Phone: (828) 692-3752
Phone: (828) 692-3752
4680 Howard Gap Road Hendersonville, NC 28792
How We're Different
It all comes back to responsibility. We take responsibility for every step that goes into bringing you the finest produce available: We plant the seed and tend the plants. We harvest the crop, wash and pack it. We load our own trucks and deliver directly to the grocer. We’re not part of a conglomerate. We don’t have a corporate structure. We don’t deal with middlemen. We never make excuses. Over the years we’ve learned that in order to survive as a family farm, you simply have to excel at what you do.
Here’s how we’ve done it:
We Know that Fresh is Best
The single most important way to ensure freshness is through timeliness. On a typical day, our workers are in the fields picking vegetables from 5 am to 5 pm. Then the harvest is immediately pre-cooled, washed, packed and shipped by midnight so that it can be on the grocer’s shelves within 24 to 48 hours. We’re able to do this so quickly because we do it all ourselves. So when you see Henderson’s Best on an eggplant or bell pepper, you know it hasn’t spent a week going from process point to process point before it finally makes it to the store. We also use technology to protect our food’s freshness. Our Electronic Data Interchange and Vendor Management Replenishing Systems allow us to deliver exactly those foods that are needed when they are needed. Our cooling facilities are state-of-the-art, keeping food fresher longer. Most recently, we have added a line of overwrap packaging which protects food from contaminants and prolongs shelf life. Another advantage we have when it comes to freshness is our location. We are centrally located along the East Coast Corridor of Interstate 26. From our farm in Henderson County, North Carolina, we routinely deliver south to the Florida Keys and north to New England. It’s all in a day’s work.
We’re a Little Obsessive about Quality
Our Quality Manager personally inspects every piece of produce that we ship. He pays attention to details, makes reports, does analysis. He’s a very important guy, but our quality program has another ace up the sleeve and that is this: every one of our employees works for the Quality Control Department. This means that anyone can postpone a harvest if the crop is not ripe, anyone can send food back if it needs to be washed again, anyone can stop a shipment if there’s a problem. Our employees know it’s okay to do this. Not only that, they know they’re expected to do it.
We Never Forget the Importance of Food Safety
We go beyond industry standards to ensure the utmost safety of our produce. How do we do this? On-going training in sanitation. Vigilant cleaning of our packing and shipping facilities. Using gloves for packing, even though that’s not the normal practice. And the list goes on. We also understand consumers’ concerns about pesticide residue in their food. We’re concerned about it, too. That’s why we use a program of Integrated Pest Management, which enables us to use the safest pesticides available and to use the minimal amount. Beyond this, we send samples of our crops for independent testing of toxicity levels. We don’t have to do this, but we believe it is our responsibility to ensure that the food you eat is safe. Going the extra mile is a small price to pay.
We Seek out the Innovative
In 1978, we installed the first controlled atmosphere apple storage unit in North Carolina. Then, as now, we believed that modern technology offers tools that can improve quality and efficiency. That’s why we also employ Electronic Data Interchange and Vendor Replenishing Management Systems and why we recently installed an overwrap packaging line and have plans to refrigerate our shipping docks. Next year . . . who knows? We’re always looking for ways to stay on the cutting edge. We also recognize that innovation is about much more than new technology. It’s about ideas, too. Pursuing new possibilities, thinking beyond old patterns, dreaming of better things. We’re proud of our tradition, but we’re not afraid of change . . . , not when it means we can do our job even better.
We Have the Best Employees in the Business
If we were forced to choose the one thing that gives us the most pride, it would have to be our team of people. We have approximately 80 year-round employees and up to 200 during peak growing season. Many of our employees have been with us for more than 20 years, and we have generations of families working side by side. They’re the ones who’ve made us what we are today, and we value them beyond measure. Our work environment is one of mutual respect. We’re not big on fancy titles. Each employee is equally important. All of us have a common goal, and that is to offer the best produce available.