Headquarters & Minnesota Greenhouse
Bushel Boy Farms
215 32nd Avenue SW
Owatonna, MN 55060
(507) 451-5692

Iowa Greenhouse
Bushel Boy Farms
4660 South Monroe Avenue
Mason City, IA 50401
(641) 548-7322

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Channel One 2016 Donor of the Year

Bushel Boy Farms Receives Donor of the Year Award from Channel One Regional Food Bank

Channel One Regional Food Bank is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2016 Food Bank Donor of the Year Award. Bushel Boy Farms, which produces fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes year-round, received the award for their efforts to help end hunger through their consistent and generous donations of fresh, healthy tomatoes.

Since 2004, Bushel Boy has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds of their locally grown, greenhouse tomatoes. Grown in a facility encompassing 28 acres in Owatonna, Bushel Boy sends fresh tomatoes daily to retailers in and around Minnesota. Whenever Bushel Boy has a surplus of tomatoes, they partner with Channel One in their efforts to end hunger by getting them into the homes of clients in need. Whether Bushel Boy delivers to Channel One, or a Channel One truck picks up at Bushel Boy, their coordinated efforts help ensure these fresh and healthy tomatoes are put to good use.

“We are incredibly grateful to Bushel Boy for their generous support and amazing donations through the years. It is wonderful to see our client’s faces light up with excitement when we have juicy, red Bushel Boy tomatoes for them to take in our Food Shelf!” said Jennifer Woodford, executive director of Channel One Regional Food Bank.

“Bushel Boy Farms is a pioneer in extending the growing season in Minnesota, and we take pride in providing fresh, healthy produce to help families in need get good nutrition,” said Steve Irland, Bushel Boy President.

Channel One provides food assistance to over 100,000 individuals throughout the 14-county service area of Southeast Minnesota and La Crosse County, Wisconsin, and depends on the generous food donations from distributors, growers, manufacturers and retailers. Bushel Boy’s partnership with Channel One makes a difference in the fight against hunger.

Learn more about Channel One Regional Food Bank.

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Bushel Boy’s Steve Irland accepting the award

Bushel Boy is Pioneer in Extending the Growing Season

Bushel Boy Farms among companies extending growing season for tomatoes in Minnesota

Gardeners love the flavorful tomatoes they nurture for a few weeks each summer, but they’d be astonished at the growing season in Owatonna.

There, beneath 24 acres of glass just outside the southern Minnesota city, each plant produces fresh tomatoes for about 27 weeks in a row. It’s the home of Bushel Boy Farms, where year-round production yields 12 million pounds of vine-on and beefsteak tomatoes destined for major supermarkets in and around Minnesota.

“We can put a tomato on your plate right here in Minnesota year-round that you know is safe, wholesome and will taste like a garden tomato in January,” said Keith Kersten, Bushel Boy’s CEO.

The greenhouse farm is riding a wave of success as the popularity of locally grown produce has become a nationwide trend. A pioneer in extending the growing season in Minnesota, the private company does not release sales figures, but in 2015 it added a 4-acre greenhouse to its older system, and plans to build another 4 acres this summer.

Rick Steigerwald, vice president of fresh foods for Lunds & Byerlys, said his company started partnering with Bushel Boy in 1995, when year-round tomatoes grown in Minnesota were “pretty unheard of.”

“They were ahead of their time,” he said. “They’ve done a great job building a brand around locally grown, but also what really made them successful over the years is the quality and the taste.”

Steigerwald said it’s unusual in the produce industry to have a brand, which he credits to the vision of Bushel Boy’s former owner Jay Johnson.

“Where Jay was also way ahead of the curve was that he wanted to be close to market,” Steigerwald said. “Their trucks go right from the greenhouses direct to our stores, and you can’t get much fresher than that unless you grew it in the store.”

That’s easier said than done.

To read the full article, click here.

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