Luis Cacho


Musical instruments from his Mariachi band cover the walls of Luis Cacho's office at his home on Albany Avenue in Otay


1905 - Antonio Cacho, father of Luis Cacho, was born 1904 in Mexico. Antonio married Ermina who was born 1911 in Mexico. Antonio came to the U. S, in 1923. Luis was born in 1932 as Luis Castillo on the Pala Indian Reservation (his father's brother used the name Castillo, the maiden name of Antonio's mother, and married a lady who lived close to the reservation). In the early 1930s his father worked in the orchards of the historic Agua Tibia ranch near Pala. In 1937 his father was living in Chula Vista at old 1st (Fifth Ave. today) and K Street. Luis's brother, Antonio, Jr., was born in 1938, and five sisters were born in the 1930s, including the twins Irene and Amilia in 1935. Luis married Ophelia San Martin who died in 1966 at the age of 33. Luis's sons are Charles and Richard and his daughter is Helen. (Cacho, Luis, interview July 23, 2014, in Otay)

1923/06/11 Name: Antonio Cacho. Arrival Date: 11 Jun 1923. Port of Arrival: Laredo, Texas, United States. Age: 19. Birth Date: abt 1904. Gender: Male. Race/Nationality: Mexican (Latino). ( Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S. at ancestry.com )

1935 Rudy San Martin was born 1935 in Palm City, moved in 1936 to Anita Street, father Filman San Martin owned whole block where Catholic Church is today, donated land for the church. The San Martin hog farm of 48 acres was on Palm Ave. for 31 years, finally sold ca. 1960. Drove trucks at age 12 for his dad who had 14 trucks that picked up garbage every day for his 5000 hogs. His sister owned a store north of the Baptist church, at Montgomery and 3rd, now a fish restaurant. His older brother and aunt remembers Otay. Campbell's Hill was at the end of Anita Street at Albany, 100 yards north of the park, where 3-story house was once owned by a policeman in 1940s. His brother-in-law is Luis Cacho. ( San Martin, Rudy. Interview Jan. 22, 2010, at Nelson and Sloan office, 7th and Main, Chula Vista, CA. )

1937 Antonio Cacho Street Address: 796 old 1st Av, Chula Vista, California; Occupation: Fruit wkr; Spouse: Hermenia Cacho. ( San Diego street index)

1940 Cacho, Antonio (Ermenia) laborer, h503 K ( 1940 Chula Vista City Directory )

1940 Name: Antonio Cacho. Age: 35. Estimated Birth Year: abt 1905. Gender: Male. Race: White. Birthplace: Mexico. Marital Status: Married. Relation to Head of House:Head. Home in 1940: Chula Vista, San Diego, California. Street: 503 K Street. Farm: Yes. Residence in 1935: Chula Vista, San Diego, California. Resident on farm in 1935: Yes. Citizenship: Alien. Sheet Number: 19B. Number of Household in Order of Visitation: 14. Occupation: Labor. House Owned or Rented: Rented. Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 8. Attended School or College: No. Highest Grade Completed: Elementary school, 5th grade. Hours Worked Week Prior to Census: 60. Class of Worker: Wage or salary worker in private work. Weeks Worked in 1939: 50. Income: 500. Income Other Sources: No. Household Members: Antonio Cacho 35, Erminia Cacho 29, Rosa Cacho 9, Louise Cacho 6, Irene Cacho, 5, Amelia Cacho 5, Pertis Cacho 4, Jessie Cacho 2. ( 1940 United States Federal Census)

1945 Sam Kusaka leased the strawberry field at 4th and Main with partner Fred Williamson of Oceanside. Fred bought the old Kusaka packing shed at 2320 Main near the railroad tracks. The Kusakas bought the building from General Fertilizer, prob in the late 1960s or early 70s. The Kusaka brothers George and Sam farmed in Chula Vista after coming here from Idaho after the war They farmed tomatoes with Helm and Williams on Otay Ranch, and other locations in Chula Vista. They bought the strawberry field from Tony Cacho (brother of Luis Cacho) and then it was sold to Nelson & Sloan, and then sold to the Nelson family. ( Sam Kusaka interview, May 22, 2012)

1950 - Luis Cacho and his father Antonio Cacho bought 10 acres farmland at Orange and Anita and 20 acres southeast of Main Street and 4th. Sold 10 acres to Nelson Sloan in 1961 and his mother kept 10 acres. later, 5 acres on Orange was sold to the Continental Mobile Home Park. (Cacho, Luis, telephone interview July 4, 2013 )

1956/06/17 Tony Cacho Ranch, Third Ave north of Naples, one of 10 ranches on tour of tomato fields. ( The San Diego Union, June 17, 1956 )

1958 Luis Cacho bought 8 acres on Albany where his house is now located. His dad's house was at Orange and Albany. (Cacho, Luis, telephone interview July 4, 2013 )

1959/09/07 Petra Cacho was married in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Otay. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Cacho of Otay; bridesmaid was Irene Cacho; bride graduated from SD State ( The San Diego Union, Sept. 7, 1959 )

Cacho's Mariachi Band at the Hayloft.
1962/04/24 Louis Cacho Otay Ranch on Main Street is one of the ranches on the cucumber tour. ( The San Diego Union, Apr. 24, 1962 )

1962/05/20 Luis G. Castillo funeral, died in EL Cajon, 50-year resident of SD, two brothers Luis Cacho of Tijuana and Antonio Cacho of Chula Vista. ( The San Diego Union, May 20, 1962 )

