WP Rawl stands the test of time with sustainability and innovation
Established in 1925 as a local small crop farm in Pelion, SC, Walter P. Rawl & Sons has grown into a national, multi-generational business, selling leafy greens and specialty vegetables. A clear understanding of consumer demands for sustainability has driven innovation and success. “Today’s consumer is more likely to prefer packaging that is recyclable and we have heard that message from them for years,” said Ashley Rawl, vice president of sales, marketing and product development, as well as grandson to founder Walter P. Rawl.
The company showcased its most recent innovation at the IFPA Global Food & Floral Expo in Orlando, FL. After a few years of research and development, the company launched a new, sustainable, 100 percent recyclable package via store drop off for its company brand, Nature’s Greens. “The back of each package clearly communicates the four-step process from How2Recycle, a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public,” Rawl said. “This makes us the first-to-market with recyclable packaging in our category. We are also working on other sustainable packaging solutions and projects in and around our facilities to help us achieve sustainability as a whole.”
Another feature that sets apart the company from other companies is the use of the vertical integration business model. “As a vertically integrated company, WP Rawl is able to consistently enhance business operations by our ability of having complete control of each stage of our operation,” said Rawl. “This goes from hand-picking each seed, to planting, harvesting, storing, processing and distributing our vegetables. We also have a dedicated fleet of trucks and refrigerated trailers ready to deliver freshly picked vegetables in hours instead of days.”
Rawl noted as the premier grower, processor and shipper of collard, kale, turnip and mustard greens in the U.S., his company has also placed a large emphasis on surety of supply, especially over the last 18 to 24 months. “We have made great strides in continuing to provide WPR grown products to our customers during traditionally challenging time periods,” he said. “We are currently in the midst of our busy season rush for the holidays, and making sure all of our customers and consumers have plenty of leafy greens for the upcoming holiday season. We are continuing the conversation and working on additional improvements to set us up for even more success in the coming year.”
The company is continuing to invest for future growth, having several production facilities concentrated along the East Coast from New York to Pennsylvania, Virginia to the Carolinas and southward into Florida. “In South Carolina we are in the process of installing optical sorters in our processing facility, which will help with production line efficiencies and quality,” said Rawl. “In Florida we have expanded our production operations and have added acreage to our northeast growing operations.”
WP Rawl also has partner growers in North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, New York, Colorado and California. With nine family members working in the business today and several hundred employees, they will be celebrating 100 years in 2025. “We are very excited to hit that milestone, but are even more excited for what is to come. We are just getting started,” he said.