Freshouse Produce (Freshouse) is a family of companies in the Mid-Atlantic offering fresh produce and packaging solutions to customers around the region. The parent company operates from its corporate headquarters in Riverhead, N.Y., with four satellite warehouses and facilities up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
Jamey Friendman, president of Freshouse, has been in the industry for 25 years. “This started from a family business,” he says of the company, which has been in business since 1996.
“My grandfather opened his own business in the 1950s, manufacturing fertilizer on Long Island,” Jamey continues. “He sold his product to potato farmers and was forced to frequently barter payment for potatoes. He began selling potatoes to Hunt’s Point Market to make a living. Over the years, the business has changed. We now have a national brand called Fresh From the Start that all of our facilities support. We also package private label for retailers.”
Keeping it Fresh
The company sources produce from all over the country, as well as overseas. Friedman and his team work hard to provide unique products and packaging solutions to meet the needs of customers. “We have the flexibility to package, distribute and repack anything,” he explains. “We customize our products for our customers. As a third-party warehouse, we work on all sides of distribution. We support many growers financially, market their produce so they can concentrate on growing quality product. It’s a partnership.”
With a team of 190, Freshouse serves customers from Florida to Maine. The company’s warehouses are in strategic locations, close to customers in order to provide better service. These customers include distributors and retailers, many requiring their own branded products.
Friedman and his crew are always looking to improve on the company’s diversity of products and services. Currently, the business offers eastern vegetables, melons, potatoes, onions and tropical fruits to customers. A wide range of packaging options allows clients control over presentation; customers can purchase produce in bags, bins, clamshells and tray packs.
Freshouse guarantees quality through a rigorous inspection routine. When produce comes in, every night it spends in the cooler and on the way out, inspectors note size and quality to ensure a satisfactory product. The crew also utilizes a high-tech inventory control system to keep stored product rotation as close as possible for customers while still meeting demand and providing top quality produce and service.
Season, Steam and Serve
The company is all about innovation, releasing new products yearly to help provide a better customer and end-user experience. Most recently, Freshouse introduced Fresh-Sides, an all-natural quickly prepared side dish option for busy people. So far, the team offers six different potato-based side options. Customers can choose between red potatoes, yellow potatoes, white potatoes, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes. Each side comes in a re-sealable and microwaveable safe bag, making preparation and storage easy.
“There are no pots or pans,” Friedman notes. “You can cook the potatoes with other vegetables and seasonings right in the bag. You have an easy dish to serve with no cleanup.”
To put together a fast and tasty side dish, end-users simply chop the potatoes, add seasonings, other vegetables and even meats, and then pop the sealed bag in the microwave for a few minutes. The end result is a healthy, steamed potato side that consumers can customize to perfectly match a meal. Fresh-Sides are part of a growing line of unique and innovative products Freshouse has been developing.
The company’s ability to satisfy customer demand and expectations of quality allow the business to expand vertically and horizontally. Freshouse’s market share is growing as the business ramps up facilities to produce a diversifying line of fresh products.
“We have a new facility in Salisbury, N.C., which is on the cutting edge,” Friedman explains. “The building has state-of-the-art packing equipment and complete refrigeration throughout. As a series of family companies, we strive to have warehousing strategically located near our customers to better service them.”
The new facility is offering Friedman and his team the opportunity to increase the product line. The team is still tweaking its new facility, but so far it looks promising. “As always, food safety is a priority,” he explains. “Our new facility has processing grade rooms and a larger packaging facility. We can bulk up our variety and we have been able to distribute another 100 loads out of the new building every week. We have been there since May 2013.”
With boosted capabilities, Freshouse is looking into new opportunities with a wider range of clients. Friedman is developing new packaging capabilities with his team. Additional services will allow the business to partner with new clients in need of distribution. The expansion will also allow the business to reach a larger geographic market.
Freshouse is in a state of growth, with the help of adaptable team members and growing capabilities. “We employ a lot of great people,” Friedman explains. “At the end of the day, our customers are happy and we have a lot of positive feedback. Our team is what makes this company, so of course their safety and happiness is always a major concern. Everyone is family here.”
Friedman has developed strong relationships with his staff, and goes as far as to refer to them as family; he employs much of the same philosophy toward customers and growing partners. Freshouse does not look for one-off sales, rather lasting relationships. In order to maintain these relationships, Friedman needs a reliable supply of product. He does his best to work with growers from an angle of integrity and fairness. In return, Freshouse is able to process high-quality and healthy food on a reliable schedule.
In the coming years, Freshouse continues to grow. Friedman and his team are consistently evolving together to provide the best service to a growing client base. Whether processing products for the house brands or co-packing with partners, Freshouse Produce provides a high quality and healthy end product for consumers around the region.