University of California Strawberries

Apr 30, 2024
California strawberry grower Mayra Paniagua receives award

Mayra Paniagua, a second-generation California grower, has received the Strawberry Industry Impact Award from the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Paniagua’s parents migrated from Mexico, starting out as pickers and eventually moving up to owning their own farm, passing on a dedication to hard work and perseverance to Mayra and her siblings. After graduating from college she started Golden State Farms and has been building a thriving family business while training her siblings to do virtually every job necessary to produce delicious strawberries for people to enjoy across the nation. See more of Paniagua’s story on the strawberry commission’s website.

Mayra Paniagua
Mayra Paniagua

She was honored during the Annual Strawberry Industry Recognition Dinner on April 19. This annual event brings together the Santa Maria Valley agriculture industry to celebrate and honor the people behind growing one of the area’s key commodities.

“Thank you to the California Strawberry Commission and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber for helping support dreams like mine,” Paniagua said in a news release. “As a strawberry farmer, I am blessed to work alongside my family, our crew and other farmworkers every day. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support from my community.”

Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce logoMore than 650 strawberry farmers, industry members, local business representatives and others attended. In addition to industry highlights and entertainment, the evening also serves as a fundraiser to support the local youth community of Santa Maria Valley.

“This event is a reminder of the importance of the strawberry industry locally in Santa Maria and the state of California,” Jeff Cardinale, director of communications at the California Strawberry Commission, said in the release. “Accounting for summer and fall plantings, Santa Maria is the largest producing strawberry region in the country. And with peak season approaching, the entire country will be looking to Santa Maria to lead the way with beautiful, delicious strawberries for consumers to enjoy.”

The Chamber awarded California Giant Berry Farms with the Strawberry Industry Partner of the Year award.

Top photo: File photo courtesy of University of California-Davis.

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