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A steady program serves Wiers Farm

Again in 2018, “a very wide assortment” of Eastern and Western vegetables solidly remain on the production list of Wiers Farm Inc., located in Willard, OH.

Ben Wiers, a fourth-generation member in the family business, said the farm has the soils to produce the variety of commodities.

In the “Eastern veg” category are bell peppers and all the hot pepper varieties, cucumbers and summer squash.

The “Western veg” category at Wiers includes sweet corn, dill, cilantro and radishes.

Eggplant“We grow 40 different commodities ourselves and, to accommodate our customer needs, we ship 10 or 12 other items to fill out our trucks,” said Wiers.

Wiers added that his company is in constant contact with its customers to understand their needs and expectations.

“We will increase production if they need it,” he continued. “But we don’t speculate” and increase production for the sake of having more volume. The 40 items produced “fit well to our customer base.”

Consumer interest in buying locally grown produce “is extremely strong” in Ohio. “It’s very beneficial to the growers in Ohio,” Wiers said.

But he added that the company has many customers outside of its state. “We get to a large percentage of the population within 10 hours,” which is the daily time limit for truck drivers. That limit is now being strictly enforced with new electric digital driving logs. “This gives us an advantage with our location. Plus, we own our own trucking company, which eliminates some concerns.”

This transportation is part of a vertically integrated firm, which includes greenhouses to produce seedlings and runs all the way through shipping. This “puts us in a strong position,” Weirs noted.

Wiers’ food-safety program — and those of the firm’s independent suppliers — are top-notch. “All of our equipment is stainless steel and we have water treatment in our own facilities.” He said the harvest crews also maintain themselves to conform with the highest food-safety standards.

As far as labor supplies this summer are concerned, Wiers said, “We see no changes. We know it will be tight, but overall, we will manage. It gets more and more difficult. We hope that in the future Congress finds a workable solution. We will continue to need the labor to service the population with fresh, safe vegetables.”

Wiers Farm was established in 1896. The fifth generation is actively engaged in the operation. That group ranges in age from 45 to recent college graduates. “We have a real strong group of youth,” Wiers said. And he credits his fourth generation with the capability to provide experience and leadership.

Wiers said on April 26 that the firm was in its third day of planting. Cold weather forces a late start in planting this year, but he noted, “the ground temperature usually stays cold” in April, so the late start wasn’t a critical matter.

Wiers’ shipping season will start in June and build to a climax at the end of July, with all commodities in production. Wiers ships until the end of October.

“It looks good so far,” Wiers said in the earliest days of the growing season.