1965/03/04 Tour of 6 ranches by Bernarr Hall, including Sam Vener at west end of E Street, Jaekel and Rogers at National and Naples, M. Torimaru at Orange and 4th, Luis Cacho at Anita St., J. and K. Sato brothers at 650 Anita St., and Sam Vener's Otay ranch in San Ysidro. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Mar. 4, 1965. )

1965/06/08 Antonio J. Cacho list of property at parcel 623-010-07 in sec 15 of 18-2W. ( The San Diego Union, June 8, 1965 )

1966/05/30 obit for Mrs. Ophelia Cacho of 1525 Albany, wife of Luis, had two sons Charles and Richard, daughter Hellen. all from Chula Vista, 7 sisters and 3 brothers. ( The San Diego Union, May 30, 1966 )

1966/06/02 THE LUIS CACHO BAND Of OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE CHURCH will take part in big Fiesta of Bells Sunday at Brookside winery. ( Imperial Beach Star-News, June 2, 1966 )

1967/05/10 first listing of ad for strawberries "Direct From Ranch To You" from Cacho Produce at 3089 Main Street; also in '60s sold corn, tomatoes, cucumbers. ( The San Diego Union, May 10, 1967 )

1968/01/14 EXPERIMENT. Perforated Plastic Covers Result In Early Tomato Yield:(photo) AN AGRICULTURE EXPERIMENT PAYS OFF IN TOMATOES Grower Henry Nakaji, left, shows farm edvisor crop's progress.A Chula Vista tomato grower la helping shoot holes in the theory that tomatoes grown under solid sheets of plastic produce better crops. The results promise economic benefits for the county's $8 mjllion-a-year tomatoes-under-plastic industry. BERNARR HALL, a F a r m Advisor, said results from fields using plastic with a string of holes along the top and middle or base of the arched plastic covering has produced significant early tomatoes as well as cucumbers. The experiments took place at Vener Farms, owned by Samuel Vener. Farm advisor Hall, of the University of California Agricultural Extension Service, realized in iwy that solid plastic had drawbacks ‹ chiefly that plants grow too fast in the warmth and humidity of unvented plastic, especially when treated with a hormone. 4-CP A, which sets the fruit. HORMONE-T IlKA TED fruit tended to puff up. Hall decided the growth rate should be slowed up to reduce the puffing. He enlisted the cooperation of four major plastic companies: Union Carbide Corporation, Eastman Kodak Company. Ethyl Visqueen Corporation, and B e r i n g Plastic Division, Monsanto Chemical Company. They supplied him with plastic perforated along the top, sides or base, with up to 4% of the plastic removed to make the holes. HALL'S PART was to set up the experiments, take temperature readings, check plant size, count clusters and note yields. He also kept track of the earliness of harvest, fruit size, fruit quality and per cent of culls. The University of California vegetable expert found that holey plastic not only brought tomatoes and cucumbers to harvest (and therefore to market) five to seven days earlier but also reduced labor requirements by making it less often necessary Tomato for crews to periodically roll back the plastic to ventilate plants. Hall believes his experiments with perforated plastic on the Vener farms and with growers Louis and Tony Cacho will benefit all of San o Yield: Diego County's tomato growers who use plastic. The comprise about onefourth of the county's entire tomato industry. The county is the number one producer of fresh market tomatoes in the United States. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Jan 14, 1968 )

1968/05/16 first listing of ad for Corn Crib on Third Ave ( The San Diego Union, May 16, 1968 )

1968/06/23 Otay Youth Center director is Nicholas A. Vitalich, Jr., former peace Corpsman. Ben Moreno of 1239 ord Ct. was born and raised in Otay and has worked since 1959 to get a center. At night there are no street lights foir the 3000 people of Otay living on unpaved streets. "We now have a catalyst, a fantastic man named Louis Cacho, an Otay farmer. He put the problem before the business community and the people and the response made it possible for us to acquire a beat-up old house to work with." The 30-year old house is being renovated, summer program funded by OEO. ( Chula Vista Star-News June 23, 1968. )

Photos from article on Otay Center; Luis Cacho was one of the founders. ( The San Diego Union, July 22, 1968 )


1968/08/11 Otay Youth Center Finds New Friends. The Otay Youth Center entertained a distinguished guest at lunch this week. Roscoe (Pappy) Hazard, prominent San Diego businessman and longtime civic leader, making a significant contribution to the local facility. A lunch featuring chicken mole was enjoyed by Hazard and a Navy work detail accompanied by Cmdr. James O'Connell, coordinator of the Navy summertime building for youth centers, and Chief Edwin Hirst, in charge of the work crew. HAZARD Is giving the Otay center $2,200 worth of blacktopping and he is investigating the best type of fencing for the facility at Montgomery street and Third avenue. O'Connell said the Otay Youth Center is the sixth on which the Navy has done construction, electrical work and plumbing. "We have the skills and manpower tor the job and I personally don't know of anything mere rewarding that the Navy has undertaken. The men feel the tame way." One of the sailers on the work crew said though they may have a "punch the clock" attitude toward regular shipboard duties, just waiting for liberty to start, when he and the others are involved with filing up a youth center, "time doesn't matter at all. We just work until we can see results. It's a privilege." The navy has helped to build centers at Linda Vista. Imperial Avenue, Logan Avenue and 4th and Market street, besides San Ysidro. Nicholas Vitalich, Otay center director, said besides Hazard's generosity, the center has collected in donations, $500 from the Copley press towards black-lopping, $1000 from Otay businessmen and the community and has raised $700 (a dance) and $150 (a pancake breakfast). Vitalich said one of the major contributors to the center efforts has been Mary Folks, a Chula Vista member of VISTA volunteers. "That young lady has almost singlehandedly organized five baseball teams," Vitalich said. "We made $100 in donations for the teams at our opening game cornfeast" MRS. CARMEN BARRON, Otay Neighborhood Center, community aide, was chairman of the Hazard luncheon assisted by Mrs. Marie Thompson. She said the chicken mole and Spanish rice were made by Mrs. Armida Amezcua; the salad by Mrs. Pina Meza; the refried beans by Mrs. Carol Galvan. Vitalich, who is leaving to return to Columbia University where he is working on his master's degree, said a new director is needed. He will leave Sept. 10. Qualifications are a college degree with major in social sciences or related field. Experience may be substituted for a college degree on a year-for-year basis up to a maximum of two years. The candidate must speak Spanish fluently and have the ability to relate to a minority community. Experience in working with community and youth groups. Beginning salary is $525 a month. Applicants should contact Otay Neighborhood Center, 329 Anita Street, Otay. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Aug 11,1968)

