Side Delights® Celebrates Next Generation of Farmers
- by Lilian Diep
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Shopper trends continue to be a vital source of information, as more of us within the fresh produce industry turn to this data to better understand what captures sales. Side Delights® and its network of family-owned farms, is taking this to heart, especially the movement of consumers looking for locally-grown produce.
“Given our attachment to the farms, ‘Grown Where it Matters’ is more than a marketing mantra. It embodies the core value of growing Side Delights potatoes, and who grows it is just as important. All of our potatoes are grown by our select group of family-owned growers and shippers who choose to work together to make the potato industry better for everyone,” noted Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network. “We work within our network of farmers, and with their families, to drive profitable category growth for our customers, brand awareness, and shopper excitement, while providing the highest quality, best-tasting potato products possible for consumers.”
According to a press release, Side Delights potatoes are exclusively sourced from the Fresh Solutions Network of independent, family-owned farms that grow, pack, sell, and deliver fresh potatoes across the U.S. and Canada. Collectively, these farms represent 17 generations of farming wisdom.
Some of this farming wisdom extends back centuries, as evidenced in the farming family of Sterman Masser, an eighth generation Pennsylvania farming family.
“Our ninth generation is already involved in the farm through our summer intern program. We are thrilled to have more sales and marketing talent coming up through the ranks,” remarked Dave Masser, President, Sterman Masser Farms.
The next generation of farmers can be found at an operation in Ohio, as well.
“We are currently integrating our fourth generation into the operation with the fifth generation in preschool,” said Kathy Michael Sponheim, Co-Owner of Michael Family Farms.
In Idaho, this dedication continues, with Jill Cox, Vice President of Sales at Sun-Glo Of Idaho, chimed in.
“We are fourth-generation farmers, and the fifth generation in our family is now involved in our operation across all disciplines of operations, sales, marketing, and seed,” commented Cox. “We encourage the next generation to get an education before coming back to the farm, so they have something to add to the business if they want to continue working on the family farm. We are very excited about the next generation; they are very eager to learn and contribute.”
Another operation dedicated to the next generation of farmers is NoKota Packers in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. The company has been growing potatoes for 40 years and is also expanding the family business.
“A couple of our growers have recently begun farming with their next-generation (third, fourth, and fifth generations),” noted Carissa Olsen, President and Chief Executive Officer of NoKota Packers.
In addition to all of these voices, Chandler Mack, Vice President of Mack Farms, can attest to the importance of pursuing ag education.
“It is still too early to know for sure, but my son drives a tractor like a race car driver!” he said, proudly describing the possibility of bringing his children into the business as third generation farmers. “Not bad for a six year old!”
Molly Connors, Sales Manager, of Basin Gold Co-Op in Pasco, Washington, also commented.
“Basin Gold is family-owned, and so are all of our member operations,” Connors said. “We are all multi-generational family companies, and we actively encourage the next generation(s) to take an interest in farming.”
As locally grown products continue to drive sales, AndNowUKnow will be here to report on how our industry is supporting this shopper drive.