Porfirio Covarrubias - Covarrubias Orchards
Red Delicious, Golden Delicious
Meet Porfirio Covarrubias - an orchardist who has truly worked his way up from the bottom. Porfirio was born and raised in the small Mexican village of Jechitlin. When he was just 15 years old, Porfirio and his older brother went to California with their father to pick limes, strawberries and grapes.
Porfirio’s first trip to Washington was in 1971 - his siblings and cousins worked together to thin apples in Dryden. During his time in Dryden, Porfirio met his wife, Linda, in the orchards. Porfirio and Linda worked in construction in California for a while after they married. Porfirio said, “It wasn’t home.” They then moved to Guadalajara, Mexico in 1986 to work in his brother’s shoe business, but once again, it didn’t feel like home. “Between my sons, wife and I, we made a good team. We always had the family together. Those were some good memories,” Porfirio said, remembering how much he loved working in the orchards with his wife and kids. The family eventually moved back to the Wenatchee Valley.
In 1989, Porfirio took a big step - buying the first acres of his orchard on a loan. Despite the financial risk, Porfirio was confident. “If you set your mind on something and don’t mind a little work,” says Porfirio, “you can achieve big things.”
Porfirio started with five acres of pears and 25 acres of Golden and Red Delicious apples. Eventually, Tom Mathison, previous owner of Stemilt Growers, talked Porfirio into planting Rainier cherries. Although Porfirio had no experience with this fruit, Tom assured him that with some hard work, he’d be able to make it. With this advice, Porfirio pulled out two acres of Reds to plant Rainier Cherries 12 years ago. This proved to be successful and now he has planted 4 more acres of Rainiers. Porfirio is still working with Stemilt and has won two awards for Rainier Cherry Grower of the Year and two for the Golden Delicious Grower of the Year.
Now, the Covarrubias family has a beautiful home on the riverfront on Orondo, a small animal farm, and 30 acres of orchard, most of which they do all of the work themselves. Even though running his farm is hard work, Porfirio considers his orcharding a pastime. He said, “It’s a hobby and sometimes it pays. If I can see trees grow well and produce good fruit, that’s enough pay off for me!”