1968/08/11 Otay is on the march! The baseball field in Otay was officially opened this week and all of Otay came out for the occasion. To help celebrate, free corn-on-the-cob was donated by Louis Cacho, a local farmer, and Mary Kay Folks, a VISTA volunteer and head of this community project, was on hand. Two ball fields have already been completed and two are still in the planning stages with material being donated by local merchants and residents of the Otay area. EQUIPMENT to build the fields was donated by Joe Benter and the actual work was done by members of the community, including Leo Mata, Lenny Sanchez, Richard Valles, Steve Perez, Jesse Martinez and Gilbert Moreno. Organization of the concession sales is being handled by Mrs. Amezcua, who is accepting donations of baked goods to sell as a means of gaining funds for more equipment. Already there are five boys baseball teams with coaches Richard Gonzales, Sal Martinez, Bob Gonzales, Ed Moreno and Mario Gonzales riding herd on 12 boys apiece. In the official opening, these teams played three innings each. Nancy Viloria is heading the organization of the girls teams which will consist of girls from 8-18. All girls interested should contact the Otay Neighborhood Center at 422-9235. Games will be played Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., now until the middle of September. (Chula Vista Star-News, Aug 11,1968)

1968/11/28 Otay Youth Center opened at 298 Montgomery St. on 10 acres along Albany bet Montgomery and Zenith St.s, with 2 baseball fields, soccer field, football field. Israel Cosio is director of Otay Neighborhood Center at 329 Anita Street. Luis Cacho is Youth Activities committee chairman. Ben Moreno is vice-chairman, was built with local donations, Navy construction help. The clubhouse is an 800 sq ft building remodeled from an old house, surrounded by 1200 sq ft of play area that is black-topped and lined for basketball, badmiton, volleyboall. the 10-acre playing filed was loaned by the CV Elementary School District. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Nov. 28, 1968. )

1969/11/06 Otay Youth Center was closed last week, due to complaints of parents about drugs and exclusion of parents. Ben Moreno is temp chairman of the parents advisory board, will talk to Clarence Williams, exec director of SD EOC. Luis Cacho of 1525 Albany was one of the founders of the OYC. (Nov. 9 - plans to reopen OYC that was first opened a year ago June, financed by ACCESS) ( Chula Vista Star, Nov. 6, 1969. )

1969/12/11 Filemon San Martin, 67, of 453 G Street, Chula Vista, died; was father of Raul, Rudy, Lambert, Dolores San Martin, Rose Miranda, Mary Blocker, Alice Barajas, Betty Camara, Carol Workman and the late Ophelia Cacho; 21 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. Recitation of the Rosary was Tuesday, December 9, Humphrey Chula Vista Mortuary, 855 Broadway, Chula Vista. Requiem Mass was Wednesday, December 10, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Rev. Adolphus Chavez officiated. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Dec 11, 1969)

1970 Louis Cacho moved his farm from the Otay Valley to Otay Mesa in the 1970s.

1970/04/22 Construction of the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge required demolition of part of the Barrio Logan neighborhood, to make way for the bridge supports and approach ramps. Many residents in Barrio Logan had believed that they would gain access to land beneath the ramps that would be used to build a park. On April 22, 1970, the formal struggle for a park in Barrio Logan began when Jose Gomez, a long{ime resident of the neighborhood, and students, families, elders, and children occupied the land under the approach ramps of the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge, after they learned that a California Highway Patrol (CHP) station was scheduled to be built there. Between 250 and 500 people representing a wide cross-section of the community disrupted grading work that was already in progress. The site was occupied for twelve days and the demand that a park be created immediately was the rallying cry to the community. To emphasize the point, the community began the work of creating their own park by using shovels, pickaxes, hoes and rakes to prepare the ground for the planting of grass, shrubs and flowers. By the third day of the land occupation the Cacho family, prominent landowning Mexican-American farmers, from the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, and cultural preservationists, lent tractors, bulldozers and other essential farming tools to assist in the building of a park. The establishment of a CHP station under the new bridge was viewed as an affront to Barrio Logan, a community that already had many grievances against local police actions. Further, the proposed CHP station was to be of impressive size, with the intent to employ some 195 uniformed personnel and 15 civilian employees and provide parking spaces for 115 cars. "Our neighborhood had already been invaded by the junkyards, the factories and a bridge...in essence, they viewed the people of Logan Heights as people who hadn't gotten out of the way of industry as the junkyards, factories, etc... were coming to claim this Barrio," Gomez declared, "Some of us decided that it was time to put a stop to the destruõtion and begin to make this place more livable." Forming the Chicano Park Steering Committee, the activists demanded that the property be donated to the Chicano community as a park in which Chicano culture could be expressed through art. "We are ready to die (to gain the park)," Salvador Roberto "Queso" Torres, a community artist, shouted to a gathering of city and state officials while supporters stamped their feet in rhythm and shouted "viva la Raza-long live the race." Twenty-eight year old Jose Gomez echoed this sentiment when he shouted: "The only way anybody is going to take the park away from us is through our blood." Gomez later recalled: "The students and the others said, 'lf you won't build a park here, we'll do it ourselves',..that's when the state officials knew we were serious. And the city entered into negotiations." ( National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Chicano Park and Chicano Park Monumental Murals, 2012 )

