Rakhra Mushroom Farm in Alamosa, Colo., exemplifies the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Mushrooms love low-altitude and high-humidity climates – attributes typically found in mushroom-growing states like Pennsylvania, not in a little valley tucked in the Colorado Rockies at 7,500 feet above sea level. But since the 1980s, Alamosa has been home to a now-thriving mushroom oper­ation.

Looking at its worldwide success, it’s easy to assume Kirschenman Enterprises has gone corporate, but President Wayde Kirschenman insists that is not the case. “In general, people in the United States talk about big Midwestern wheat and corn farms going more corporate, so everybody thinks California is going more corporate, too,” he says. “Most of the large table grapes, peaches and nectarines are grown by big families. In fact, many of my competitors are my friends who have large families.” 

It may be tough for some companies to compete in the highly saturated candy industry, but Hillside, N.J.-based Hillside Candy Co. has found success in a niche that caters to consumers who lead a healthy lifestyle but still want to enjoy the sweeter things in life, President and CEO Ted Cohen says. Hillside Candy’s GoLightly brand of sugar-free candies is one of the leading sugar-free candy brands on the market.

Heartland Mill’s attention to detail and dedication to making quality products have guided its operations since its founding 25 years ago. The Mariental, Kan.-based company produces a variety of flours including all-purpose, whole wheat, and rye; as well as grains, corn meals and rolled oats. Recent years have seen a growth in the company’s production of whole grain flours, which are healthier than refined flours.

In September 2009, Grindmaster Corp. and Cecilware Corp. merged to form Grindmaster-Cecilware™. Grindmaster-Cecilware’s™ extensive product line is the basis for the company’s mission; to build the next generation single source global beverage and foodservice equipment solution. Grindmaster-Cecilware™ manufactures a comprehensive line of quality beverage dispensing equipment for hot, cold and frozen beverages and a complementary foodservice equipment line.

For many, the most important part of food is its taste. People like to savor the tantalizing flavor a meal can leave in our mouths, making us want to have it again and again. Gel Spice Co. LLC is in the business of enhancing that experience, Senior Vice President of Corporate Brands Steve Thomas says. The Bayonne, N.J.-based company sells spices, bakery ingredients and seasonings to food manufacturers and consumers.

The work force of F&F Foods is divided fairly evenly by nationality, according to President and CEO Byron LaMont. Approximately one third of the company’s employees are Hispanic, one third are Polish and the other third are of Irish descent. As a result, the signage in the company’s Chicago facility is in three languages – Spanish, Polish and English. LaMont notes that the employees may have different backgrounds and their primary language may vary, but one thing remains constant – their ongoing focus on maintaining F&F Foods’ high-quality standards.

In his 10 years as president of Diamond Bakery, Brent Kunimoto has realized that every Hawaiian has his or her own memory of the crackers and cookies baked by the 90-year-old company. Kunimoto remembers being sick and staying with his grandmother for the day. She would serve him soup along with Diamond Bakery’s soda crackers, and after he ate, she would stroke his forehead to comfort him.

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