TDN Weekend

February 2019

TDN Weekend December 2016 Issue 9

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white—in Delano, Kern County, just a short hop north of Bakersfield, where the Joad family of Steinbeck's classic made a stop during their odyssey west away from the Okie Dust Bowl. The Hronis ranch, found- ed in 1945 and now 8,000 acres in total, is hemmed in on all sides by great geo- metric blocks of leafy citrus trees and, at this unseasonal time of year, the brown- ing vines of the business mainstay: table grapes. Some 2,000 people are employed by an operation that has flourished these past few decades. When Kosta and Pete took over the business reins from their fa- ther in 1991, they shipped 300,000 boxes of grapes a year. "Today, this company's doing around nine million packages a year," he said. "We grew up hard workers, and we learned a lot from dad and mom, how things were supposed to be done. I think it was that foundation that made us the success we are today." Certain precepts—like hard-graft and loyalty—burrow deep through the Hronis narrative. But just as Steinbeck wondered how we can "live without our lives—how will we know it's us without our past?" family is very much at the center of grav- ity. Indeed, after Pete popped his head briefly around the door of a boardroom to offer a cheery welcome before disappear- ing back to work, Kosta opened a window

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