Farmer Roy Wilburn’s Bio
In June of 2010, Roy Wilburn was hired as Sunshine Care’s Director of Horticulture. You can usually find him in one of the five organic gardens, producing high quality organic fruits and vegetables for the residents and those in need in the Poway area. Roy’s other responsibilities include maintaining Sunshine Care’s beautiful greenhouse, fruit tree orchards, Memorial Rose Garden and the landscaping of its 32-acre facility. As a Master Composter, Roy handles the compost and vermiculture programs. Twice a month, he is with local home-schooled children and residents, directing the Sunshine Care Garden Club’s “Seed to Table” program. In this program, the children learn all aspects of growing organic fruits and vegetables in their own “Children’s Garden” Included in this program are Sunshine Care residents who the children refer to as their “Grandmas and Grandpas.” Sunshine Care also offers a series of free garden lectures and workshops once a month. Roy and guest speakers cover a wide variety of horticultural issues pertaining to the particular time of year.
Roy came to Sunshine Care with more than 20 years of experience managing and operating vegetable and berry farms. Immediately after college he became an agriculturalist in the San Quintin Valley of Baja California Norte. For the next twenty years he was a hands-on grower and eventually owner of ranches up and down the Baja Peninsula. Roy has managed over 1000 acres of tomatoes, all types of peppers, peas, beans, cucumbers, squashes, asparagus, strawberries and other produce annually. All aspects of production were his responsibility including seed acquisition and varietal selections, greenhouse growing of all transplants, ground prep, MBr and plastic mulch application, macro and micro irrigation design and installation, planting, cultural practices, fertilization and pest control, harvest, hauling, packing and shipping and working daily with the sales team. Over two million boxes were produced annually and distributed from their sales facilities in the Otay Valley of Chula Vista, California.
Upon returning to San Diego Roy worked for HerbThyme Farms in Oceanside, California as Grower/Manager of all sixteen herbs, both conventional and organic. In addition to growing, Organic Registration, Primus Certification, all audits, Kosher registration and complying with all state, county and federal regulations were also his responsibility. GAP, food safety regulations, fertilizer and pesticide application logs were kept daily. No violation of any kind was allowed under his watch.
Roy has worked closely with the University of California system, farm advisors all over the nation, seed companies, irrigation companies, and chemical companies to stay on the cutting edge of all technological aspects of agriculture. His outfit was the first to bring drip irrigation and the use of plastic mulch to Baja. He worked with Sun World International to become the first grower in Baja of the LSL tomatoes and seedless watermelons, galia melons and the now popular La Mouye type of Spanish red pepper. During his second year of growing strawberries, he received national recognition at the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association Convention for the first ever pre-print strawberry box.
Roy’s research and education have led him to many growing areas in the USA, Mexico, Spain, Israel and the Netherlands. Always looking for an advantage in latest technologies, varieties and growing practices were crucial to stay on top. He was a member of the California Tomato Advisory Board; he was an Executive Board member at Peninsula Vegetable Exchange, Inc. and president of Island Horticultural Specialists, Inc. Mr. Wilburn has certificates in Post Harvest Handling and Completion of Vineyard Series from UC Davis and is a Licensed Private Applicator of Pesticides in California.
Check out Roy’s monthly blog at DementiaAndAlzheimerscare.com, dealing with relevant, seasonal topics in Sunshine Care’s gardens.