Herman is an artist. His agricultural canvas stretches over 8,000 acres across the Madera and Merced counties, growing anything from almonds to goji berries. There is one fruit, however, that Kevin is undoubtedly tied to – and that’s figs. Kevin currently manages about half of the entire fig industry and has been a key thought leader for the commodity, twice serving as the chairman of the board.
Most days you can find Kevin cruising through the orchards in his white truck, kicking up gravel to the tunes of James Brown and Tower of Power. Other days you can find him experimenting with a small specialty crop, assessing its potential as a new market item.
Initially, Kevin worked for various farming companies throughout the region before eventually starting his own business, which he named The Specialty Crop Company. As its name would suggest, the company deals with a wide variety of crops, many of them unique to the area.
For Kevin, farming is the ultimate form of skilled gambling – where it takes a combination of experience and creativity to navigate the endless variables. Let’s just say Kevin has become well accustomed to hitting jackpots. So much so that Kevin has become a go-to consultant for many private orchard owners, even managing some of their crops himself.
As most farmers will tell you, there’s an intrinsic quality to growing, one that can’t just be learned vicariously through books or websites. As a third generation farmer Kevin has the benefit of decades of shared wisdom and a “knack” for getting the most out of his crops. On the other hand, Kevin also possesses a natural sense of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. There’s hardly a new method, case study or breakthrough in the industry that he’s not aware of.
When free time makes a rare appearance in Kevin’s schedule, he enjoys spending it with his family. Married to his high school sweetheart, Kevin is also the father to a son who recently graduated Fresno State and a daughter who is heading to the University of Southern California – which provides more than enough incentive to continue working hard and growing his business.