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Todd Greiner Farms takes advantage of Michigan diversity

Michigan’s climate and land yield a wide variety of agricultural products through a season.

Tyler Hodges, sales manager of Todd Greiner Farms, located in Hart, MI, said that his firm takes advantage of that opportunity with a diverse offering. Todd Greiner Farms’ corporate philosophy calls for “a good transition though the year” and a shipping schedule that is “not overwhelming,” he said.

“Everything we do is manageable. That is key. We are definitely quality-driven, and everything we do, we want to make sure we do that. We are looking to add a few more items each year. We want to make sure we have the right item to do the right way and do it successfully,” he said.

The firm began shipping asparagus May 15 this year. It will end the season shipping pumpkins, apples and evergreen wreaths and garlands, which are a byproduct of low-branch trimmings from the state’s Christmas tree crop.

The company ships under the “Todd Greiner Farms” label.

“There will be new items from us this year, including green beans, yellow straightneck [squash] and yellow and white corn to go along with our bi-color corn, and watermelon,” Mr. Hodges said June 14. “We will also have a newly designed peach carton along with a new peach packingline this year.”

Of the 2011 asparagus season, Mr. Hodges said that in May, “we experienced steady temperatures with adequate rainfall, and other than it being a late start, the conditions made for ideal quality. In the week of June 5, rainfall was needed and temps were high, creating stress on the crowns that ultimately started to shut down fields on us even after we finally received moisture and cooler weather. Yields will likely be down from desired amounts, but we received great support on a good season. We will ship through June 25 at a limited level.”

Mr. Hodges added, “Everything was planted on time for us and seems to be in place for a good rest of the year so far.”

The green bean and squash deals will start at the tail end of July. Todd Greiner’s sweet corn should start in mid-August, and peaches should begin around Aug. 10. Sweet corn and peaches will run through Labor Day.

“The peach crop seems to be good,” he said. “We had a good blossom and heavy set on the trees. We should have [a] good season there. Peaches are a program we are looking to build.”

The firm’s entry into watermelons is slated to begin about Labor Day.

Todd Greiner Farms finished planting pumpkins in mid-June. “Pumpkins are a big part of our operation. We ship 300 loads per year,” he said. “We are blessed with a good climate” and the light soils that encourage clean-looking and well-shaped pumpkins. Pumpkins shipping begins “right after Labor Day to some degree. It’s not just a Halloween item. A lot of places view pumpkins as a fall item. After Labor Day, they want fall items in as quickly as possible.”

Todd Greiner ships a few specialty and ornamental pumpkins, with the firm’s “bread and butter” being Jack-o-lanterns.

In the fall, Todd Greiner also ships apples and hard squash. The apple harvest begins in September with a full varietal line, including Honeycrisp. The firm ships controlled-atmosphere storage apples usually until May or June. A light 2010 apple crop saw the firm’s CA deal end last season in January 2011.

“So far we are looking at a decent apple crop,” he concluded. “We have to get through June” and the weather hazards involved, “but so far it’s looking OK.”