100-year-old researcher still working in the fields in Belle Glade

There's a good chance the next time you have a salad, the lettuce will have come from the Glades.

One of the researchers who helped make it a major crop there is still out in the fields and still working at a ripe young age of 100. 

Victor Guzman's been growing lettuce so long in the Glades he's known as the "Lettuce King."
 
"I've been here since 1952, came here never moved, I love this place," said Guzman.
 
Soil problems, bug problems, weather problems, they are issues he's been taking on at the University of Florida's Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade.
 
And 62 years later, he's still out in the fields conducting research. He turned 100 two months ago, and this professor emeritus still has pep in his step.
 
"It's wonderful here, I'm my own boss now, I do whatever I need to do, and I help out fellow farmers," said Guzman.
 
Over the years Guzman has picked, studied, and researched several types of vegetables including lettuce, celery, and beans.
 
"This area produces a tremendous amount of vegetables here in the winter, so we have a special place, the farmers, land, and climate we have, we produce so much vegetables," said Guzman.
 
His colleagues credit him with figuring out the best way to grow lettuce near Lake Okeechobee.
 
"He works every day, usually 6 days a week, here in the office and in the field," said Gregg Nuessly.
 
Nuessly is the interim director of UF's research center in Belle Glade. He says the lettuce production has grown from next to nothing 60 years ago to about 300 million pounds a year in the Glades because of Guzman's hard work.
 
"Dr. Guzman is a wonderful resource for information in the area, not just agriculture, but culturally and socially," said Nuessly.

Comments