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Dublin Farms anticipating early start due to good spring weather

Horntown, VA-based Dublin Farms Inc., grows, packs and ships potatoes for the fresh market. The company also grows snap beans for processing, as well as corn, soy beans and wheat for the poultry industry. These crops are beneficial for rotation purposes, confirming the company’s claim as being conscientious stewards of the land.

In late May, David Hickman, vice president of the company, told The Produce News that the Eastern Shore has had ideal growing conditions.

“We had a warm and dry March, and since then we’ve gotten adequate rainfall and good temperatures,” said Hickman. “Our potato crops are running a week to 10 days ahead of schedule.”

Dublin Farms will begin harvesting whites and reds around June 21. Yellows will start after July 4.

IMG 0743Horntown, VA-based Dublin Farms Inc., grows, packs and ships potatoes for the fresh market.Dublin Farms continues to promote its Produce Traceability Initiative system installed three years ago. The barcode system gives the GPS location of the field where every potato is grown, improving traceability on products and keeping it on the leading edge of food safety.

In 2010, the company was certified Good Agriculture Practices. In 2013, it was certified under the new GAP Harmonized audit.

“We will have our Primus third-party audit in 2017,” added Hickman.

The company produces several potato varieties in each round white, redskin and yellow flesh. It digs, packages and refrigerates its potatoes overnight prior to shipping. Its customers are retailers, including chain stores, wholesalers, repackers and brokers at terminal markets. It distributes from Miami to Canada.

Dublin ships heaviest into Northeastern cities in the early part of the season when that region is not producing. When North Carolina and other southern states stop shipping, it begins moving potatoes in the Southeast markets.

Hickman pointed out that the buy local trend is a big market for the company.

“The Virginia Department of Agriculture helps us to promote the Virginia Grown initiative by supplying customers with point-of-sale materials,” he said.

The Dublin Farms’ website is continually updated. It provides customers with current crop conditions, product quality and photos. It also provides daily prices and enables customers to place orders.

“This year we created a Facebook page with updates on crop conditions to help educate customers as well as consumers,” said Hickman.

“But I feel it’s equally important to connect with our customers directly,” he continued. “Nothing beats a one-on-one conversation.”