Skip to main content

- Advertisement -

Flavor 1st has eight generations of success in North Carolina

By
Keith Loria

Flavor 1st Growers & Packers is a family-based company that has farmed in the fertile mountain valleys of western North Carolina for eight generations, dating back to the late 1700s.

flavor“Many of our team members grew up in and around produce and agriculture in this area, so it’s in our blood,” said Seth Grant, who works sales for the Mills River, NC-based company. “We are strategically located on the East Coast, giving us the ability to ship overnight to most everywhere east of the Mississippi River. If we can’t get there overnight, we can get there in two days. This allows us to get very fresh product on the store shelves, giving us a high level of consumer satisfaction.”

North Carolina is home to the majority of its day-to-day team, and the company takes a lot of pride in being strong during its own growing season in the state.

“During the summer here in the mountains of western North Carolina, we have long, warm days and cooler nights,” Grant said. “Couple this with the fertile, river bottom valley soils and we can produce very high quality, and great tasting tomatoes and vegetables. We will pick here in the mountains until the frost, which is usually around Oct. 10. After we are done picking here, we can continue to pick down off the mountain as they usually stay warmer for a couple more weeks.”

Sustainability is important to those at Flavor 1st. To be pollinator healthy, the company works with North Carolina State University, chemical suppliers and the Bayer Bee Care Center in Raleigh, NC on extensive research into bee health, including pesticide application methods that are safe for bees.

“In our packinghouse, we have implemented some new equipment that allows us to package some traditional tray items without a tray, reducing our packaging significantly,” Grant said. “We are using a 100 percent post-consumer recycled content tray for a lot of our trayed veg items. We have meters in our warehouse that monitor water usage, and we recycle all corrugated and plastic waste.”

The company has high hopes for its local summer season, with Grant citing some of the best growing weather last year, which he hopes repeats in 2024.

“A lot of states around us had a ton of rain last summer, but we were fortunate to stay relatively dry, and warm but not too hot,” he said. “This led to good yields and very good quality coming off our farms last summer. We have plastic pulled, and our first tomato plantings in the ground already, and we are looking forward to a good summer season.”

The key to maintaining strong partnerships is constant communication from plantings all the way through delivery. This includes everyone from the farm level, through the warehouse and office and to retail partners.

“With all of the uncertainties that we deal with in produce, unexpected issues do happen,” Grant said. “This is how we execute year-round consistency in getting healthy, great tasting produce on the kitchen counter and dinner tables of our neighbors.”

 Customer feedback is really important to Flavor 1st knowing that at the end of the day, if the consumer doesn’t like the product, then they aren’t going to buy it.

“We are always listening to what customers have to say, trialing new varieties, and working to improve our supply chain to maximize our efficiencies for the consumer to enjoy everything that we grow on our farms,” Grant said. “We want to continue to grow with our partners, while also making sure that we stay true to what has made us successful up to this point; a high level of customer service.”

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

Tagged in:

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -