Turek Farms in a New York state of mind

As of early June, Jason Turek, a partner in both King Ferry, NY-based Turek Farms and its marketing arm, Cayuga Produce Inc., said its growers were in the midst of harvest in Georgia on sweet corn and planting Labor Day corn in New York. It’s also finishing up pumpkin planting in the latter state.

New York-grown produce represents almost two-thirds of the company sales, so it’s vital that things go well there. Thankfully, that appears to be the case in 2018.

IMG 3170 “If you had asked me in April how things looked, I would have said we’d be really behind on things because the last Sunday of the month it snowed, but four days later it was 85 degrees and we started planting,” Turek said. “We had a record-warm May and we made up a lot of ground. Crop-wise, we are on schedule.”

In 2017, the growing season was flooded out three times with monsoon-type rains, which damaged its vine crops and a substantial amount of land was left empty because it couldn’t get things planted in time.

“We kind of button up to our tail end of the season usually near a frost so we can only go so long before we get into trouble, and you just can’t double up your planting the following week,” Turek said. “You can’t get them harvested or sold, so leaving those acres empty last year was a necessity. I hate to jinx myself this year, but we seem to be rolling along the way we want to.”

Growing successfully in the state of New York, he added, takes experience and paying attention to what’s happened before. In other words, Turek Farms doesn’t stray too far from what it did the year before and repeats what has worked year after year.

“New York has some pretty awesome weather most summers and usually can make for some really nice crops, especially your buying crops,” Turek said. “The nights are cool and the days are warm, and vegetables grow at a nice pace like they should. We’re on mineral soils and you can taste the difference.”

That’s something Turek’s grandfather used to say, and he believes that to be true. “Our cool nights put some flavor into the crops,” he said.

The company ships its produce up and down the East Coast, from Maine to Miami, and naturally has a big buying contingent in its home state of New York.

Turek Farms also partners with Cornell University and Primus Labs to implement the latest advances in biological control to reduce pesticide use in its fields.

“I’m an alum and my uncle is an alum, so it’s just a great resource to use in your backyard,” Turek said. “We try to utilize them and also do a lot of our testing with all the major seed companies. We usually have two or three different seed trials on the farm each year to try new varieties and see what’s up and coming.”

Weather is still the biggest challenge about growing in New York, though labor issues are quickly catching up. Turek admitted the H-2A program is very cumbersome and aggravating but it’s the only alternative at this point.

“If someone had told me when I was a little kid aspiring to be a farmer that my days would be filled up with paperwork and forms and compliance, I may have thought differently about farming,” he said.

USDA cites Ohio business for $800K PACA violations
As a part of its efforts to enforce the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act and ensure fair trading practices within the U.S. produce industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on PK Produce Inc. in Canton, OH, for failing to meet its contractual obligations to the sellers of produce it Read More ...
Sobeys expands curbside pickup service
Sobeys is expanding its e-commerce offering to Atlantic Canada with the launch of Voilà by Sobeys Curbside Pickup. Now available at three Sobeys store locations in Nova Scotia, the new service offers a freshness guarantee and products at affordable prices with no hidden fees. Orders are assembled with care by Voilà by Read More ...
IPC helps foodservice operators make changes to meet COVID-era challenges
Portability, profitability, innovation and menu simplification. Those topics were the themes of a webinar presented by the Idaho Potato Commission as part of Restaurants Rise, an initiative launched in May by Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality. The initiative has included live virtual events to aid Read More ...
Indianapolis Fruit Co. expands robust team
Indianapolis Fruit Co. remains focused on being a leading super-regional produce and specialty foods distributor providing premium quality products and unprecedented customer experiences through experts who care. The company, a business unit of IF&P Foods and the FreshEdge Group of Cos., primarily services the retail Read More ...
Meijer vet joins SpartanNash leadership
SpartanNash Co. has hired Shaquanda Gordon as vice president of human resources, talent and diversity. Gordon will build on the company's efforts to ensure a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce by driving the overall human capital strategy for the organization. In this newly created position, she will lead the human Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse