Enrique served as the tireless, dedicated, and intelligent foreman at the Ranch for 15 years before a violent car accident swept him off his feet. He wasn't away for long: once released from the hospital, he designed smooth dirt paths through the rows of trees, modified his wheelchair and headed right back outside as foreman of the Bautista Family Organic Date Ranch. To his children and grandchildren and to each of us date aficionados, Mr. Bautista is a resilient role model. "He is teaching us a great lesson in life," shares his hija Alicia, "Always look at everything in a positive way."
Graciela and Enrique raised their five children in their Mecca, California home across the street from what became the Bautista Family Organic Date Ranch. A warm, loving, humble presence in the Bautista home, Graciela is a beloved wife and mother, a source of unwavering strength to her family, and a welcoming hostess to her home's visitors.
Alvaro supervises everything at the Ranch. Knowledgeable and passionate about date palms, he holds the secrets of hand-pollination, of transplanting pup trees, of the exact flavor of each variety, and every question you can think to ask. His peaceful, kind, humble presence makes it a pleasure to spend time with him at the Ranch or at the Hollywood, Torrance, and Santa Monica Wednesday farmers markets, which he has traveled to since 1999. Blanca, esposa de Alvaro, assist with the date harvesting and staffs Bautista Family farmers market stands.
Maricela does it all: she works hands-on during the harvesting, she packs dates for shipping and for farmers markets, and along with Jaime and Alvaro, she travels to the markets. With her bright smile, joyful laugh, and gentle sense of humor, Maricela is always a muy buena amiga.
Alicia is the soft-spoken, thoughtful, and thoroughly organized office coordinator at the Ranch. It's her warm voice who answers your calls and ensures that your date order is mailed as soon as possible – the same day, quite often! – even when she's flooded with hundreds of orders all at once.
Jaime is a military veteran, coach of his son's baseball team, and travels the hundreds of miles each week during the season to bring fresh dates to Southern California farmers markets. Arlene, Jaime's wife, also helps at farmers markets.
Enrique Jr. is the farm mechanic. "He even fixes my dad's wheelchair," Alicia says. Enrique Jr.'s wife Isabel helps at harvest time and has worked at the farmers markets.