When Sarah Frey was still in elementary school, she helped her mom sell melons. She took what she learned – and earned – and started Frey Farms in 1992, while still a teenager. Today, Frey Farms is the largest pumpkin grower in America, and the second largest watermelon producer on the East Coast. The farm’s other crops include cantaloupe, sweet corn, gourds and squash.
The company is dedicated to using resources wisely and to growing and delivering fresh, safe, delicious food and ingredients while incorporating sustainability into farming operations.
“We have 12,000 to 15,000 acres of produce grown annually in seven states,” says Tony Phillips, Chief Operations Officer, Frey Farms. “It’s hard to predict exact harvest dates, and navigate equipment, personnel and harvesters. On the first day of the cut, we need to be ready.”
To ensure pallet availability, eradicate empty miles and improve sustainability, Frey Farms now stores a total of approximately 50,000 of CHEP’s pooled (shared and reused) blue pallets at three farms in Florida.
“For success with watermelons, you only need three things on the floor: pallets, bins and watermelons. That’s it,” says Phillips. “CHEP is a vital part of what we do every single day.”
In keeping with the core values of Frey Farms and CHEP, the pallet storage solution also generates transportation efficiencies that reduce carbon emissions and environmental impact.
“Three things are important to retailers,” says Phillips. “You have to have quality and safety to be in the game. Over the last five years, sustainability has become the third key element. You have to create a company that’s environmentally friendly, and you have to be able to track it.”
“With CHEP, we have the pallet quality we need, for food safety and our sustainability score. CHEP pallets are shared over and over again; using reusable products enhances our ability to satisfy retailer concerns.”
In addition, Frey Farms gains a bottom-line advantage: Customers participating in the CHEP storage program receive a per-pallet-stored incentive. According to Phillips, that’s simply one more perk of partnering with CHEP.
“Along with cost savings, the storage program has eliminated our availability concerns: We’re ready to go at harvest time,” says Phillips. “I appreciate everything CHEP is doing for us as a company.”