At Campbell, we believe that real food has roots. Our company has worked closely with local and regional farmers since our earliest days – and in this post, we want you to meet one of them.
For Anthony “Spunky” Massoni, farming roots run deep. His grandfather started a farm in 1907, growing asparagus, then later expanded to almonds and walnuts in 1928 when he moved to Oakley, CA. Forty years later, his uncles bought land in nearby Byron and started growing sweet corn and tomatoes. In 1980, what’s known today as Simoni & Massoni Farms started up, with Spunky and his late uncles, Harry and Gino, leading the way.
Today, Spunky owns his farm with his aunt Diane and his cousin Paul; his son, Nick, works on the farm, too. Along with a crew of about 100 dedicated workers (“some of the best workers you can find in this country,” Spunky insists), the farm grows sweet corn, green beans, cherries, walnuts, and – of course – tomatoes. And 35 years ago, they began working with Campbell, growing tomatoes that go into our soups, sauces, and more. All the crops on Spunky’s farm are non-GMO.
They use 100% drip irrigation on their crops, which delivers essential resources exactly where they’re needed so that less water and fertilizer is used. They also use guided tractors and GPS technology, employing modern technology to grow smarter and more efficiently.
“We’re always some of the first people do so something new when it comes to farming innovation,” Spunky noted. “We’re not afraid to change.”
Spunky and his team start planting tomatoes around the first of February each year. Harvesting season typically begins mid-July and runs through early fall. During harvest, Spunky and his team mechanically harvest tomatoes day and night, going from field to field until the final tomato plant is harvested.
“Farming isn’t really a job – it’s a lifestyle,” says Spunky, who starts work at 4 in the morning and often leaves around dinner time. “No one respects land more than a farmer. We don’t waste water. And when you get a good crop of tomatoes, you feel like you’ve done something.”
Spunky – who earned his nickname in childhood for his on-the-go personality – has lived this lifestyle for decades. And we’re so grateful that he and his family continue to grow the best crops not just for Campbell, but for real food lovers everywhere.
Images and video provided by Dr. Daniel Sonke
Cover image by Lars Blankers