Calverts selflessly serve community, offer youth agricultural career experience
For years, Chris and Pat Calvert have supported Winters from behind the scenes, giving its youth hands-on learning opportunities, and — of course — want zero recognition for any of it. However, the Calverts have done far too much for Winters to not be recognized and they were nominated by community members and selected as 2022 Citizens of the Year.
Although they’re owners and operators of their business Ciarlo Fruit and Nuts, the Calverts are also avid volunteers in Winters. From helping facilitate countless town events like the Earthquake festival and Youth Day to employing high school students and teaching them valuable life skills, their resume of helpfulness is well deserving of the Citizens of the Year accolade.
“I’m just honored and humbled,” said Pat when asked about how it felt to receive the award.
Chris said he was happy when Joe Martinez, a friend and past citizen of the year, called to tell them they had been chosen for this award.
Beyond the volunteering efforts, they both spend a lot of time with the youngsters from Winters they bring on to work at Ciarlo Fruit and Nuts. Whether they’re from WHS or Wolfskill, teens are immersed in an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of food processing, dealing with the public at farmer’s markets and developing some good old-fashioned work ethic to bring with them into the next phase of life.
“I’ve had a great time with this and used to teach food preparation in high school. I miss teaching high school kids and want them to have an enjoyable experience here,” said Pat. “It’s very rewarding watching them learn and grow. And it’s not just making the product, they also work my stand at the Woodland Farmers Market. Watching them interact with the public and grow their confidence to be able to answer questions and talk about the products has been great. So, I’m hoping I’m giving them some math skills, food prep skills and helping develop their confidence/people skills so that they go on to the next job and have more than just cooking skills to take with them. I’m just grateful and honored that I get to work with young people still.”
The Calverts are also huge advocates for the Winters FFA chapter. In fact, Chris and Pat were instrumental in aiding the Winters FFA students in processing and bottling their olive oil. With the Calverts’ help, the olive oil was submitted to the California State Fair and won gold in the 2022 Cortina Olive Oil competition. A feat that is rather unheard of for first-time entrants.
“There’s a boatload of people out there in Winters who do more behind-the-scenes stuff than we do (and) who don’t get recognized,” said Chris who gave credit to Winters High School agricultural educators Kayla Mederos and Donnie Whitworth. “At the end of the day, Winters is just a good town. It’s had a tough time with COVID, but the town’s doing better and people are going back to work. I just hope that more, young people start to volunteer and take over some of the events in town because a lot of the folks running them are getting too old.”
Although the Calverts did not grow up in Winters, the town has enjoyed the fruits of their labor. With any luck, community members will learn from their example and opt to volunteer so the events that make Winters, Winters can continue.
The Calverts will formally be honored, alongside fellow honoree Jesse Loren, as the 2022 Citizens of the Year recipient at the annual Toast to Winters event, planned for Friday, March 31 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Sacramento–Winters. Learn more on the Winters District Chamber of Commerce’s website www.winterschamber.com.