1974/05/02 Mariachi band to play at Cinco de Mayo. Mariachi Luis Cacho. a well traveled group, including appearances in Vietnam, will play a return engagement at the Sixth Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in National City The group played tor the celebration two years ago, Ernie Azhocar, cochairman with Librarian Joel Siegfried, said, but they are booked so solidly, it took a whole year to sign them up for a return appearance Cinco de May is the Mexican holiday which marks the defeat of the French army of Napoleon II by General Zaragoza on May 5,1862. The National City celebration is co-sponsored by the National Citv Lincoln Acres Community Action Council and the City of National City. Other performers to appear in this year's celebration include folklorico dancers, singers, South Bay recording stars and television stars, Azhocar said. Siegfried said less than perfect weather the past two years should insure, by the law of average, good weather for the performance this year to be presented at 7 pm in Kimball Memorial Bowl. (Chula Vista Star-News, May 2, 1974)

Luis Cacho, left, with community leaders ca. 1974.


1976/03/14 PTA tributes Honorary Service.(photo) MARY ANNE CACHO Montgomery-Otay's pick. Montgomery-Otay PTA has presented its honorary service award to Mary Anne Cacho for her service to the school and community. Mrs. Cacho has served as PTA president and as a parent volunteer at Rice Elementary School. Her community activities include Pop Warner, Little League, the Josephine Romero Dancers, the Otay YMCA and the Altar Society. Mrs. Cacho and her husband, Antonio, have three children: Cathy, 14, a student at Castle Park Junior High; and Paul, 12 and Patricia, 11, both students at Montgomery Elementary. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Mar 14, 1976, Page 16 )

1976/10/03 Growers to inspect Louis Cacho Ranch at 4th and Main. ( The San Diego Union, Oct. 3, 1976. )

1978/06/01 ad Cacho's Produce 3089 Main St. Chula Vista FRESH TOMATOES LOCAL CUCUMBERS. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Jun 1, 1978 )

1983/09/04 Tomato glut. Richard Cacho is 25 and a lot more optimistic about his future as a farmer. He challenges the assumption that agriculture is dead in the Otay River Valley and on Otay Mesa. Standing in his packing shed office ‹ he doesn't have a desk and never seems to sit down ‹ he rattles off the names of 12 farmers still farming on the mesa. "Hedgecock said he believes that farming is phasing itself out ‹ that there's really no hope for it," he said. "Farming's alive and well here as far as we're concerned. It's our livelihood.'* But tomatoes haven't been the most profitable crop in recent years for Cacho either. This year, of 240 cultivated acres, only 25 are planted with the characteristic rows of square wooden stakes poking above the leafy green plants. Just what is ending the tomato's reign in the South Bay? Farmers say tomatoes, particularly the sweet, flavorful vineripened specimens, are increasingly costly to grow and more difficult to market for a number of reasons. Perhaps the largest added cost for tomato growers is labor . Pole tomatoes, which must be pruned, tied and staked, and handpicked, are highly labor intensive. Pole tomato labor costs comprise 60-70 percent of a farmer's overhead, as compared to 30-40 percent for other crops. The success of the United Farm Workers in organizing South Bay farmworkers has jacked up labor costs to $4.50 an hour, and placed area farmers at a disadvantage, a number of growers say. Ripe tomatoes are also fragile fruit, and hence more difficult than cucumbers or celery to ship and pack. They rot quickly and have a greater shrinkage loss for grocery stores. A vine-ripened tomato, Cacho says, must be picked during the day, packed that night and shipped off as quickly as possible. If not sold in three days, these tomatoes will start totting. That's why a number of supermarket chains have begun to favor the gassed tomatoes. These tomatoes are picked green, often by machines. They're firmer, more durable and easier to handle. And they've taken a large chunk of the national tomato market. Picked green, the fruit is stored in coolers and exposed to ethylene gas three or four days before they are to ripen. The gas really does turn the green fruit to red inside and out, but there's a catch. As Cacho says, "It looks oes: glut, Uke a ripe tomato, but it tastes like a piece of cardboard.'' Even though the fruit looks ripe. It's not. The inside remains watery and hard. But market fluctuations and wholesale buyer preferences have encouraged, even forced more and more growers to gas in order to take advantage of the best prices. Cacho now gasses some of his fruit. "The market fluctuates so much ‹ in a night it can drop $2-3," ne said. "With gassing, if you pick a green tomato, within three days you can sell it. On the vine, ripening takes two weeks. And the gassed tomatoes are beautiful. "You can't compete as far as looks and firmness go," Cacho said. Joe Owashi is an old-time Chula Vista tomato farmer. Now 68, he's retired, but still keeps his hand in the business. He shares Cacho's opinion of the gassed tomato, and agrees that consumers often prefer it. "People seem to buy vegetables just for the shape and color and size, not for the taste anymore," he said. "People today eat salad dressing; not the cucumbers and tomatoes." Despite the declining returns in the tomato market, Cacho has not given up on tomatoes altogether. He has been experimenting with bush tomatoes and plans to plant them next winter for the spring crop. Bush varieties require less maintenance because the fruit sits on the ground. They are a little harder to harvest, but Cacho thinks they will be more profitable nonetheless. Cucumbers have always been the real meat of the Cacho operation and they continue to provide the needed profits to keep the family farm in business. This year, they're farming 120 acres of cukes, enough to keep a crew of farmworkers were busy at the assembly line packing and boxing the green vegetables in the Cacho packing room just across the border from the Tijuana airport. Crop diversity seems to be the key to keeping South Bay farmers afloat these days. Cucumbers and celery are two of the crops that give South Bay growers an edge over their competitors in Mexico and other parts of the country. South Bay farmers also have a year-round growing season working in their favor. According to assistant San Diego agricultural commissioner Tom Escher, the temperate climate makes the 60,000 acres of arable land in the county among the best in the country. Cacho, for one, is willing to sit out the unprofitable crops in hopes of a better return on the next one. He's one of the few young farmers in the area and seems to rebound from the crop losses perhaps better than some of the veteran farmers. The next major challenge facing Cacho .may well be finding land to farm. His year-to-year leases are bound to expire when big development on Otay Mesa gets off the ground. But Cacho thinks lie has four or five good years of farming left on the mesa before that happens. And then, if he can't find land in the county, he may well set up new fields on the other side of the border. (The Imperial Beach Star-News, Sept. 4, 1983)

