People Behind the Plants | Phil DuPerry
Don’t let our serene Instagram photos of beautiful tomatoes and peaceful rows of plants fool you, our 42-acre greenhouse is a very busy place. From trolleys transporting clippings and packed tomatoes to forklifts moving palates from the packing line to the cooler, there’s always something going on and a lot of hard, physical work being done. It starts at 6am when our crop care workers arrive to begin their days and continues throughout the night while our maintenance team updates our systems.
At Backyard Farms, the only thing we care about more than the quality of our tomatoes is the health and safety of our people. Luckily for us, we have an extremely dedicated, detail-oriented man looking out for all of our employees to make sure our greenhouse is as safe as it can possibly. Meet Phil DuPerry, our Safety and Health Manager who has been with us since we created his position about two years ago. Before we hired Phil, the job was split between our quality assurance team and human resources. After we conducted an internal review of our operation and asked our employees for ideas on how to make Backyard Farms a better place to work, we decided that we needed someone 100% focused on safety, accident prevention and employee wellness.
A typical day in the life of a Safety Manager
Phil spends the vast majority of his time walking our entire facility to make sure our workplace is safe and that all of our employees are following our policies and procedures. Phil also answers questions and coaches our employees on everything from how to stay hydrated on hot summer days to making sure employees take time to stretch throughout EVERY day. He does a lot of reading to stay current on the latest safety technologies, tactics and trends to ensure Backyard Farms is keeping pace.
Favorite part of Backyard Farms?
“The people,” he says. As a gardener himself, “I can see the passion in the employees who work here.”
What Phil is most proud of
It didn’t take Phil more than a second to respond to this question. He replied, “Helping people see how they can improve the way they do their job and then watching them achieve those improvements.”
What Phil wants you to know about Backyard Farms
“What a great place it is to work,” Phil says. He really appreciates the different kinds of people who work at Backyard Farms and the many different interests they have. Many of our employees are raising families, yet they still find time to volunteer and give back. “Our people have tremendous work ethics and it shows in how community oriented they are.”
Phil's hobbies outside of the greenhouse
When it comes to giving back to the community, Phil is every bit as active as the co-workers he raves about. He regularly volunteers at the Colby College Community Garden, a garden that donates its food to local soup kitchens in the Waterville area which is less than 20 minutes from our greenhouse. Phil also loves spending time outdoors all year-round where he enjoys hunting, fishing, and kayaking.
Phil's favorite tomato recipe
While Phil is quick to reply that tomato sauce is his favorite way to use our tomatoes. He’s less willing to share the details of his mom’s recipe. Given how much time Phil spends looking out for our employees, we’ll let him keep one secret to himself.
Thanks, Phil for keeping our employees safe and thank YOU for reading this month's edition of People Behind the Plants! CLICK HERE to learn about other Backyard Farms employees working hard every day in all kinds of different jobs that enable us to grow, pick, pack, ship and sell fresh tomatoes all year-round!