Freshway Farms, a subsidiary company of Main Street Produce, farms its own food in the rich Santa Maria Valley of California. The corporation began 2021 with some significant news in its strawberry division.
“We are a people- and customer-centric corporation, and we thought that extending our strawberry acreage was the best way we could support our staff and customers,” said Roger Privett III, sales and business development manager for the Santa Maria, CA-based company.
Main Street Produce has opted to bring on some new clients while also extending its present customer base this year to accommodate this enlarged land.
“We’re working hard to ensure that our customers’ demands, not the other way around, drive our expanded output,” Privett added.
Three things, he said, distinguish Main Street and Freshway Farms: the people, the quality of service, and the structure.
“Our workers are our family,” Privett said, adding that the Allen family has spent a lifetime supporting and growing the company’s culture. “This culture, or the ‘Main Street Way,’ enables us to be a high-quality organization.” Not just the quality of our strawberries, but also the quality of our employees.”
In addition, he defined the company as one that prioritizes service for both consumers and the community.
“The third component is Main Street Produce and Freshway Farms’ vertical integration,” Privett added. “We manage and handle every step of the process, from the farm to our cooling facility, and everything in between, and that is the Main Street distinction.”
Naturally, the epidemic has compelled the firm to continue to innovate and improve.
“In the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic, the globe and our industry have had to make severe adjustments,” Privett remarked. “The most significant change has been the greater flexibility required to remain on top of new and evolving employee safety rules. We want to continue using many of these new techniques in the future. Our store partners have witnessed an increase in sales. The epidemic has given us the opportunity to look at our firm as a whole and identify where we can improve.”
Still, he feels the most difficult task today, and in the coming years, will be to strike a balance between the farmers’ cost of production and the retail price.
“Labor expenses have grown significantly for both farmers and merchants over the previous five years,” Privett added. “Many of these expenditures have been absorbed by increasing efficiency. We must discover new ways to market at greater pricing in order to keep the sector afloat. It’s critical for us to work with merchants that understand what we’re going through to overcome these obstacles.”
The roots of Main Street may be found in farming, cooling, sales, and marketing in the Santa Maria Valley.
“With just five acres of strawberries and the support of his three young boys, Alton Allen began farming in Santa Maria Valley in 1976,” Privett stated. “Alton built the company by delivering a high-quality product and developing a reputation for unwavering honesty.”
Today, the one-pound strawberry clamshell is by far the most popular item, with around 90% of consumers requesting it, however, the two-pound strawberry clamshell is gaining favor among merchants.
“Trust and a little give and take” are the keys to successful collaborations, according to Privett. “Neither side can feel like they’re gaining an advantage over the other.” When one party benefits, the relationship as a whole benefit. We will see an increase in pleasant consumer encounters and sales when collaborations are mutually beneficial.”
Working in Santa Maria has been perfect for the firm because of its particular environment, which makes it ideal for agriculture.
“Because of its capacity to support the farm business, Santa Maria has become a powerful produce town,” Privett added. “Agriculture is the foundation of Santa Maria, and the city takes great satisfaction in feeding the country now and in the future.”
Main Street Produce has finished the construction of a 1,631-panel solar project that will produce 0.605 megawatts of power and have a 30-year estimated life duration. The energy generated will cover around 35% of the 32,000-square-foot cooling facility’s expected electrical demands.
“It’s crucial for us to be good stewards of the planet as farmers,” Privett said. “Adding solar to our cooling facility really fits in with our basic principles.”