Branch: A Family of Farms is in the midst of what they see as a promising season of leafy green production out of their Belle Glade and South Bay, Florida farms.
The region and its crops were spared by Hurricane Michael in early October which allowed Branch to offer its full offering of leafy greens to customers without interruption.
“We are very lucky that we can meet demand of leaf lettuce from our Florida farms,” says Brett Bergmann, president of Branch. “We look forward to providing our customers with fresh, quality product this holiday season.”
Branch growers invest in trialing new varieties each new season. This year’s new offerings include a new green leaf variety and three romaine varieties which were bred specifically for the Florida environment. According to the company, these varieties have good head size and weight and are excellent for romaine hearts. Additionally, a new endive was introduced that grows in a more upright and conical manner. This helps reduce shrink through minimizing rib breakage as well as making it easier to pack.
“Our primary goal from our research and development process is to continuously improve upon the eating experience for the consumer and of course improve upon how existing varieties perform in the Southern climates,” said Bergmann. “We thrive from having collaborative conversations around product innovation with customers. More so than ever before, it’s imperative to be continuously innovating and planning out varieties and supply needs well in advance.”
Branch’s farmers grow a full assortment of leaf items including green and red leaf, Boston, romaine, endive, escarole, parsley, dill, cilantro and Chinese cabbage. This year’s forecast cool winter provides ideal growing conditions for Florida leafy greens, the company says.
Branch Farms stated that food safety continues to be a top priority and its growers are Primus GFS certified and part of the Primus-Platinum Program. Member farms go through regular inspections and third- party audits throughout the year and are PTI compliant at case and pallet level. Additionally, they are in full-compliance with the FDA’s new voluntary labeling requirements with the addition of harvest date and region to their packaging.
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