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Innovation key to Tanimura & Antle’s success

By
Keith Loria

Leafy greens are the founding products for Tanimura & Antle. With a nearly 100-year legacy in leafy greens, they are at the core of the company’s success. Overall, Tanimura & Antle grows approximately 30,000 acres of premium fresh produce annually. 

“The leafy greens category has evolved in numerous ways from packaging, to consumer interest, seed varieties and growing methods to food safety advancements,” said Ashley Pipkin, director of marketing for the Salinas, CA-based company. “100 years ago, iceberg lettuce was packed onto train cars in wooden crates in ice and shipped across the country. Today, with advancements in packaging, cooling and shipping, we’re able to extend the shelf life of leafy greens for their truck ride across the country while also meeting consumer demand for more variety; it’s not just iceberg lettuce anymore.”sdf

The company has stayed on top through savvy innovation.

“Without innovating on the farm to address critical agricultural issues such as labor, companies will not be able to stay in business in the next several years as costs increase and inputs and labor become more scarce,” Pipkin said. “Tanimura & Antle is investing for our future by utilizing technology on our farms such as the PlantTape automated transplanting system and the Stout Industrial Technology Smart Cultivator. Both technologies increase efficiencies on our farms and supplement our labor force so that our skilled labor can be used in areas that have yet to be automated, such as harvesting.”

 The early part of 2021 saw some unknowns, with multiple industries facing unique, similar supply challenges such as carton and pallet shortages nationwide.

“We project the remainder of 2021 to be active, with the holiday season approaching and families hopefully returning to gatherings this year,” Pipkin said. “Our preference is always to pair our marketing tactics with our retailers plans to be the most effective and mutually beneficial. Fresh produce buyers should lean into their suppliers for recipes, influencer partnerships, farm-to-fork content, supplier sponsored giveaways and work together to brainstorm ideas to mutually increase fresh produce sales.”

The company is excited to now be offering an expanded family of greenhouse-grown products from its Livingston, TN-based greenhouse operation, which includes mini romaine, sweet gem, green leaf, Boston and a petite blend.  

“With our long-standing legacy in growing premium fresh produce, we’re able to apply our extensive years of growing experience to this new category in order to ship the best quality greenhouse-grown produce,” Pipkin said. “Greenhouse growing aligns with our overall commitment to sustainability and gives us the ability to provide healthy fresh produce to more consumers with less food miles.”   

Although the Tanimura and Antle families have been working together for nearly 100 years, 2022 will mark Tanimura & Antle’s 40th anniversary as a company.  

“We look forward to celebrating our legacy as the leading grower-shipper of premium fresh produce,” Pipkin said. 

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