About 50 members of the Garden Club of America recently toured the Nunes Co. Inc.’s facilities in Salinas, CA, to learn about the company’s family farming operation and agriculture production in the Salinas Valley.
The club is a national group of gardeners with more than 18,000 members and 199 local clubs, which serve as lead organizations in horticulture, conservation and civic improvement projects.
Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing for the Nunes Co., said that the Salinas Valley firm hosted members of the group while they were in the Monterey, CA, area for their annual convention.
“These are professional gardeners, if you will,” said Mr. Seeley. “They have a passion for gardening and were interested in seeing how gardening works on a grand scale. From our standpoint, it gave us an opportunity to show a few more people how large-scale agriculture feeds the world. We took them through the whole process from growing to harvesting to cooling to shipping.”
The day began with a video about the history of the company and the devotion the Nunes family has to farming 18,000 acres in California and Arizona and the operation’s standards.
Nunes Co. President Tom Nunes Jr. fielded many questions related to conventional, organic and commercial farming practices.
After the question-and-answer session, the group toured the cooling facility led by another Tom Nunes, son of the president, and grower Tim Borel. During this tour, harvest trucks were coming in from the fields and freight trucks were being loaded with “Foxy” brand produce to begin their trek to the East Coast.
The group was shown various aspects of the Nunes Co.’s quality-control and food-safety programs, including the firm’s traceback system that allows for complete seed-to-harvest information on each head of lettuce and other commodities.
The gardeners then visited a strawberry field that was being harvested. This was followed by a tour of a nearby Iceberg lettuce field that was being harvested and hand-wrapped in the field.
The half-day tour ended with a lunch at Escole Vineyard, which is owned in part by the Nunes Co.
The Nunes Co. used the event as a promotional opportunity, and throughout the day the firm communicated with its 6,000 Facebook fans and 130 Twitter followers so that they could participate in the tour in real time.