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Miedema Produce continues to grow radish business

By
Keith Loria

Miedema Produce ships more than 100 different products to customers across the United States and Canada.

The company has packaged product under the “For You” brand since it first started in 1971, with packaging options including a variety of cello and bulk bags.

“The key to being successful in this business is having good people on the team, people that care about what they’re doing and enjoy what they’re doing,” said Todd Miedema, director of marketing for the Hudsonville, MI-based company. “That’s what makes a successful company. Doing all the little things right, and being ready to go the extra mile.”

The company operates from new offices and state-of-the-art-production facilities incorporating that latest in production efficiencies and food safety. Its refrigerated space has recently doubled and its temperature controlled production facility has increased by 50 percent. miedema

The past year was something of a challenge for those at Miedema Produce.

“We had a dip at the beginning of last year, as everybody probably did, but we recovered very nicely from that and this year is going well,” Miedema said.

“The only thing that we really have to complain about at this point in time is just basically the government. We’d like them to quit paying people to stay home so we can get the workers we need and get this economy rolling again.”

The Michigan produce season, which begins June 1 and lasts until early November, started very warm and Miedema expected an early start to the deal, but that was followed by much cooler-than-expected weather, so things might actually be starting a little later than usual.

“It’s a bit challenging for some folks, but we’re rolling along with it,” he said. “We expect to have good crops this coming year.”

Of its 2,000 acres in Michigan, Miedema Produce’s largest crop is radishes, as it remains one of the largest radish growers in the country.

“We also do an awful lot with the rest of the root crops, which is kind of our specialty,” Miedema said, mentioning items like carrots, parsnips, turnips, and beets as big products. “But we also carry things like leafy greens, celery, zucchini, summer squash and hard squash.” 

Radishes are about ready to come out of the ground, turnips will follow in the latter part of June, with celery the end of June and early July. Then comes summer squash, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, peppers and carrots by the first of August. Onions will start the middle of August, and the rest of the month will include cabbage, corn and eggplant.

“We’ve seen growth in radishes and most of the other categories are fairly stable,” Miedema said.

Being in Michigan allows the company to reach a huge population in 24-48 hours, and with freight prices being what they are, that gives Miedema Produce a big advantage.

“Plus, the climate is very conducive to a wide range of fresh vegetables and fruit,” Miedema said. “There’s a lot of growers involved in blueberries, as well as apples and other tree fruits, things like that. Michigan also has got a very big asparagus deal.”

Looking ahead, Miedema Produce is going to continue to use technology to automate and increase production and product offerings.

“With technology, we can recover more of what we harvest efficiently and repurpose it or find new homes for it,” Miedema said. “Whereas in the past, you just didn’t have the ability to efficiently do that. Along with that, automation is reducing our dependency on human labor. And the long and short of that is this, it’s no knock against our employees or anything like that, but it’s harder and harder to get employees, so it helps a great deal.”

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