Although the recent downturn in the economy has had a negative impact on its foodservice business, Cutchogue, NY-based Satur Farms has seen an uptick in its retail business.
"We've seen a little shift away from dining establishments, and we've noticed quite an increase in demand in the retail component, and that is exciting," said Paulette Satur, who co-owns the firm with her husband, Eberhard Muller, a world-renowned chef with 30 years of experience, who has served as executive chef at some of New York City's more famous restaurants.
The firm, which grows on 180 acres on Long Island's North Fork, offers between 60 and 75 SKUs of fresh vegetables and culinary items to retail and foodservice clients. It supplies some of the more exclusive restaurants in the New York metropolitan area from late April through at least Thanksgiving. "We are still making direct store deliveries, and we like it that way," she said. "We can talk to the store managers and we speak to them several times a week. We can introduce new items and work with them on what works best for them in our line, and that's been working really well."
Satur Farms has added two new items to its retail clamshell lineup: its Hearty Veggie Mix, with precut colored cauliflower, broccoli florets and snow or snap peas; and a mesclun salad, with a blend of chicories, tender lettuces and wild arugula.
"Some of the farmers out our way told Eberhard that you really can't grow a nice crop of cauliflower in the spring on Long Island, so of course he took the challenge just to see that he could do it, and we have incredibly gorgeous cauliflower of all colors," she said. "We're going to see how long we can take it into the summer because he got some varieties from some hotter regions like southern Spain."
She said that the company is working with Whole Foods in the New York City metropolitan area. "They want us to expand with them, and we want to as well."
Due to the increased demand for its products, Ms. Satur said that the firm is planning to start construction this fall on a new packing facility to assemble its retail salad packs.
Ms. Satur said that the firm also will be growing in Florida this winter, which will enable it to have a year-round supply of product.
"We will begin seeding the second week of October," she said. "We will cut and ship up to New York in 20 to 24 hours, and the products will be packed in our HACCP-certified facility," which she noted received a "Superior" rating from Scientific Certification Services.
According to its web site, "Satur Farms grows specialty salads, leafy vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, root vegetables and herbs. They are committed to farming according to organic standards, although not certified organic, and believe it produces better flavor profiles and assures a healthy, pesticide-free choice that is better for people and the planet."