Last week, several members of the Black Gold Farms team attended the Produce Marketing Association’s biggest event, Fresh Summit in New Orleans, LA. This show packs in all of the newest innovations in marketing, distribution, sustainability, food safety, and all other factors that help us as an industry grow, harvest, sell, distribute and encourage consumers to eat more and more fresh produce – consistently, safely and enjoyably.
Small Fish, Big Sea
We have been attending this event for a few years – we have walked around, looked at displays, studied new products and packaging, we’ve learned from experts in the industry, and most importantly met amazing people. We have been a pretty small fish in a huge produce sea just trying to find our way. However, we’ve taken the time to keep our eyes and ears open to learn what the industry is doing, discover what it needs, and how we can help fill some of those gaps with our skills, goals, values and passions. We’re gaining ground, and the possibilities are really endless to what we are able to do.
We Can Contribute
The highlight of this event for us as a company, was that we were nominated for an Impact Award. We were up against some amazing, innovate, “big brand” products and companies that have been in the produce business for years. While we didn’t win, it has given us that added energy to keep working, keep innovating, and keep finding those solutions that will help increase overall produce consumption – specifically – red potato consumption.
Now that we’re back at the office or back on the farm – we reflect not only about what we can do as an industry, or as Black Gold Farms as an organization, but what can each of our locations can do, and what is each member of our team capable of to make sure we continually grown and advance the organization and in turn, the produce industry. Every person matters – Every step counts.
What We Do
Even if what we do, and how we contribute to the industry isn’t as sexy as what consumers see on TV commercials or what they see at the grocery store every day – we do what we can on a daily basis not just to do more, but to do better. This is what we’re doing this week to contribute:
Pearsall, TX – It’s hard to believe, but the seed shed is getting ready to receive seed and they are working ground to get ready for planting which will begin in January.
Live Oak, FL – Soybean harvest started in Florida this week! They are also in the shop painting conveyors, getting tractors in and will start bedding potato ground.
Hawkinsville, GA – Peanut harvest is complete! Now they will focus on grain sorghum harvest which will start up in a couple of weeks. In the mean time, they will work peanut ground for the 2014 potato crop.
Arbyrd, MO – Bedding potato ground, getting ready for soybean harvest, and waiting for the last of the corn crop to dry down is keeping the crew in Arbyrd busy. Last week, they also completed sweet potato harvest!
Columbia, NC – They are helping out neighbors with soybean harvest as well as putting down lime onto some wheat and potato ground. In they shop there is work being done on planters to get ready for the 2014 season.
Charleston, MO – With just a few more acres to dig, the sweet potato crop is doing great in the new storage facility. They are also doing a lot of prep work for the 2014 season such as cleaning equipment and starting to bed potato ground.
Oak Grove, LA - Sweet potato harvest is moving along. They should finish up this week i Louisiana.
Rhodesdale, MD – In the field, they are planting wheat and working ground, while in the shop they are cleaning equipment. The team in Rhodesdale is also working on their Giving Back program, which should be a huge success.
Sturgis, MI – CHIP HARVEST IS COMPLETE! Another successful season is in the books in Sturgis! They have a few more fingerlings to harvest, but everyone has done an amazing job this year – Congrats to all!
Winamac, IN – There are still a few acres of chip potatoes in Winamac, but harvest should be wrapped up within a week.
Red River Valley - It has been a wet and long harvest season for the crew in North Dakota. Hopefully they’ll be able to get the last few red and chip seed acres dug before the real frost sets in. If we have good weather, harvest should be complete by the weekend. Fingers crossed!
Grand Forks Office - With 2013 wrapping up, and 2014 planning going on, the crew at the office is visiting with customers reviewing this season and planning for next season. Researching, planning, and doing everything else we can to find ways to improve, be more innovative, more sustainable, and more efficient is on high priority.
It’s all Farming
There is a perception that farming is what happens at harvest, and that getting food to the table is what happens in the stores. We would argue that farming, which is what we do – includes not only happens in the field and in the shop – but it also what happens at the office, in board rooms, on conference calls, and even at big trade shows and even fancy meetings.
Every step counts. From the farm to the store. Regardless if you call it farming or not, we’re honored to be a part of so many steps to get food to consumers. We are a part of it by understanding and supporting what the industry is doing, we are a part of it by farming in areas and growing crops that make sense, we make sure our team understands that individually, they are each a part of the entire process. We’re a part of it in so many ways, and we have to understand and respect – that every step counts.