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Torrey Farms a key player in the New York produce deal

Torrey Farms is a key player in the New York produce deal, and that makes sense since the farm’s tradition dates back to the 1600s.

“We’re a major supplier in the summer of cucumbers, green beans, cabbage, and we have over 1,000 acres of each of those,” said Maureen Torrey, co-owner of the Elba, NY-based farm. “We have about 300 acres of zucchini and yellow squash, and then about 150 acres of winter squash and then about 150 acres of miniature pumpkins. We have about 500 acres of potatoes, which are round, white and yellow. We have about 2,200 acres of onions, and over 1,000 acres of green beans.”

Those are, she said, the tried-and-true vegetables that have been at the core of the farm for generations, and are the basics of the produce department and a healthy diet. It’s all part of Torrey Farm’s mission, which she noted has helped secure its place in the New York produce segment.

And what is that mission?

IMG 0127Cabbage is one of two crops that Torrey Farms Inc. ships for 11 months out of the year. With this extended marketing window, the company is able to build upon its reputation as a local supplier of quality product. Photo courtesy of Torrey Farms Inc.“To grow the best quality product possible, to provide good service to your customers, to be innovative, trying new tools, and being able to be sustainable,” Torrey said.” And to invest in your employees and to have them feel the pride in what we do and we what provide.”

The Torrey family came to America from England in the 1600s because of disagreements with the church. The family settled in Lebanon, CT, and later moved in a search of better soil. In 1803, John Torrey settled in Genesee County, and the farm has been in that area ever since.

That search for the best soil set the standard that Torrey uses today, centuries later, as the farm depends on the quality of its land to grow its crops. Torrey Farms is devoted to preservation and sustainability of natural resources. It places emphasis on environmentally minded practices, and is committed to food safety and good agricultural practices.

In terms of recent developments, Torrey said her family farm is using more H-2A employees, and is building a new onion-packing facility.

“We had a fire Thanksgiving Day, so we’ll be investing in new equipment and a new building,” she said. “We just keep investing in our technology and farming equipment, whatever we can do to be more efficient and to increase quality.”

She added that there are good signs for the upcoming season, despite the unpredictable weather that has defined this spring.

“The weather has been very interesting,” she said. “April started off nice and normal then we went to rainy and cold. Now we’re gaining some heat, it creates challenges as to what you’re going to be able to plant and when you’re going to be able to get them planted.”

And aside from some crops being late, she says yields are looking good.

“The onions look very good, both the transplants and the seeded,” Torrey said. “Our other crops like the beans and the cucumbers are just coming up, and cabbage went in well.”