San Francisco, CA (February 24, 2015) – Fresh Solutions Network, already one of the largest potato suppliers in the U.S., today announced that Mack Farms has joined their network of best-in-industry grower/shipper partners. This exciting addition brings a major Southeast potato grower with significant early-season volume into the Fresh Solutions Network, as well as partnering with an owner-grower who shares the same passion for providing the highest-quality products and superior customer service.
Based in Lake Wales, Florida, Mack Farms began operations in 1967 growing, packing and shipping watermelons. Since then they’ve added potatoes, cabbage, sweet corn and sweet onions to their mix. Mack Farms grows and packs central and north Florida potatoes from early February through June, and offers the earliest new crop potatoes available each year. They specialize in red potatoes, which account for around 65% of their total potato volume. But yellow potatoes are becoming increasingly important, making up another 25% of shipments, with the balance split between white potatoes, Russets and Fingerlings.
Arnold Mack, President and CEO of Mack Farms, has a straightforward view about growing his business. “You’ve got to put profit back into growth, or else you’ll stagnate” states Arnold, and recent investments are evidence of this belief. Mack Farms recently acquired Okeechobee, Florida-based Eagle Island Farms, adding 3,500 acres in South Florida and a second packing and storage facility to their operations. Mack Farms has doubled their cooler space over the past 5 years, and are in the process of adding another 25-30% to their refrigerated capacity. They have acquired new packaging capabilities for small potatoes as well as investing in new specialty grading equipment that gives them state-of-the-art sizing capabilities. And they’re still growing – Mack Farms is currently finalizing another major addition to their already-substantial acreage.
Mack Farms ships product all over the East Coast, servicing states east of the Mississippi as well as Texas. With retail sales accounting for roughly 75% of their volume, Mack Farms has seen sales to retail chain customers more than double over the past decade. “We want to align our business with the premier retail operators” said Ken Wiles, Vice President of Sales and General Manager of Mack Farms. “That way, as they grow, we grow”.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mack Farms as the newest partner to Fresh Solutions Network” exclaimed Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network. “Their potato quality and range of offerings are the perfect complement to our other grower/shipper Network partners, and their Florida location strengthens our capabilities for servicing retail and foodservice customers in the southern states. Plus, their ability to harvest and ship the earliest new-crop potatoes will be a real value-adding benefit to our customers throughout the entire country.”
“At Fresh Solutions Network, we believe in the power of collaboration” Triou continued. “Collaboration is so powerful precisely because of the uniqueness of each of our members, which is why we are so excited to add Mack Farms to our strong and unique Network.”