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Spiech Farms expands Florida blueberry operation to 20,000-square-foot facility

Tim Spiech, chief operating officer of Spiech Farms, told The Produce News that the company recently completed its relocation to a new facility in Brooksville, FL, and it has ceased all operations at its previous Hudson, FL, location.

The new facility gives the company outstanding growth opportunities due to its large size and high-tech advancements.

“We are offering our customers full services this season,” said Spiech. “We support a number of farms in the area, and we now have ample room for expanding those services, which include custom harvesting, packing and marketing.

“Our marketing goal now is to let other growers know that we have added capacity above and beyond what we previously had, with plenty of room for growth and expansion in what we all know is a very short Florida blueberry season.”

Spiech Farms also has growing, packing and shipping locations in Baxley, GA, and in Paw Paw, MI.

The company is unique in how it does business with its growing-partners. It offers grower accounting that is real time and online.

“Our online systems are unique to the industry at this time,” said Spiech.

“Many other marketing companies have not yet developed this process, which puts us at a great advantage of introducing it to our growing partners. For example, growers and we alike can check at 10 a.m. to see how many pounds have been harvested, and then check again at noon for an update.

“The true benefit of this system is that growers’ returns are calculated the second the fruit is loaded — without human calculation of any kind or ‘ballpark’ figuring,” he continued. “They know that their inventory went on this or that shipment and they know instantly what their return is.”

He explained that the company has been working on this real-time system for four years, and this year it is adding Bluetooth scales in the fields from which growers know how much they’ll be paying their pickers — this information is fed directly and instantly to the online application.

“This system makes a tremendous difference in that growers know as much as we know, and that allows them to run their businesses more efficiently,” said Spiech.

“Some growing partners do their own harvesting and bring their product to us. That age-old question of ‘how are we doing today?’ allows them to see their returns every week, and if they see things heading in a different direction due to demand or other issues, it gives them the option of moving from fresh to processing if they find it more beneficial.”

Spiech added that this type of transparency is what the company has always striven for, and the technology brings them closer to that goal in every respect.

Spiech Farms has been growing fresh, quality produce for generations. Spiech said there have been many changes to the face of the American family farm over the years, and the company has combined the knowledge of what those before his generation have taught them.

The company grows hundreds of acres of grapes, asparagus and blueberries in southwest Michigan, Florida and Georgia.

“Combined with the experience of generations before us, added to the new technologies of today, we have become a nationwide supplier of high-quality produce,” said Spiech. “Our goal is to always be improving our business to best benefit our high-quality growers and to meet the needs of our valued customers.”