Soil Health Sows Success

California vegetable operation focuses on sustainability. ( Photo Provided By Grimmway Farms )

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Around 50 years ago, two brothers opened a roadside produce stand. That humble beginning set the foundation for today’s operation that includes more than 40,000 acres — making Grimmway Farms the world’s largest grower, producer and shipper of carrots.

How did an operation create such dramatic growth? A firm focus on soil health, its leaders say.

“You look at how we farm today on the 48,000 acres, and we don’t farm any differently than we did when we had 100 or 1,000 or 2,000 acres,” says Jeff Huckaby, president of Grimmway Farms.

In addition to carrots, the Bakersfield, Calif., operation produces more than 135 seasonal and year-round products shipped worldwide. As the farm grew, its owners dived into organic production.

“We were in the right place at the right time — the organic movement had just started,” Huckaby says. “We were able to produce high-quality products year-round. That was huge for our success. We learned very quickly that in organic production, you cannot cut corners.”

Not cutting corners involved a focus on crop rotations, storing water, chemistry-free weed removal and conservation tillage. “It’s about building microbiology in the soil and trying to improve our greatest resource — which is the soil,” explains Frankie Iturriria, the farm’s ranch unit director.