Nightingale Farms stands out in the produce farming industry for not only the quality of the fruits and vegetables it grows, but the techniques it utilizes to cultivate its crops. Within the past 15 years, the LaSalette, Ontario-based company has heavily invested in new technologies including mechanization techniques such as automatic picking systems. The company has also invested in greenhouses and high tunnels, both of which allow it to grow produce year-round.
“I’m willing to test or try anything,” President Bill Nightingale Jr. says. “We constantly look for anything new and innovative we can do; we want to be leaders, not followers, even if it costs a lot of money for us to do that. The ability to create niche items and be innovative is what really drives me to work every day.”
The company produces more than 100 SKUs of conventional and organic produce items annually from its 1,500-acre farm. It supplies conventional produce items to retailers within Ontario, and distributes organic items to specialty retailers throughout Canada and the United States including Whole Foods. In addition to growing its own produce, Nightingale Farms packages its own items using equipment including automated tray bagging and packing systems.
Nightingale Farms’ organic items, distributed under the Norfolk Farms brand, include colored bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, cluster tomatoes, beans, squash and zucchini. “We have a very extensive organic line,” he adds. “For many of our customers, we’re a one-stop-shop organic warehouse.”
The company is one of the only of its kind in North America to locally grow snow and snap peas. Nightingale Farms in 2016 also plans to grow and market French beans, Nightingale says.

There are many family owned oyster companies, but Motivatit Seafoods sets itself apart with a high level of trust between the members of its management, President and CEO Steven Voisin explains.
“As the years went by, there was never a time where there was any doubt about what was taking place amongst the family,” he recalls.
That has benefited the Houma, La.-based company, which his father, Ernest, founded in 1971. A native of Louisiana, Ernest Voisin previously worked in the aerospace industry in southern California.
Although it was a different industry, the elder Voisin’s experience gave him business skills that would be critical when managing Motivatit. Eventually, “He wanted to move home and get back involved in the seafood business, particularly oysters,” Steven Voisin says.
When Voisin and his brother, Mike, joined their father, the three started the company. Today, Motivatit specializes in oyster farming and processing and offers a full line of fresh and frozen oysters, along with custom packaging.
The company employs a staff of approximately 100 workers that strive each day to process 500 sacks of oysters and sell the excess sacks to other processors. “We provide them to restaurant groups, wholesale distributors and some casinos,” Steven Voisin says.

When John Lyman III says his family has a deep understanding of what it means to be stewards of the land, he means it. The Lyman family has been farming in Connecticut since it purchased its first parcel of land in 1741, and Lyman is part of the eighth generation of family ownership of the land that is today known as Lyman Orchards, which now cover more than 1,100 acres.
Not only is Lyman Orchards one of the oldest family owned businesses in the United States, it is one of Connecticut’s most popular family destinations and a grower of high-quality fruits such as apples, strawberries and pears. Over the years, Lyman Orchards has found new ways to attract visitors to its rolling hills and lush orchards of fruit trees, but the family’s commitment to caring for the land remains as strong as ever.
The Lyman family originally purchased 36 acres for a farm, but over the years more and more property surrounding it was acquired. At one point, Lyman says, the family owned more than 1,500 acres. With the end of the Civil War, agriculture started to become more commercialized, and the Lyman family got into the game with its first orchard planted in the 1890s. The crop at the time was peaches, and Connecticut was the second-largest peach-producing state after Georgia until an unusually heavy winter around 1917 killed most of the state’s peach trees. The Lyman family planted apples in their place, and ever since then apples have been Lyman Orchards’ biggest crop.

Martin Kelly understands the rap against frozen food. “Historically, the quality has not been so great, and it’s not been that flavorful,” says Kelly, president and CEO of Kahiki Foods Inc. The category has lacked variety and utilized a lot of additives and preservatives, he says. So what attracted Kelly to Kahiki Foods, a producer of Asian frozen foods?
“The business proposition was exciting and intriguing,” says Kelly, a food and beverage industry veteran. “Because frozen food has been boring, and Asian frozen is kind of a hidden gem, I got excited about the opportunity and decided it was really worth doing.” Kelly the joined the Gahanna, Ohio-based company in July 2014 as “The Big Kahuna” and believes he’s at the helm of a company situated “in a category with a tremendous amount of upside,” he says.
“People are always going to eat and drink,” Kelly says. “The question is: What will they eat and drink?” He hopes they’ll be drawn to the frozen foods in Kahiki Foods’ expanding product line, especially given the recent changes the company made. In 2014, Kahiki Foods went all-natural by removing artificial flavors, additives and MSG from its foods. It also expanded its product offerings by launching the StirFresh line in 2014, adding Steam and Serve products in early 2015 and Bowl and Roll single serve meals in the fall of 2015.

As many new health studies indicate, what people eat can affect their health in big ways. Often, the path to good health is paved with healthy eating. This is the philosophy of Food Management Group (FMG) Inc., which prepares healthy food for hospitals in specialty settings with fewer than 100 beds.
“What most people don’t understand is that a diet order form is the same as a prescription for the pharmacy,” President and Chairman T. David Witten emphasizes. “The importance of fulfilling that diet order is as important as fulfilling that drug order in the healing of a patient.”
If you are what you eat, food can heal patients. “It’s underestimated the power that proper nutrition plays in the role of healing,” new FMG CEO Craig Boudreaux adds. “We all understand that intrinsically, but when you’re really sick, the role of food in the healing process is critical. So the proper balance of nutrition and of proteins and carbohydrates can make or break patient recovery. We believe we can help impact the overall outcome of the patient and how long that patient has to be hospitalized.”
FMG serves 60 facilities in 19 states including the District of Columbia and Alaska. Headquartered in Burgess, Va., the company has regional offices in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Miami, Richmond, Va., and Alpharetta, Ga.

Some companies might balk at changes in food safety regulations, but Cecelia Packing Corp. is more than willing to meet the new standards. “[It’s] what we have to do,” President David Roth asserts. “Safety is No. 1.”
Based in Orange Cove, Calif., Cecelia Packing grows, packs, ships and markets California citrus fruits, including oranges, Minneola tangelos, tangerines and grapefruit. The company started operations in 1979.
Cecelia Packing initially grew tree fruits. Today, “We’re 100 percent citrus,” Roth explains, noting that the operation has 2,200 acres of citrus properties. “We pack about 1.4 million cartons [of fruit] a year.”
The company also has stayed ahead of the “varietals curve,” with products such as its Cara Cara pink navel oranges and Valencia oranges, Roth says. “We’re also getting quite big in the blood oranges,” he adds.

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