Nels Timmothy Rogers

"I may be a small farmer, but I have the strength and passion to grow my medjool dates. I may be a small farmer and not have a ton of money to advertise like the big companies, but I have the best looking and quality of Medjool dates in the industry. I may be a small farmer, but I have my own packing house and my own box."

Name: Nels Timmothy Rogers

AGE: 65

HOME TOWN: Yuma, Arizona

Currently Lives: Yuma, Arizona on the family farm.

FARM NAME & LOCATION: Marthas Gardens Medjool Date Farm located in Yuma, Arizona


FAVORITES: • Music: Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac . Rolling Stones • Food: Mexican Ribeye Steaks Ice Cream & anything my mom cooks • Drinks: Coca Cola , Sweet Tea, and a Marhas Gardens Date Shake • Blue Jeans: Wranglers • Thing to do AFTER work: Farming and more farming its a 24 hour job! I don't sleep.. • Mantra: Family. His passion and caring nature also follows thru even to his farm workers. He hires many families to work together on his farm. He strives extremely hard to produce the best quality Medjool date in the industry in order to ensure Martha (Wife) is sanctified in the vision he has set forth for his idea of his dream with a family working together.

What's your relationship status? 

Married

Do you have children? Do they work on the farm with you?

Yes, my oldest son Jason (45) works with me on the farm. I have 2 younger school aged boys who live on the farm with me. Nels who is (16) years old and Dylan who is (11). I have two older daughters Heather (44) who is a stay at home mom in San Diego, CA. and another Kristin who is (39) and lives in Wisconsin.

Attitude about money?

Money is to spend and enjoy. Money is to work hard for and earn it. Money should not control who you are. Money should be used to help others.

Money is to spend and enjoy. Money is to work hard for and earn it. Money should not control who you are. Money should be used to help others.

How did you get into farming?

In 1988, I met a small date farmer in Bard, California and I was selling a piece of land to him, (I also sell real estate) and I had asked him how he was going to pay for the land and he stated to me he was going to buy it from the production of his last years crop of selling Medjool Dates. He stated to me he had made over $200,000 and was going to pay for the land with this monies. At this time I negotiatied over 300 off shoots from him and planted them on my grandfathers farm which I created a nursery on my uncles family farm here in Yuma, Arizona. It was where my mom was born. This is when the idea of me becoming a date farmer.

How many acres is farm?

We are at 130 acres with about 8000 palms.

Hardest part about getting started?

Patience for waiting the 10 years before the date palm goes into full production.

Biggest challenge of being date farming?

Labor, Competition and being able to thrive as a Independent Family Owned Farm. Marketing our product outside of other Medjool Date Associations. Being able to stay independent, Have our own label. Being able to sell independently and being able to stay in business to own our label, pack our label and ship our label.

What surprises you about farming?

Amount of hand label to grow the "Medjool" date. It's a hand labor job. We touch one tree approxiametly 20 times a year.

What makes you HAPPY about the farm?

Being known for growing the highest grade "Jumbo" Medjool date. Watching my oldest son Jason as he is giving a farm tour and hearing the passion he has for all the hard work everyone does to ensure we are the best Medjool Date Farm in Yuma. And then listening to the visitors when the tour is finished about how much they enjoyed the tour.

What makes you SAD?

Bad weather, rain during harvest, not being able to fix something that's wrong. When its outta my hands I just pray and hope God takes care of it for me...

What FRUSTATES you?

People who don't give 100 %,

Lessons learned?

Too many tough lessons learned to list. One important lesson learned is wrong decision could cost you dearly. I need to listen to my wife Martha more, cause she is usually right. What might work for someone doesn't necessarily work for you.

Misconception about farmers or farming?

Date Farmers make a lot of Money On Their Crop Always!!! Buyers think you have a lot room to negotiate when our margins are a lot tighter than they think.

Any advice to other date farmers?

Have lots of patience, pray often, and make sure you have your wives support and be ready to work your ass off.

What concerns u most about the family farm?

Our future and the future of my grandchildren and hoping my family will carry on the business when I am not here. Being able to stay independent and market our high standards of date in our own box. Martha's Gardens.

What is your dream for the family farm?

To be able to sanctify my vision and get my family product into the consumers hands. I believe once a consumer sees my product, they will know there is no comparison to the other Medjool Dates in the industry. My ultimate dream is to have a large national chain chose Martha's Gardens to sustain their Medjool Date business for their customers.

What dreams do you have about the family farm for future?

For my legacy to continue and grow.

For my legacy to continue and grow.

What dreams to you have for the family farm for now?

To market my product in a large Respectable National Chain.

Any other important things u want to advertise or get out to other farmers and audience about Martha's Gardens?

I may be a small farmer, but I have the strength and passion to grow my medjool dates. I may be a small farmer and not have a ton of money to advertise like the big companies, but I have the best looking and quality of Medjool dates in the industry. I may be a small farmer, but I have my own packing house and my own box, Martha's Gardens. I may be a small farmer, but when you buy Martha's Gardens, you are buying a product which values family and the working family. I may be a small farmer, but my product is very big to me and those who purchase my superior product.