Growing Fruit, Corn, and a Work Ethic
Trace Jackson, Jackson Huckabay, with Janet M Kelly
Some of the joys of living in Kingsburg are biting into a fresh white nectarine or into a piping-hot ear of sweet corn, both picked fresh that morning. Many in the USA know the taste of fresh produce, but there is nothing like what you can get from local roadside stands.
If you drive East on Ave. 400 there is a corn-stand on the corner of Rd. 28 and Ave. 400 that sells delicious sweet corn. Going North on Mendocino there is a fruit stand just before Mountain View Ave. selling a variety of fresh fruit, as well as sweet corn, where you can get produce through a drive-through or walk-up.
What makes these produce stands unique? They are managed exclusively by youngsters… specifically cousins Trace Jackson and Jackson Huckabay. Trace will have a limited time running the business before transferring it to his younger siblings, because once he graduates from high school, he has to turn the reins over to the younger ones. Jackson still has the help of college-age brother, Jonas. In their family, the four Huckabay brothers run the business on their own.
These young cousins are completely in charge of the fruit and corn businesses. How was this business model born? Trace and Jackson explain.
Trace Jackson: “Swedest Fruits”
1. How did you get the idea for your business?
“My dad had just bought this block of land on the corner of Mendocino and Mountain View to grow citrus, and there was this beautiful huge oak tree placed in the center of the block. This tree was so beautiful and big that my dad didn’t want to cut it down just to grow fruit. And that’s when we got the idea to start a fruit stand right under the oak, and sell our best, most ripe, and sweetest fruit. This also blossomed into the idea to call our stand “Swedest Fruits”, in honor of our Swedish village.”
2. How do you think this experience has helped you grow as a person?
“Over the past three summers of running Swedest Fruits, I have learned and grown as a person in many ways. Waking up early every morning of the summer to go pick fruit has taught me hard work and perseverance. Even when you just want one day off, business doesn’t stop, so neither can you.”
3. Do you think other kids could benefit from an experience like yours?
“I think all kids should try and find a summer job when they come of age. Our generation will someday run this country, and unlike our fathers and grandfathers, we’ve strayed away from hard work and learning commitment to a job. I think any kid would benefit from working hard in the summer.”
4. Who do you credit for your success?
“My dad has been very helpful to the stand and we are grateful he gave us the opportunity to run a business on our own and learn how to function it properly. But ultimately we thank God for what He’s blessed us with through our years here.”
Jackson Huckabay: “Huckabay Farms Sweet Corn”
1. How did you get the idea for your business?
“The idea for our business started four generations ago when our great-grandfather Carl started growing it. He would grow sweet corn and freeze it in order to have it for the winter months. We figured it be a great idea to keep it in our family and carry on the tradition”.
2. Why do you employ high school age family and friends?
“We mostly only employ high school age kids and younger because we want to instill good work ethic in the younger generation. On top of that we want to give them an understanding and teach them the ins-and-outs of how the business-world works. We have very hands-on approach and believe that is the best and fastest way for them to learn the skills they need.”
3. How do you think this experience has helped you grow as a person?
“This experience has helped me grow as a person for three main reasons. First, I’ve began to understand why working hard is so important. It makes you appreciate everything you have and everything you’ve been given in life. Second, running a business is no small task. There’s a big learning curve, unknowns and risks involved as well. Through this I’ve gained a better understanding of how the business world works. Lastly, this experience has helped me grow as a person because I see how much everyone enjoys the product and that gives me more passion and drive to continue learning and growing the business.”
4. Do you think other kids could benefit from an experience like yours?
“I strongly believe that other kids can benefit greatly from experiences like mine. The skills and life skills that you gain from running a business like this can be applied to so many things in life.”
5. Who do you credit for your success?
“I credit my Dad and all the generations before me dating back to my great-grandfather Carl.”
Jackson’s older brother Jonas, 21, helps his brothers by taking on the early morning shift, which includes picking up the corn.
Jackson’s younger brothers, who also work in the corn business, chimed in.
“The corn business taught me how to work hard and give change.
I also like interacting with the customers.”
“Working at the corn stand taught me the value of hard work & treating customers with respect.”
Trace, and sister Danielle, as well as Jackson, Jonas, Logan, Lucas, and the rest of the cousins are grateful to the many customers who buy their produce every year.
We want to thank all our customers that came by the stands this year. We appreciate you guys very much. We will be open again next year the first week of June and we can’t wait to see you all again! Thank you. Trace and Jackson
Personally, I look forward to the delicious fruit and corn provided by these youngsters. Can’t wait for June 2022!