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Todd Greiner Farms: Growing, Packing and Shipping Quality Direct from the Farm to the Shelf
Todd Greiner Farms (TGF), a family owned- and -operated Michigan-based company, is passionate about growing, packing and shipping the highest quality produce in the region. “Our passion for quality and doing things right is what we live by,” explains Tyler Hodges, sales manager for TGF. “We’re a vertically integrated grower, packer and shipper where we farm and pack our own items in-house then ship directly to distribution centers throughout the U.S.”
Todd and Sarah Greiner founded the company in 1994 with just 120 acres off the serene shores of Lake Michigan in Hart, Mich. “I started working for my uncle Todd in May 2009,” recalls Tyler. “As I came closer to finishing school with a business management degree, I was hired on as sales manager. Since the beginning, Todd has been dedicated and passionate about having an organized, well-run company and it’s evident when you enter our farms.”
Growing a Family Operation
In 2012 the husband and wife duo took over Todd’s family farm, adding an additional 700 acres, storage, equipment, a second packing house and its own supply of apples, including Honeycrisp. “We’ve grown substantially over the past few years,” details Tyler. “We have a dedicated team of nearly 200 employees during our peak season.”
Since its establishment, TGF has acquired more than 2,000 acres of land and now operates out of two warehouses. “A lot stays in the Midwest; however, we ship from Kansas on east,” details Tyler. “We’re looking at areas that have a demand for the items we grow and targeting the right companies to partner up with for that solid relationship.”
TGF’s location offers ideal weather and a rich sandy loam soil type ideal for crops like asparagus, pumpkins and squash. Tyler notes that 2,000 acres of land allows for steady crop rotation, ensuring optimal plant health. The company harvests, packs and ships its fair share of asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, field corn, sweet and tart cherries, hard squash, peaches, apples, ornamental gourds, pumpkins, as well as Christmas trees and wreaths with a nice transition through the year.
Fresh from the Field
“We’ve been really involved in the farm-to-fork movement in this area,” shares Tyler. “We’re starting to include the Pure Michigan label on some of our products, as well. It’s important to show our support and make that connection.” The Pure Michigan label was first launched in 2009 as an internal advertising campaign promoting tourism within the state. The campaign has now taken a different route, popularizing Michigan-made food products and assuring consumers are buying local goods from vegetables to dairy.
According to Tyler, asparagus is usually in high demand for TGF. “We’re one of the few fresh packers in the state,” he explains. “This always draws a lot of interest. As far as summer produce goes, asparagus is one of the first tastes of the season. Local retailers love to promote it because it’s grown in very few places domestically. The big three are California, Washington and Michigan.”
Tyler thanks the company’s location and mild climate for the extensive asparagus crop. “We produce some of the most flavorful asparagus,” he says. “We are blessed with great customers in the retail and foodservice sectors. We know what we do best and we really just focus on making our current products better for our customers.”
TGF performs all sales in-house. “We’ve found there’s an increasing trend where stores want to make a connection directly to the grower,” reveals Tyler. “We go to store promotions and grand openings and also host Meet the Farmer events in the area; we stand behind our products completely and we like to showcase that.”
After 20 years in the produce business, TGF has found ways to diversify to combat the economic downturn and other flukes that go along with growing crops. “Our wide product list helps protect us in that sense,” admits Tyler. “Last year, we had a crop failure that wiped out our apple, peach and cherry crops, which hurt many companies statewide. We definitely felt it, but we were able to get through it with our vegetable line. We’ve learned how to handle the elements and have taken more measureable approaches in everything we do.”
Tyler reveals TGF continues to focus on improving its in-house operations. “We just hired a new director of packing and a farm manager to strengthen the flow of growing, packing and shipping,” he shares. “We’re always trying to be better first, bigger second. We’re always keeping our eyes open for new opportunities.”
TGF continues to maximize the efficiency of operations while maintaining and developing relationships with great customers that share the same passions. “In this industry there’s never a dull moment; you’ve always got to be on your toes, ready for anything,” says Tyler. “I don’t know what I’d do with all of that time if I wasn’t in produce. I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of great people and look forward to our future in this business.” Todd Greiner Farms is growing through fresh, locally produced food, proud to be made in Michigan as a family operation.
For more information about Todd Greiner Farms, please visit: www.toddgreinerfarms.com.