John’s experiences with the company started long before he came to work for Gar Tootelian, Inc (GAR). Before joining the team, John worked as a farm manager at Reedley College for 17 years where he was a customer of Gar’s; John Martzen served as his PCA during this time. Gar took John out for lunch one day; paperwork was signed in Linda’s office shortly afterward and the rest was history. Now, John can be found doing his daily routine. Early mornings consist of being out in the field, taking samples and doing busy work, while afternoons and evenings often mean sitting down to write recommendations. He has a set schedule with his growers during the week, broken down into five areas geographically. On Saturdays, he meets with growers who typically have other jobs during the week. John primarily focuses on stone fruit, table grapes and citrus.
John has always been rooted in agriculture. As a fourth-generation farmer, he grew up in Clarksburg, Calif. on the Delta where his family grew asparagus, vegetables and other various row crops. John began earning social security at the age of 14, working on the ranch, a pear packing shed and for a local hay farmer. He attended Delta High School, Junior College where he earned his AS degree in ag science, Cal Poly for a year where he was a farm management major, and finally graduated from Fresno State as a double major in plant science and ag economics. During his junior year at Fresno State, John worked for AMVAC where a salesman encouraged him to get his PCA license—this was fairly new to the state at the time. John decided to take the advice and came out of college in 1975 with his PCA license in hand. He continued to work for AMVAC after graduating and later on worked for a small family operation in Hanford, Turner Feed Mill. After some time here, John went on to work at Reedley College where his journey with GAR would begin. In 1990, John was selected for Class 19 of the California Agricultural Leadership program. As part of this premier program, he traveled internationally to India, Pakistan, Singapore and Indonesia.
Though we primarily know John as a PCA, his greatest passion is fly fishing. In the fall, he travels to other states and prime fishing locations to enjoy his favorite pastime as a fly fisherman. Name any well-known fly fishing location and he has probably traveled there. For the last six years, John has been working on building a half size, Shay steam locomotive. The train is a replica of an antique that was built in 1984. When not fishing or building, John is enjoying time with his wife, Carol, who he just celebrated 43 years of marriage with. He also has two children—his daughter, Amanda, is a winemaker in Paso Robles and his son, Jared, will be starting the physician assistant program at UC Davis.
John looks forward to the future of the company since the merger took place.
“The merger is opening new doors and possibilities for our growers that weren’t easily attainable before. It allows for an expansion of services, like irrigation scheduling, that I can offer my growers while continuing to do my job.”