1983/11/17 Workers at L. Cacho & Sons Farm on Otay Mesa roll out the plastic covers for the new cucumber crop. Farmers use the plastic covers on both the cucumbers and tomatoes to simulate greenhouse conditions. (The Imperial Beach Star-News, Nov. 17, 1983)

1884/05/10 Luis Cacho, his two sons and his daughter, founded the Four C's Packing Company at 5998 Siempre Viva Road. (Chula Vista Star-News, May 13, 1984)

1986/01/23 Farming: SB Agriculture May Be on decline. Another possible reason for the disappearance of local orchards, believes Otay Mesa farmer Luis Cacho, is that "when the war came there was more demand for produce than lemons."Today the high cost of that imported water is helping drive farmers out of business. Water costs $503 per acre foot on Otay Mesa, compared to $10 to $15 for farmers in neighboring Imperial Valley, Ghio said, and $75 an acre foot in the Salinas Valley, where well water is still used. "The cost of water is outrageous," said Jim Martin. "The water bills on strawberries (in 1980) was $200 a month, and that's with drip irrigation. These big boys that do big farming, I lell them, 'Give me your water bill and I'll retire.'" Like a yo-yo Farming, said Luis Cacho, is like a yo-yo, up one year and down the next. "I've been broke 200 times, but I've always picked myself up," he said. Cacho said the economics of fanning is based on the hope that if the grower hits one bad year, the next will be better. "Foi five years you barely break even. Then you hit one big year. Now you've got a choice. Give your money to the government (in taxes) or you invest it. "So you expand. You buy land, machinery and a packing shed. The next year is another bad year, but you owe payments." Farmers can lose money even in a break-even market, he said. "If it costs you $3 to pick and pack, and you're in a $3 market. You should break even, but you don't." For example, he said, with tomatoes not all grades of tomatoes will sell at $3 box because the demand may be down, but the farmer can't afford to sell lower grades at lower prices because he'll lose money. "So you throw them away, and that costs money." A grower doesn't know in Advance that the market will be low, yet he may have already paid $1 to pick, $1 to pack and $1 to box them. If a grower ends up throwing half his crop away, "You're still picking the ones you have to throw away so you only average $1.50 a box. "With farming sometimes you're losing money, but the next week the market may go up, so you hang on, but the market doesn't go up. "And when you get into volume with picking seasons, you lose a lot of money in a short period of time rather than over, say, two years." (Next: Profiles of South Bay farmers.) ( Chula Vista Star-News, Jan 23, 1986 )

1986/01/26 SB farmers tell why it's 'tough row to hoe.(This is the second in a series on South Bay farming.) American Gothic ‹ a solemn-faced farmer wearing overalls stands with pitchfork in hand next to his grim-faced wife. In the background is his barn.A picture of South Bay farmers matches in some ways. But it's far from the full story. Following are short profiles of three local farmers: Luis Cacho, K.J. Takashima and Jim Martin. Standing between rows of cabbage, Luis Cacho talked about his early years, working in the lemon groves in Chula Vista with his family. Around him, field workers were pulling weeds on the 140 acres Cacho leases on Otay Mesa. A 10-minute walk away a dog curled up in the shadow of one of the trucks that would take produce from his 4 C's packing plant. Later, as he led the way through the plant and the attached offices, he shook his head at another dog, but made no attempt lo dislodge the black Doberman mix sprawled on the couch. But he has his ornery side. On a drive around the property he made it a point to stop and needle four Border Patrol agents watching for illegal immigrants in the shade of trees on his property. He is not against them stopping illegal immigrants, but he's angry that in the recent past they've chosen to ride their threewheelers and Jeeps across his crops in the heat of the chase. Cacho, 50, has a wide smile in a sun-browned face, and he uses his hands to gesture widely when he speaks. He is bilingual and speaks Spanish to his field workers with the same ease that he discusses the plight of the farmer with an English-speaking reporter. Cacho prizes his ability to communicate with his workers and believes that is the main reason they never unionized. It is a mark of their loyalty to him that they kept up a tradition at their own expense, he feels. Every year on his birthday his family and employees gather for a big party with mariachi singers. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Jan 26, 1986 )

