Announcements

Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




How Amish and Mennonite growers supply their produce

Even with all of the modern conveniences available to growers these days, one can appreciate the old-fashioned types of methods long-time growers have used.

At Four Seasons Produce in Lancaster County, PA., what’s old is still new for some of its suppliers. Four Seasons is in fact located near Ephrata, a region of Pennsylvania that still has a good-sized Amish and Mennonite population. “Due to their religious beliefs of simplicity and non-worldliness they farm and live without many modern conveniences and instead use horses or mules, and in some sects Steel-wheel tractors,” says Jonathan Steffy of Four Seasons.



So Four Seasons has several dozen Amish and Mennonite growers who grow seasonal fruits and vegetables for it—including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, sweet corn, cantaloupes, watermelon and pumpkins. And while five or six growers are close enough to deliver directly to Four Seasons’ warehouse in wagons and horse, the rest, the company arranges to pick up from on fleet. “It’s not a huge percentage of our supply over the course of the year, but it’s an important one,” says Steffy. “It’s a symbolic one that ties us to the community and our rich agricultural roots in Lancaster County.”

The growers working with Four Seasons must all be Good Agricultural Practises (GAP) certified and so sometimes Four Seasons drives its Amish growers to Penn State Agriculture Extension Food Safety meetings early in the year.



Managing communication
With no use of electronics, communication can be tricky. “Our busy buyers must arrange a common time to chat each week about volume, quality and pricing with our Amish growers who don’t use cell phones or email,” Steffy says. “Instead of scheduling a receiving appointment, we just tell them to bring their products over during the late morning and we’ll bring a high-lift down the ramp to unload their wagons as quickly as we reasonably can. We invest time setting packing, packaging, spec and price range expectations with them before the season starts since the daily real-time is challenging.”

In turn, Four Seasons takes that produce and then distributes it throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic U.S. “So perhaps those pumpkins from Amish country will be sold at a retailer in Washington DC or New York City,” Steffy adds.

For more information:
Jonathan Steffy
Four Seasons Produce
Tel: +1- 717-721-2800
jonathan@fsproduce.com
www.fsproduce.com


Publication date: 10/4/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

7/20/2018 Indian growers get acquainted with hydroponics
7/20/2018 Where does my family actually work?
7/20/2018 Malaysia: Grower turns two pots into strawberry farm
7/20/2018 CAN (ON): Taking peppers to the next level
7/19/2018 "No more constant deliberation about screens provides peace of mind"
7/18/2018 UAE minister visits Certhon Innovation Centre
7/18/2018 MacAulay concludes first part of 'Growing Canadian Agriculture' Tour
7/18/2018 US: Over $1 million awarded in academic scholarship program
7/17/2018 Japanese 'tourist farms' attracting foreign visitors
7/17/2018 Canadian peppers take home innovation awards
7/16/2018 Applications open for Nuffield International Farming Scholarships
7/16/2018 "Ensuring quality of a 42-acre greenhouse involves some pretty long days"
7/16/2018 US (CA): Southeast Asian farmers on trend with new ‘superfood’
7/13/2018 Security camera reveals Montreal tomato thief
7/13/2018 US (CO): Grand Valley businesses conserve water any way they can
7/13/2018 UK: Soft fruit business launched as LEAF Demonstration Farm
7/12/2018 "You’re never too young to make a difference"
7/12/2018 Canada: BDC Capital invests in Lufa Farms
7/11/2018 Rain affects Mexican hot pepper supplies
7/11/2018 CAN (ON): Ken Forth to receive honorary degree at University of Guelph