Verne Gingerich is the current Gingerich in charge of the day-to-day operations at the farm. His two son's, Tristan and Theran, are now following in the family tradition and are working closely with Verne, learning what it takes to keep the farm moving forward. This area is for Verne, Theran, Tristan, and others, to talk about . . . Well, whatever. Enjoy!
To catch everyone up, much has changed since the last posting to this page. As stated, Theran and Tristan have both moved back into the area and are working on the farm. Theran has taken on the role of Field Operations Manager, being in control of field related operations; planting, pruning, harvest, and the like. Tristan is now the farms Plant Operations Manager, in control of the blueberry packing operations; grower relations, equipment, finances, and other related areas on the farm.
Besides this, the brothers work constantly with Verne in the day to day decisions that have to be made on the farm. Verne is well known not only in the blueberry, grass seed, and hazelnut industries, but also in the surrounding communities, so the brothers are working to gain those same ties.
Our organic fields are well on their way, having been Organically Certified for many years now, giving us an on-farm source of organic blueberries that we've been selling mostly as fresh locally. Our certifications are done through OR-TILTH (Oregon Tilth), one of the regional NOP (National Organic Program) certifying bodies.
We started last season packing our fresh conventional blueberries under the Gourmet Trading label. We have worked for many years, off and on, with Gourmet Trading, starting in 2010 when we packed a local growers fruit under their label. This led to us packing some of the fruit from Gourmet's California fields into frozen each year. We have always enjoyed working with Gourmet through the years and hope to continue doing so in the future. To top it all off, one of Verne's daughters, Caylan, works for Gourmet.
Last fall, we removed a few blueberry fields in our conventional fields, roughly 12 acres. These fields each had something against them, a couple just didn't produce well for many years. One field did well on the producing side, but it was an older variety of blueberry that gets soft fast and limited our ability to pack it for fresh. There is another 10 acres of blueberries on the other side of the conventional fields that suffer from the same lack of production, never seeming to reach their expected size or potential. There are plans to remove them this year.
As stated here previously, we still maintain our 3rd Party Audits for the farm and the blueberry packing house. We are still certified by GlobalGAP. GlobalGAP is a farm certifying body that originated in the European Union (EU). It was originally known as EuroGAP. Although their inspection covered a wide variety of areas on the farm and fields, it seemed to focus on overall good land stewardship and ecologically sound farming practices, aiming at where, with-what and how we were farming and growing our crop.
We are now certified for PrimusGFS in our packing house. This is a globally recognized bench-marked food safety inspection (as is GlobalGAP). PrimusGFS and GlobalGAP could either cover both the packing house and fields, but we decided to use them both, just aimed at the two different areas, as GlobalGAP is more recognized when one talks about field inspections, and PrimusGFS is more recognized when talking about Packing Operations. At least, that's what we see when dealing with growers or customers.
We are still inspected and certified through the USDA Federal/State program for blueberry fields, general farm and pack shed as it does still look at a few things differently. As stated, we're still Organic certified for our blueberry fields and pack shed, and maintain our Kosher certification for our pack shed. We also receive food safety inspections from the FDA and USDA.