18 S G M A G A Z I N E | FA L L 2 0 1 8 AGRICULTURE A Cut Above the Rest Baker Farms Is a Leader in Production of Leafy Greens When Terry started farming, he had a few acres, and it was primarily a one-man operation. As in most farm families, the Baker children grew up working on the farm between school and other activities. In 1989, Joe became a partner with his dad and assists in the overall management of Baker Farms. After working in the healthcare field, Richard joined Baker Farms to oversee food safety. Growing mostly row crops and traditional southern vegetables within Colquitt County—the largest vegetable and row crop producing county in Georgia—Baker Farms built a reputation on providing consumers exceptional produce. In 2000, Baker Farms changed from growing row crops to leafy greens including collards, kale, mustards, and turnips, which were not commonly grown in the area on a large commercial scale. After securing its position as a leader in bulk (boxed) greens, the next step involved keeping the entire process, from seed to store, in-house. In 2014, a new processing facility came online, and Baker Farms introduced bagged greens for retail distribution. The value-added bagged greens are chopped, pre-washed, and ready to eat. Baker Farms operates year-round and ships a variety of bulk and bagged leafy greens to retailers, wholesalers, and food service companies throughout the East Coast and Canada. “When an order comes in, then we go out and cut greens,” said Heath Wetherington, who is married to Jennifer and oversees general operations at Baker Farms. “We plant the leafy greens every two weeks, so we always have a fresh crop.” Wetherington said the backbone of the company is bulk greens, but the individual family size bags of kale, turnips, mustards, and collards are gaining popularity with consumers. The Culinary Craze With more people looking for healthier eating options, the convenient bagged greens have become big business. Collards, kale, mustards, and turnips dominate the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of “powerhouse” foods. Kale, for example, is packed with vitamins and minerals. At just 33 calories per cup, kale is an excellent source of fiber and provides a healthy surplus of vitamins A, C, and K. Contributed Photo Baker family on their farm in Norman Park. Just outside Norman Park, you will find the farm that Terry and Dale Baker started nearly 50 years ago. As the Bakers were raising their two sons, Joe and Richard, and daughter, Jennifer, farming was, and still is, a family tradition.