Ray Van Beek
In the case of Ray Van Beek, father really does know best.
The late Bill Van Beek encouraged son Ray not to follow his older brothers into the family dairy business. Ray heeded those words and planted almond and walnut trees 10 years ago near Porterville at the southeast end of California’s Central Valley. He says he gains solace from the orchards with their green carpet of natural vegetation beneath the trees.
“I find it particularly gratifying to be able to walk around the different properties and to be just among the trees. It’s just kind of a good feeling,” he says.
The same year he planted his almond trees, he joined Blue Diamond Growers because of his familiarity with the cooperative structure.
“Our family comes from a co-op background in the dairy business, and it worked well,” he says. “And Blue Diamond is a leader in the industry. I just feel secure with them.”
As a father of three children, ages 12, 10 and 6, Ray says he shares consumers’ concerns about food safety. And that’s why he takes steps on his farm to ensure the highest quality, most wholesome almond possible.
His three offspring may be a little too young to know whether they’ll follow in dad’s footsteps, but Ray knows it won’t be from lack of exposure to the agricultural lifestyle.
“Before they were in school, they spent a lot of time in the cab of my pick-up truck or sitting on the tractor with me,” he says.