|Family Owned and Operated
Hinkle Produce is a family owned and operated
business. It maintains hands-on control of every aspect on their 2000
acre vegetable farm. Today, over 150 employees work for Hinkle Produce
during a fourteen week season harvesting and packing 1000 acres of
sweet corn and 1000 acres of pumpkins. The packing is done in a 23,000
sq. ft. building that includes two specially designed hydro-coolers, a
cold storage room and an ice-maker that generates 35 tons per day. In
2004 and 2008, new 23,000 sq. ft. and 18,000 sq. ft. buildings were built to handle the increase
in pumpkin production, allowing us to ship 20 – 30 semi loads of
palletized bin pumpkins and 6 – 8 semi loads of sweet corn daily.
Over the past 30 years, the equipment and
facilities at Hinkle Produce may have changed but its philosophy has
not. Hinkle Produce has built its reputation on quality, reliability,
honesty and giving to the needy, along with providing many jobs in
Dan and Mary Hinkle
Exceeding Industry Standards
In the year 2000, a Standard Operating Procedures
and Good Agriculture Practices manual and program was initiated with
the help of Primus Labs, in order to comply with and exceed industry
and government standards in response to food quality and safety.
A privately funded Research & Development
Program ensures cutting edge techniques are used in production,
resulting in increased quality – our #1 objective. Working with seed
and chemical companies to test new products gives Hinkle Produce the
edge on new developments not available to other growers. Using these
special techniques, Hinkle Produce is able to produce higher quality,
disease free products, with longer shelf life. Hinkle Produce spends
over $100,000 annually on sweet corn & pumpkin research.
Planting and Harvesting
During planting, precision planters are used for
a controlled depth planting and track caterpillars reduce soil
compaction. Our fleet of 27 tractors, 3 harvesters, 14 trucks, 3
sprayers and other support equipment, along with experienced local
workers, insure that every operation is done in a timely fashion. The
end result is a more uniform crop development and size, along with
increased production, timely deliveries, and satisfied customers.
During harvest, the corn is picked early in the
morning with a corn harvester designed to eliminate mechanical damage
and leave the flag leaves for a hand pulled look of quality and
freshness. It is then brought to the packing-house where it is hand
sorted for quality. Only US Fancy ears are put into a specially
designed corrugated or plastic box and only new containers are used to
eliminate contamination problems. The next step is to cool the boxed
corn with water of 34 degrees. The coolers recycle 13,000 gallons per
minute of water that is purified by a new ionizer system, which kills
bacteria better than the old chlorine method. This process extends
shelf life and adds to the quality of the product.
From there the cartons are each iced, banded,
palletized and stacked in a cold room at 35 degrees. This process,
although costly, slows the process that converts sugar to starch and
keeps it fresh. The corn is shipped on new or #1 pallets the same day.
Fresh Market Pumpkins and Watermelon
A few years ago Hinkle Produce expanded its
operation to include fresh market pumpkins. This developed into a Valu-Added
Pumpkin Program with a high graphic Kid Magnet bin, available to all
growers nationwide. The Pumpkin Patch bin graphics were created to
mirror children’s books and toys with characters based on Halloween.
While stores move more product with Hinkle’s unique bins, the Hinkle
Community Program supplies them with cuddly stuffed animals and
coloring books to donate to local needy children. This program was
conceived as a merchandising tool to attract more customers and
increase store profits while contributing to the community. What’s
better than bringing a smile to a needy child’s face?
Following the success of pumpkins, a Valu-Added
Watermelon Program was introduced in the Spring of 2002. Bins are
available to all growers nationwide. A week-long test was conducted
prior to Easter at three locations. The results showed that twice as
many melons were sold out of the children friendly Watermelon Patch
bins as compared to others. With Hinkle’s Community Program, retailers
are not just moving more produce, they are moving the hearts of the
less fortunate by donating books and toys to local needy children.
This gesture brightens the lives of underprivileged children and
reaffirms Hinkle Produce’s community status as a good neighbor.
Targeting the Shoppers of Tomorrow
Hinkle Produce has proven that by targeting
children in sales promotion, you will increase sales. In 2007, Hinkle
Produce secured the rights to the “Peanuts” brand, launching a
nationwide branding program for fresh fruits and vegetables. Packaging
will be manufactured by International Paper and is available to all
growers and retailers nationwide, targeting our children, the future
shoppers of tomorrow.
Hinkle Produce endeavors to provide a quality
product at a fair price. The owners believe in giving back to the
community through annual donations in excess of 3/4 million lbs. to
many food banks and local organizations. Dan and Mary Hinkle have
committed $500,000 worth of books and toys to be given away through
their Community Program over the next several years.