By Andy Berliner, co-founder of Amy’s Kitchen
Amy’s Kitchen uses a lot of beans. Four million pounds combined black and pinto beans to be exact. Most of these are supplied by Spud Brown Farms, a family farm located in Royal City, Washington, right off the Columbia River. And it’s a real family farm, run by Spud with the help of his oldest son Steele and his two younger sons, Cash and Colt, who now have graduated college and work full time handling all the operations from planting to harvesting.
Amy’s has been buying from Spud’s farm for almost a decade. Our first purchases were for 250,000 pounds of beans (mixed pinto and black). Now they are in the neighborhood of 1.2 million pounds! That is quite a bit of growth. Knowing that he can easily sell his crop at a decent price to a steady customer eliminates the element of uncertainty and allows him to do what he does best, which is to grow the best produce possible.
“Having this relationship with Amy’s has inspired me to make changes in farming practices, including new varieties of beans, the purchase of new equipment and improved harvesting techniques that allows me to deliver a high quality product,” says Spud.
And Amy’s appreciates doing business with Spud, who is prompt and reliable and provides beans that are organic, of high quality and practically free from the vast number of small stones and rocks that often accompany beans and are the bane of a food manufacture’s life, usually requiring hours of sifting and screening. Spud cherishes the land by farming it organically, and wouldn’t think of growing his crops from genetically modified seeds.
All in all, this mutually respectful and profitable relationship is one which Amy’s aims for in all dealings with suppliers, employees, distributors, retailers and most of all, our customers…the people who eat our food. “It's the niche in the bean market that I’ve worked all these years to achieve,” says Spud, “and Amy’s has been the best company in the organic industry to supply to.”
Andy Berliner co-founded Amy’s Kitchen with his wife Rachel in 1988. After over 25 years, Amy’s is still family-owned and Andy is actively involved in leading the growing business. Amy’s now makes over 200 products and distributes them internationally, but Andy is still deeply connected to the everyday work at Amy's. He taste-tests every new product and can often be found in the kitchens, visiting with the people who carefully prepare Amy’s Kitchen meals. To learn more about Amy’s Kitchen, our family, our farmers, our philosophy and our products, please go to the Amy’s web site: www.amys.com.