1986/02/02 Technology: new methods change farming ways. Continued from page A-1. Plastic culture started in Chula Vista in 1957, Segawa said. Plastic can be spread over a whole row of vegetables and is a more effective means of protecting crops, thereby increasing the growing season. Segawa said the plastic culture creates a miniature green house. The plant is protected from wind, and a greater amount of soil is warmed during the day, creating a reservoir of heat to maintain higher nighttime temperatures. At the same time, condensation created by the plastic holds water in for longer periods. Ghio said plastic culture "made a change in bringing in the crops in early and increasing the yield. That was a big step in Chula Vista." Machines in the fields Mechanization in the fields increases worker productivity rather than replacing workers, said Ben Segawa, vice-president of Chula Vista-based Agricultural Supply Inc./Agri Mex. Inc., formerly Grove Chemical. But very few growers locally farm enough acres to make it worth their while to use such technology, he said. Cacho Farms on Otay Mesa is one of the few farms where it is profitable, Segawa said. "When we got larger," Luis Cacho said, "we saw the necessity for change. There are 10 and 20 acre farms where they still do everything by hand. "What really helped us was going to shows. We were amazed at what we would sec. "We used to have tractors for cultivating, ditching, spraying and ground preparation. We found out we could get multi-use tractors," The family studied the cost of maintaining a fleet of single-use tractors compared to the multiuse tractors. The new technology won out. And they cut down on the number of companies they dealt with to make getting new parts and service easier. "The overhead came way down." Not everything they tried worked out. Cacho bought a fleet of three-wheelers for irrigation but found the maintenance was too high, so the three wheelers were replaced with small pick-up trucks instead. One of his major innovations has been with a picking machine. On farms where all the labor is done by hand, a Held worker will pick the vegetable, put it in a box in a wheelbarrow and when the boxes are full, trundle it down to the end of the row ‹ a process repeated many times for a single row. Cacho has set up a tractor with conveyor belts that lead to bins. The worker picks the vegetable and puts it on the belt, which conveys it to (he bin. The worker doesn't slop as often or have to push a wheelbarrow up and down the rows: The foreman can supervise how fast the tractor goes down the row. Another change has been to put water into containers atop the moving tractor instead of at the end of a row. The result is that workers don't stop to rest as often, nor do they take time out from picking to walk to the end of the row and back for water. Cacho said, "With the older guys we try to keep them off the (picking) machine and on other jobs." The way he plants has changed loo, Cacho said. Instead of preparing the ground for a crop, planting and harvesting it and then going through each step again for each crop, he plants two or three crops in succession without preparing the ground again. And he now uses his drip irrigation hoses three times before he changes lo new hoses, instead of using them once before throwing them away. High tech isn't always practical. Machines that save time, and therefore money, at harvest time aren't generally practical in the South Bay, said Segawa. Segawa pointed out thai Cacho Farms is large enough and laid out in such a way that the machines are feasible. "But most farms don't have that much acreage," he said. He also pointed out that farms in the South Bay in general don't have the technology to go to crops that are less labor-intensive in cultivation techniques. Tomatoes, once a South Bay specialty crop, are one example. With the advent -of a special harvester, farmers in the Imperial Valley and in Central California now grow tomatoes on the ground rather than on poles. Ground tomatoes, he said, can be harvested all at one time and then ripened with gas. "This has been the competition," Segawa said. "But you must have hundreds and hundreds of acres. We don't have the acres or the topography. "Most of our ground is sloping and hilly, so using machinery is difficult. Very few fields are cut straight for 1,000 feet. Most rows here are cut 200 to 300 feet. And because of the way the ground lies, water wouldn't flow straight for 1,000 feet. After one row. a grower must angle the next furrow." Packing shed Changes in the way crops are harvested have been accompanied by changes in the way they are readied for market. When more larger growers were in the South Bay, (hey often had their own packing and distribution plants. Golden West, owned by Egger and Ghio, packs and ships its own produce, for example. Four Cs packs and distributes its own crops as well as crops grown in Mexico and the U.S. Apples are shipped from Mexico to Utah, and yams, cilantro, mushrooms and pears are shipped imo the interior of Mexico. Four Cs operation has gone far in using mechanization to cutback on the number of workers needed. When vegetables are brought in from the field in bins, they are transferred to a machine that washes them The next step is for workers to pull out vegetables that can't be sold while they move along a conveyor belt. A waxing machine replaces more workers, and another machine sorts the vegetables by size. Workers still do sorting by color when thai is needed. The machine that sorts by size eliminated SOpercent of (he labor used for that job, Cacho said. A last machine weighs the fruit or vegetable as it falls into a box, ready for shipping. Overall, Cacho said, the machines helped him cutback by 30 to 50 percent on labor.(Next: Profiles of field workers.) ( Chula Vista Star-News, Feb 2, 1986 )

