Tim Youmans Launches Root 24 Farms Organic Blueberry Program and Variety-Driven Strategies
- by Jordan Okumura
YAKIMA VALLEY, WA - No shopping basket should ever be without a package of blueberries. I deeply believe this as a berry lover, an advocate for all things produce, and a trade news writer who finds a passionate cause in the little blue burst of flavor that comes from the lucrative category. I also genuinely believe that for retailers, the right partner makes all the difference. Root 24 Farms has a vision and an unwavering dedication to healthy organic food and farming, which only adds value to the delicious berry’s potential and its partnerships. This year, the company is launching a new organic blueberry program to meet the rising demand in the category.
“People can’t get enough of blueberries, especially organic blueberries, in every form. As we’ve all seen, consumer demand for organic food continues to grow, especially for fresh produce. Our ability and willingness to provide tailored programs for customers helps us elevate our value and that of our partners as well,” Tim Youmans, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, shares with me. “We only grow varieties that meet our strict criteria for flavor and quality. Our growing geography is unique, and we have matched varieties with ideal consumer flavor attributes to the land we grow on and to our organic farming system. We have tried to view varietal selection holistically and always with a focus on a true blueberry flavor experience that drives consumer consumption.”
Those berries come from the passion of family farmers who have lived and farmed in Washington’s Yakima Valley for generations, and truly love the land and what it provides. Protecting the land is as essential as farming it, and that’s demonstrated in every aspect of what the team does. Root 24 Farm's goal comes in increasing the availability of organic food and farmland under organic management.
“We have 650 acres of certified organic farmland in Central Washington State, and many more acres in transition to organic. Our name comes from the fact that we’re deeply rooted in the land and that our two growing regions—Moxee and Othello—are each at opposite ends of Route 24, which traverses the heart of Washington—crossing the Columbia River to link our two farms,” Tim says, painting a picture for the retailer. You can connect with Tim here and check out the company’s new website which is still under construction—all while taking a virtual trip to Yakima from the comfort of your home office if you want to hear the man himself dish on the category’s appeal and the new company’s vision.
People are more interested than ever in understanding how organic farming practices nurture a healthy ecosystem and protect precious natural resources. What’s unique about Root 24 Farms is that the company is vertically integrated—it is the farmer, the packer, and also the marketer.
“We know we’re the new kid on the block, so we’re working extra hard to be accommodating and flexible for customers in a way that some of the big marketers can’t,” Tim adds. “I am currently hosting virtual one-on-one meetings to walk retailers through the advantages of partnering with our program.”
Root 24 Farms looks at its crop holistically as well, offering not only fresh organic blueberries, but also frozen, dried, powdered, and eventually, the team will provide juice as well. Root 24 Farms has a strict and gentle sorting process that lets the operation direct the fruit that’s ideal for each category to that use. With a harvest window from mid-June through early August, the company will have fresh blueberries during that window, as well as frozen, dried, and powdered all year long.
“Not only that, but we are also taking extraordinary measures to protect product quality, even in the heat of the mid-summer harvest season. And, our extraordinary quality berries come both from our precision growing practices as well as our extreme attention to protecting quality and ensuring every berry lives up to the promise,” Tim expresses.
Blueberries make the eyes brighten and the taste buds tingle, two reasons of many that Root 24 Farms is a program to get behind.