Thankful. Proud. Those were two of the words used by Peter Pero IV, CEO of Pero Family Farms and this year’s Grower Achievement Award winner, describing what it feels like to be the award recipient.
American Vegetable Grower’s® Grower Achievement AwardSM, which is sponsored by Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers, was presented Sept. 29 at United Fresh Produce Association’s Washington Conference in Washington, DC.
“It could not have been possible without a family that has had a passion to farm for four generations,” Pero said. “I would like to thank all our employees, past and present, who have made it possible to achieve this award.”
Based in Delray Beach, FL, Pero Family Farms grows a variety of crops on about 19,000 acres including peppers, beans, cucumbers, squash, and other vegetables. The Peros are noted for their mini sweet peppers and the recently created pepper snack pack. The farm also is known for its creativity in bringing new products to market.
Pero said he is proud of the bright new ideas his employees and family have inspired. In fact, he says his granddaughter was the inspiration for the farm’s Mini-Sweet Pepper Snack Rings.
“When I saw her eating a mini sweet at a young age, I wanted to offer something more convenient, more fun to eat,” Pero explained. “We came up with the mini sweet rings with some dip.”
Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers’ senior marketing manager Lonny Smith, who helped present the award at the conference, recognized the efforts of the Pero family.
“We really appreciate the work the Pero family is doing,” Smith said. “Pero Family Farms represents everything that is important to Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers: the commitment to the future, sustainability, innovation, the care they take with their employees and their community, the quality of their produce and the marketing, and the way they represent themselves.”
According to Pero, the plan for the farm going forward is to continue to promote proper nutrition.
“We want families to understand the importance of healthy eating and we want to be a part of that,” he said.
The first Grower Achievement Award was presented 13 years ago. Recipients of American Vegetable Grower’s award have achieved excellence in several areas including marketing, food safety, innovative production practices, and industry involvement — just to name a few categories.
The list below highlights past award winners who have earned high marks in several of the areas mentioned above.
2002: A. Duda & Sons, Oviedo, FL
2003: Betteravia Farms, Santa Maria, CA
2004: Michael Farms, Urbana, OH
2005: Gary Shiflett Farms, Deming, NM
2006: Teixeira Farms, Santa Maria, CA
2007: Anthony Farms, Inc., Scandinavia, WI
2008: Lewis Taylor Farms, Tifton, GA
2009: Hansen Farms, Inc., Stanley, NY
2010: Alstede Farms LLC, Chester, NJ
2011: TKM Bengard Farms LLC, Belle Glade, FL
2012: Steven Lyles Farms, Las Cruces, NM
2013: Torrey Farms, Elba, NY
2014: Sakata Farms, Brighton, CO