Grower Innovation Comes In All Sizes [Opinion]

Grower Innovation Comes In All Sizes [Opinion]

Richard Jones

Richard Jones

American Vegetable Grower’s Top 100 Growers List is a big undertaking. Our editors spend several weeks calling, eMailing, and talking with growers around the country to put the whole thing together. It’s one of the most-sought-after features we publish each year, and with good reason. This annual ranking gives us an excellent benchmark to measure the ups, downs, and shifts among the largest vegetable operations around the country. As with any industry, what’s happening at the top says a lot about its relative strength and where it may be headed.

It’s nice for us to be able to recognize our nation’s biggest players for their individual accomplishments and what they do for our industry.

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That said, the vast majority of people reading this — including you — are not Top 100 Growers. That’s OK. There’s a lot we can learn from you, too.

Read through our feature on this year’s Power Growers and take a look at the mix of operations from around the country and what they’re accomplishing. Yes, you’ll find some of these names on our Top 100 lists as well, but many of these growers farm just a couple hundred acres of vegetables, or even fewer.

You’ll see growers who are devoting their efforts to market their products through different channels from CSAs to farm markets to major retail chains. Growers using the latest technology to upgrade their facilities and enhance the quality of their product. Growers who go out of their way to share their knowledge with their peers.

You’ll find growers focused on sustainable production, with an eye on both the environmental benefits and the bottom line. Growers focusing on enhanced steps to ensure food safety. Even a grower moving into urban rooftop greenhouse production.

There’s only so-much room in a magazine article to highlight innovative operations like these, and we know there are many more out there. Maybe you know about a grower who’s doing some really interesting things that can help other vegetable operations get better. Or maybe that description actually fits your own business. Either way, we’d like to hear about it.

Want to know more about any of this year’s Power Growers? Please drop me a note and let us know about that, or about other growers you’d like to see featured in a future issue of American Vegetable Grower.

Size is important, but there’s more than one way to get a feel for the vitality of an industry. The drive, creativity and passion for what you do is contagious when we can share it.