This summer one won’t find the Ruvalcaba kids on a city corner selling lemonade. While it’s a foundation where many entrepreneurs might get their start, these four are taking their roots to the next level.
A team of four strong: Madison, 19; Jackson, 16; Allison, 13; and Hudson, 11, are the “sons” of Sons Farm Fresh, a cottage business started from their home with an abundance of eggs. This simple excess from their chickens has now become Sons Farm Fresh fruit stand at 1936 E. F St., just east of the rodeo grounds.
“Our goal is just to really have a great fruit stand in Oakdale,” eldest sibling and leader of the team Madison said. “Good quality food. Fresh quality food. Vine ripe food.”
Growing up on a ranch, the four siblings spend a lot of time outdoors tending to farm animals, picking fruit and just enjoying nature.
According to their mother, Amy, the fun slowly morphed into a business for her children when they posted some free range eggs for sale to social media. Prior to coming up with this idea, the family had been donating them to the Oakdale High School wrestling team, where dad, Cesar, is a coach.
“Eight or nine dozen sold within minutes,” Jackson said. “It just went crazy.”
Excited by the success, the four siblings inquired if they could expand what they were selling and offer honey and almonds, as well. Both parents acknowledge they encouraged their children, guided them, but the work and labor is 100 percent on the kids.
The items would be posted to social media, private messages would come in and from their Oakdale home the four siblings prepped and packed up the orders which were then delivered by eldest siblings Madison and Jackson.
“When we posted our honey and eggs we had 2,000 to 3,000 hits,” Jackson said.
“I had a little bit over 80 messages within three to four days,” Madison continued. “It was crazy. It’s so hard to keep up, but we enjoy it.”
According to the family, they have had visitors from as far as San Jose detour to their ranch for eggs and sent orders of almonds and honey as far as Los Angeles, Reno, Washington and Hawaii. All the marketing is done simply through Facebook, Instagram and by word of mouth.
“I’m so blown away by this,” Amy said of her children’s work ethic and commitment to their cottage business, noting awaking one morning to find all four children gathered around the dining table labeling jars, packing orders and working in unison. “I didn’t tell them to do that. They’re just doing it all on their own. I have not seen one meltdown or argument between them. They’re really enjoying it.”
While to the outsider it may seem too good to be true, perhaps even fabricated to create a more wholesome image, each of the foursome bring their own strengths to the team. Melding those strengths seems to make it all the more harmonious and successful. Even 11-year-old Hudson has his own job and skill, described by the family as the ‘chicken guy.’ Hudson is in charge of feeding the chickens (35 laying hens and approximately 40 chicks), as well as gathering eggs three to four times a day.
“We are just having a great time with it and we love being together,” Madison stated. “I think it makes it fun, too, because we’re always together anyways. We love being around each other, so being together every day now probably, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
According to Amy, as the business increased in popularity and orders, the kids began speaking of their dream to open a farm stand. Not so ironically, Amy’s parents (formerly Amy Joslin), still own the property where her grandparents hosted a farm stand for a short time close to 40 years ago. The mother of four encouraged the kids to approach her father, their grandfather, but that turned out to be unnecessary.
“Without them even approaching him, my dad offered the space,” Amy said of the shared space which is rented to Fasty’s Barbecue. “They were so excited.”
On Friday, June 8 the foursome, with a little help from their parents, opened the stand for business. They intend to stock it with produce picked from the family farm, as well as locally sourced, honey, almonds and farm fresh eggs. The fresh produce will be sold by the basket or per pound.
“I’ve seen so many leadership qualities in her, which is great,” Amy said of daughter Madison.
“I have learned so much,” Madison said, “we all have. I would just love to give Oakdale people a great fruit stand.”
“I’m really proud of them,” Amy added of her children’s focus and determination, “that they took the initiative and wanted to do something like this. That they’d spend their whole summer here at the fruit stand working. I just feel really blessed. I’m really happy for them.”