1986/02/13 Unions not strong at South Bay farms. It is not true that unions have helped to kill agribusiness in the South Bay, said Art Rodriguez of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). The movement to unionize farm workers began in 1962, Rodriguez said, but it has only been since 1975 that the state's Agricultural Labor Relations Act gave workers the right to secret ballot elections in the fields. For a few months the UFW was very successful, organizing 80 percent of all farm workers where elections were held, Rodriguez said. But in February 1976, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board was defunded because of a strong grower lobby, and that halted the labor movement's momentum. Although the board was refunded 10 months later, workers became skeptical of the UFW's ability to protect their jobs. Rodriguez said that in the South Bay very few contracts were ever written with farmers because they had access to the cheap labor of Mexicans with work permits, or green cards, and undocumented workers. These workers, although they were eligible to join the union, Rodriguez said, did not because of their immigration status. In addition, he said, "The best contracts that were written were only for $4.50 an hour." Growers who cite $7 an hour wages are probably including medical benefits and piece work rates, he said. South Bay growers said they understand the need for the union and do not begrudge workers higher wages and better working conditions. "I'm not against the union," Jim Martin said. "I'm a teamster. If I was making money I wouldn't want to exploit the boys.", Martin's Tijuana River Valley farm was wiped out by flooding in 1980 and subsequent sewage pollution from Mexico. Martin said that with his wife and children working in the field alongside workers, he did not feel that workers could fairly demand higher wages. Luis Cacho, whose farm workers are not unionized, praised Cesar Chavez's UFW. "I think Chavez did a lot of good things. Now we have to have portable bathrooms in the fields, and a lot of us were not careful with insecticides. Now you have to give workers a uniform and gloves. "He made the workers aware they have rights." But like other farmers, Cacho also blames Chavez for going too far. "He told the workers they are the ones who own the farm and make the farmer wealthy, but it is the farmer who makes the investment. Chavez never realized that if you break the farmers, there's no work." ( Chula Vista Star-News, Feb 13, 1986, Page 9 )

1986/02/16 Correction In the Thursday edition of The Star-News it was reported that Luis Cacho, a farmer on Otay Mesa, said he used to sleep in the fields as a farmworker when he was young. The story, titled "Farm workers rights still an issue" was about farm workers problems, including poor housing. In a telephone conversation this week Cacho said he never slept in the fields. ( Chula Vista Star-News, Feb 16, 1986, Page 2 )

1986/02/16 . . . farm land will be available, and eventually it will become such that we will need the production so desperately. "Eventually government will recognize it." Luis Cacho, his daughter and two sons lease 180 acres of land on Otay Mesa where they are trying to diversify their business while they wait for the market to turn around. Although Cacho has been involved in farming for four decades, he had given it up in 1971 to run a family-owned mobile home park in Chula Vista. "This is a good business. Compared to farming it's so much easier," he said. But he returned to farming because his sons and daughter wanted to give it a try. "At 50 years old I wanted to get out, but since none -f the kids went to college I wanted them to have something." To take pressure off the need to make money farming, the family opened a packing and shipping operation, dealing with customers in the U . S . and Mexico. The Four Cs Packing packs and ships apples from Utah to Mexico along with other foodstuffs like yams, cilantro, mushrooms and pears. The company is also trying to start serving a restaurant chain. "We're diversifying a little to take the pressure off farming as the sole source of income. We're trying to survive. I want my kids to stay in business. I just hope things will turn around. We're trying to hang in there. "If we can't, we've had offers in Mexico to manage farms. There's a demand for people with farming experience in Mexico. I would like to stay here. It's close to my home. I like our system, but my sons are young and like the business, and if they want to stay in agriculture, they might have to go to Mexico." Another method of staying afloat that some local farmers might try is branching out to do their own selling. One Tijuana River Valley farmer wonders why some crops cost the consumer four times the price he got. The farmer, who asked not to be named, said he's thinking of . . . ( Chula Vista Star-News, Feb 16, 1986)

