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Backyard Farms in MaineBiz

The last time Lori Valigra wrote about Backyard Farms in MaineBiz, she was talking about how we'd just overcome the white fly epidemic that knocked us out of business for nearly a year. As we continue celebrating our ten-year anniversary, we thought we'd invite Lori to come see the changes we've made since that difficult time and provide her readers with an update. CLICK HERE to read Lori's complete article at MaineBiz.com and scroll through the images below for some behind-the-scenes images through the lens of photographer Dave Clough.

The first photo Dave took was of our President, Stuart Jabon. Note the blue glove on Stuart's right hand. It's strictly forbidden for anyone at Backyard Farms to touch our tomatoes with their bare hands -- even our President.

When Stuart walked out of the row, Dave was mesmerized by how long it was -- an 1/8 of a mile to be exact and each crop care worker tends ten of them as part of their daily responsbilities in the greenhouse. Dave couldn't resist taking a photo of the empty row and the image he got is quite striking.

Speaking of crop care workers, while Dave waited for our Head Grower to arrive, Kelsey Brown graciously agreed to pose for a photo after finishing up in one of her rows. As you can see on the sign on Kelsey's scissor lift, we're big on pride of ownership and accountability at Backyard Farms. Every row is labeled with the name of the crop care worker who takes care of it. We do this not only so each worker feels responsible but every other employee knows who is doing what.

As Head Grower Tony Stevens was posing for his photograph, team lead and resident prankster Crystal Pressey happened to be walking by. Tony seized the opportunity to turn the tables on Crystal and insisted on her joining him in front of Dave's lense. While you'd have to work for us to truly appreciate how funny this photo is, just know that 99 times out of 100 it's Crystal who has the big smile and someone else in the greenhouse wearing a sheepish grin.

The fluorescent lights inside the packhouse pose a significant challenge to taking nice photographs but we really like how this one came out. This is the final inspection point for tomatoes destined for restaurants and other food service accounts. As you can see by the sheer number of brown cardboard boxes, a lot of our tomatoes end up on burgers and sandwiches and in soups, salads and sauces all over the northeast!

Lori Valigra was fascinated with this machine. She didn't have room to run it in the final article so we're including it here as a special thank you for making the trip. If you've ever bought our cluster tomatoes or our beefsteak tomatoes, this is the machine that applies the blue PLU sticker. Once each box enters the machine, it snaps a photo of the contents and sends instructions that tell the two spools in the background where to apply the stickers. It's literally the only fully automated function inside Backyard Farms.

On his way home, Dave stopped to take this photo of the entrance to our facility. As you can see, Dave visited on a day when it was warm enough to melt the snowbanks around the greenhouse, some of which had grown to be more than 7 feet high. Even though it's "Always Tomato Season" at Backyard Farms, we're every bit as excited for spring and summer as you are. Thanks for taking the time to explore Dave's photos and be sure to read Lori's full article on Mainebiz.com!

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