When you love what you do, it shows. It can be seen in the meticulously maintained 700 acres that make up Daren’s strawberry business, DB Specialty Farms or, more commonly, Darensberries. And it is obvious in the taste of the strawberries Daren grows which are consistently rated the top quality in the entire industry.
When asked to name the factors that have contributed to his current success as one of the largest strawberry farmers in California, Daren starts by recalling his college days. He attended the University of Fresno on a football scholarship and was studying to be a forest ranger. After participating in a cotton growing project his senior year, he found he had a greater interest in agriculture. He graduated in 1973 and got a job selling agriculture chemicals.
Eventually, Daren decided to follow his dream and become a farmer. He quit his sales job, took a pay cut and became an apprentice farmer in Oxnard, California. Later, he got a job growing for Saticoy Berry Farms, where he met some of the people working for the company today.
Through all of this, Daren says he has learned three key things. First, develop good people. Train them and give them freedom and ownership. Ask them to pass on what they have learned to their fellow employees.
Second, utilize technology to keep current. “You have to dominate in research and development if you want to be the front runner in any industry.”
And finally, most importantly, be a good person. Honesty, hard work and respect will pay off in the long run more than anything else. Daren says his ultimate goal is “to be a good family man, wholesome, hard working and to love what ever I’m doing.”
“The best part is when someone tells me ‘these are the best strawberries I have ever eaten’. Now that’s the real thrill!”