1986/03/13 Undocumented hirings bring woes.This is the last in a series on the impact of undocumented aliens in the South Bay. By Ellen B. Holzman. Although it is not illegal to hire undocumented workers, those who employ them can lose substantial time and money in the workplace or find themselves on the wrong end of a court room drama. Three farmers in the Tijuana River Valley said (hey do not hire undocumented workers because they prefer to avoid having their work day disrupted by a Border Patrol raid. They said agents can stop work completely by rounding up both legal and illegal workers and taking them to detention centers to sort them out. The legal workers are then left to find their own way back to the farm, they said. Meanwhile, the farm work is not getting done. Repeated raids by the Border Patrol can become very expensive, they said. Chula Vista Border Patrol spokesman Ed Pyeatt said unless there is a substantial doubt about a man's status, he will* not be taken in during a sweep. The burden of proof is on the Border Patrol, Pyeatt said. Pyeatt said farmers cooperate with sweeps. "We don't have any adversaria] relations in the area If they are employing illegals they have to accept our presence and get used to the fact that we are here." For those accused of hiring undocumented workers, the cost can also be high ‹ in court. It cost Luis Cacho $40,000 to defend himself, his family and two employees against charges of harboring and warning undocumented workers. On Feb. 6, 1985, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) cars surrounded his packing shed, Cacho said. The Border Patrol arrested several undocumented workers hiding in the shed and two others who were in a trailer. Cacho said the two in the trailer had been hired as guards and were allowed to sleep in the trailer during the day, but he said he had never asked whether they were in the country legally. Cache's foremen, who were resident aliens, were arrested and held on $15,000 bail each for shielding and warning illegal aliens. "I put up my house (as collateral on a loan) and got them out." Then Cacho, his two sons and daughter were arrested. All were charged with conspiring to "willfully and knowingly conceal, harbor and shield from detection... aliens. They were accused of using a radio system and scanner 10 monitor Border Patrol com-munications and warn illegal employees of impending ruds. Cacho said all the charges were false. The Immigration and Nationality Act defines the smuggling, harboring, transporting or encouraging of illegal entrants as felonies, punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000 and/or by imprisonment for up to five years for each alien involved. Cacho mortgaged his mobile home park to make bail. On Oct. 30 they made their final appearance before a judge to plea bargain. By then, Cacho said, his farming business was suffering because of the emotional trauma of the trial process. All charges were dropped against Cacho, his daughter and his foremen. His sons pleaded guilty to misdemeanors because they could not afford to keep fighting, he said. Cacho believes he was singled out by the Border Patrol for harassment because he objected to agents abusing illegal workers and to agents driving jeeps across his crops when in pursuit of illegal workers. "I've worked with illegals all my life. I've seen Border Patrol agents push 40 of them into a van. beating them and grabbing the women. "It's the INS' job to pick them up and we (farmers) understand. and if you see abuses you can turn the other way because of retaliation." Beginning in the late 1960s, Cacho said, he made complaints to the INS about abases against illegal aliens. Once he went to an attorney who asked him, "Who in hell do you think you're fighting with, your next door neighbor?" Cacho said, " I have been an honest person all my life. I never felt I broke the law, so when I complained I felt I had a right to complain." Pyeatt denied that agents harass or abuse illegal immigrants. Cacho said Border Patrol agents unfairly discriminated against him by raiding his farm, but leaving other area farmers alone. " I noticed they would hit our ranch and not the one next door. workers c The rancher next door would be warned by the INS in advance that they were coming to check. I complained that tficy were discriminating;" Pyeatt responded, "We don't tingle people out because they make noise. We single people out who are breaking the law." Cacho complained that while his family was harassed for harboring undocumented workers. the INS warned owners and trainers at Del Mar Race Track of a planned raid. The INS later issued work permits to the undocumented workers because legal workers either did not have the experience for the jobs or would not accept the low pay. Pyeatt said that situation was an extraordinary case because of the race track's distance from the Border Patrol station and the size of force necessary to conduct a sweep there. The raid would have forced the patrol to shutdown the line watch along the border, he said. " We had hoped they would clean up their act, but they didn't, so we had to go in on a sweep," Pyeatt said. Although employers at the trick were not told specifically when a raid would take place, the Border Patrol had to take out a warrant in order to enter the facility. Such a warrant is not needed to make a sweep of open farm land. Pyeatt said the INS wanted race track employers to apply for permits for the workers, which they did after the raid. Local farmers are different because the Border Patrol can use agents already in the area for a sweep, Pyeatt said, " But, he (Cacho) is no different than the farmer next to him. It is not our policy to treat anyone any differently." Cacho leased land abutting the border and said one agent told him thai other agents were angry because it was a spot where they prefer to watch for illegals and catch them. Cacho said agents would drive at "50 miles an hour" through his cabbage crops, When he complained, it did no good and "they would start raiding us every other day. It was like a little war started. We'd be the only people ihey, would hit. Cacho said he and a representative from Western Growers met with INS supervisors and most major problems abated. Then the February incident occurred. "Whether we were singled out, whether they wanted to teach us a lesson for talking back to them, to this day I don't know. "I'm bitter. I do want to get back at them. What I went through should be exposed." Pyeatt said any reports Cacho made of abuses would be investigated. " We don't condone the destruction of private property by our agents. "The man is upset because he was prosecuted. He is not the only one who has been prosecuted from that area. We hit fields regularly. Neighbors of his have been prosecuted." Cacho said he is continuing to pursue the issue of discrimination against him personally by trying to get an appointment with INS officials to protest his treatment. "I am not going to stop until I get back at these people for what they did." ( Chula Vista Star-News, Mar 13, 1986 )

1987/06/28 Farm owners say amnesty works hardships. Vegetable farm owners just this side of the Mexican border signed up undocumented Mexican aliens for amnesty under the new immigration law yesterday but argued the workers face unfair hardships in application processing. Owners and employees of L. Cacho & Sons, a 150-acre farm in Otay Mesa 500 yards north of the border, were assisted by San Diego Catholic Community Services representatives in compiling the complicated applications for permission to work in the United States. ( The San Diego Union, June 28, 1987 )

1991/01/13 Name: Antonio Cacho. Gender: Male; Birth Date: 7 May 1904; Birth Place: Mexico; Death Date: 13 Jan 1991; Death Place: San Diego; Mother's Maiden Name: Castillo ( California, Death Index, ancestry.com )

2017 Otay Mesa Produce & Cold Storage, 8578 Avenida Costa Blanca, San Diego, California 92154. OTAY MESA PRODUCE & COLD STORAGE, a professional produce distributor, is owned and operated by the Cacho family. Charlie and Elva Cacho, both coming from farming backgrounds, have been involved in the produce industry for over 40 years. In 1996, along with a new generation of family members, Otay Mesa Repackers & Distributors, Inc. was created with a focus on COLD STORAGE, BUYING SHIPPING CONSOLIDATION AND PACKING of fresh fruits and vegetables. OTAY MESA PRODUCE & COLD STORAGE are tomato suppliers as well as distributors of other fruit and veggies, and they also offer refrigerated warehousing services for your produce needs.For your convenience, you can contact Charlie Cacho at (520)-980-1211 or via e-mail at ccacho@otaymesaproduce.com Jacob Cacho, Buyer / Sales Operations Manager jacob@otaymesaproduce.com/ San Diego California cell (619) 247-5705 Elva Cacho, President ecacho@otaymesaproduce.com General Information: Charlie Cacho (520) 980-1211 ccacho@otaymesaproduce.com ( http://www.otaymesaproduce.com )


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