Green Giant Fresh Blog

Meet The Team: Green Giant® Fresh Grower Mike Hitchcock

Mike Hitchcock, Partner - Mission Ranches and American Farms

Here is the second in our continuing series of Meet the Team blog posts, where we introduce you to the staff and team members at Green Giant® Fresh as well as those who work alongside us in a variety of produce-related fields (pun intended).

Today we’re spotlighting Mike Hitchcock, a partner with Mission Ranches and American Farms. Mike has been growing for Green Giant Fresh since 1987.

Green Giant Fresh: Tell us a little about your background and why you went into agriculture as a career?

Mike Hitchcock: My dad was in banking, but I always knew that I’d like to go into the agricultural business. I went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where I received my Bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Green Giant Fresh: How did you get your start in agriculture?

MH: I was working in the agricultural pest control business when I had the opportunity to go into partnership with a conventional grower. Later we formed Mission Ranches and American Farms. I enjoyed the farming business and applied my aptitude for numbers to help the business out. I’m more on the harvesting side — not the growing side, mostly broccoli harvesting. But we do other commodities too, like sweet baby broccoli, iceberg lettuce, romaine, cauliflower and spring mix.

Green Giant Fresh: Where are your growing areas?

MH: We grow all around Monterey County and San Benito County, Calif., specifically King City, Chualar and Gilroy.

Green Giant Fresh: And your favorite veggie to eat:

MH: Sweet baby broccoli, of course!

Green Giant Fresh: Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own garden?

MH: Make sure to choose the right crops for your area while making sure it’s tasty for everyone to enjoy!

Green Giant Fresh: What exactly is the difference between “harvesting” side and “growing” side of the produce business?

MH: The growing side focuses more on growing the crop from seed to maturity of the plant. The harvesting side focuses on the mature plant — cutting it, cooling it and getting it to the shipper, who sends it out to your local grocery store.

Green Giant Fresh: How do you view your employees and how they fit in the scheme of things?

MH: Mission Ranches and American Farms have many people who are specialists at what they do. Our supervisors specialize in a particular crop in order to pinpoint problems and react to those problems with an expertise that provides a solution. Each type of produce brings along its own set of challenges that we face each growing cycle, so having specialized supervisors and teams assures us the best care will be taken with each crop.

Green Giant Fresh: As a harvester, what advice do you have for people who want to choose the right crop for their particular area?

MH: First and foremost, make of list of your favorite fruits and vegetables that you’d like to grow. Then, I would suggest heading to your local nursery to do a little research on what’s appropriate for your particular local climate. Different varieties grow better in different areas because of factors that include the weather, terrain and soil conditions.

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