People Behind The Plants: Liza Graham, Director of Crop Care
We’ve decided to start a new series here on the Backyard Farms blog. With over 200 full time employees working hard behind the scenes of our 42-acre greenhouse, we think it’s time to introduce you to some of them so you not only know WHERE your food comes from but WHO is growing it, picking it and packing it for you.
First up, we have Liza Graham, Director of Crop Care.
Liza came to us directly out of college as a part-time crop care worker. We can barely believe she'll be celebrating her 10-year anniversary with us in June! Employees who were here when Liza started are quick to recall how hard she worked from Day 1, handling physical jobs like lowering plants and rolling up tarps with ease. Liza's work ethic earned her several promotions over the years, beginning with Crop Team Lead where she mentored and trained her co-workers. From there, Liza became Packhouse Manager where she oversaw all activities from the time our tomatoes are picked to the moment they are shipped. That experience gave Liza a complete understanding of our business but growing is her true passion. She eventually went back into the greenhouse as Crop Care Manager where she furthered her reputation for leading by example. In July of last year, Liza's hard work paid off with her most recent promotion to Crop Care Director.
A day in the life
Liza’s day at Backyard Farms begins at about 5am. The first thing she does when she gets to the greenhouse is answer emails before the first meeting of the day begins. Yes, even tomato growers have meetings to keep us all on the same page. From there, Liza "walks the rows" and checks in with her team of six people who fill her in on how the plants are growing, how the tomatoes are looking and how our employees are doing so she knows that everyone and every THING is getting what they need to succeed in our greenhouse. This involves everything from the overall health of the plants, monitoring the populations of pests like aphids and white flies and ensuring our quality/food safety policies and procedures are being followed to the letter.
Favorite part about working at Backyard Farms
When we asked Liza her favorite part about working at Backyard Farms, her answer made us smile. “Knowing I am part of something much larger than me,” she said. She loves having the opportunity to watch the tomatoes grow from start to finish and from our farm to our customers' tables.
The Florino, which is the name of the specific variety of cocktail tomatoes that we grow in the greenhouse. Liza likes her cocktail tomatoes cut into quarters with feta cheese and a little balsamic drizzle.
Outside the farm
When Liza isn’t in the greenhouse you can find her spending time with her husband and her 8-year-old daughter whose current favorite hobby is basketball!
The one thing she wants people to know about Backyard Farms
“The people are special,” she said. “Each person at Backyard Farms is here for a reason and they truly believe in what we are doing here.”
Liza is just one of over 200 real people working hard at every step of the growing, picking and packing process. Stay tuned for more People Behind the Plants soon!