Fresh Produce with a Global Vision – Spinaca Farms

California’s Santa Clara Valley was once called the “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” a nod to its abundant fruit orchards, fertile soil and Mediterranean climate. Today, farmers continue to make good use of the valley’s growing conditions, even as the region has become better known as Silicon Valley.

Spinaca Farms is a family produce operation based in Morgan Hill, about 20 miles southeast of San Jose. Founded by Rick and Jeannette Andrade in 2001, the business has become a year-round supplier for national produce brands such as Earthbound Farm, Fresh Express, Taylor Farms and Classic Salads. In 2004, the couple brought on their son Zack, and today he leads the company as its president.

“Growing crops is very satisfying because you have the gratification of starting from scratch and producing something that’s going to feed someone else,” said Zack Andrade. “When I had the opportunity to join the business after college, I jumped at the chance.”

Driving Sustainability with a ‘Root-to-Shoot’ Model

Growing fresh produce is a delicate and time-sensitive business. Perishable greens must be delivered to stores and then sold to consumers in a matter of days, or even hours. Much of the edible portion of these plants is thrown away before ever reaching a grocery store.

With Zack leading the company, Spinaca Farms has launched a Root-to-Shoot program, which turns traditionally overlooked parts of produce into nutrient-rich powders, purees and juices.

“The idea is that all edible portions of the plant have a place in our modern food system,” said Zack. “We’re able to transform something that is not aesthetically pleasing for the fresh market, yet it’s still nutritious.”

BoomVeg products and catalogs from Spinaca FarmsBy exploring the wider market for food products, Zack and his team learned that health-conscious consumers were looking for easy ways to add vegetables to their diet. He had an idea that would soon become branded as BoomVeg Fresh Powders.

Today, BoomVeg offers three flagship blends, each with a host of health benefits related to the primary ingredient, from betaine (a B-complex vitamin) in beets to high levels of protein in barley. A prototype test showed that a BoomVeg powder mix was able to deliver 35% of a person’s daily recommended value of protein.

Storytelling in the Field

Part of Spinaca Farms’ success story has been rooted in transparency and building a direct relationship to consumers. The company has gained followers and customers by engaging with new audiences online, especially on social media.

“With so many platforms out there now, you have the ability as a farmer to get that message across and tell people what you’ve been doing all along,” said Zack. “You can advocate and let people know exactly what you’re doing, and that you’re using resources like water in a responsible manner.”

Workers planting produce at Spinaca FarmsKayla Mulch leads sales and marketing for Spinaca Farms’ Functional Foods program, leveraging platforms like Instagram and Facebook to share the company’s story in photos and videos. Kayla said the opportunity to show kale or spinach growing in the field brings the consumer that much closer to the farm.

“Being able to tell the story to directly to our consumers is a great opportunity because [consumers] get to see it from the ground level,” said Kayla. “I can go out to the field and take a picture of kale that’s actually going to get turned into our powder and put in the BoomVeg boxes that you see on our shelves.”

A Bright Future in Farming

More than two decades after his parents founded the business, Zack sees a bright future for Spinaca Farms. The company continues to grow as a fresh produce supplier, while also selling produce and shelf-stable products directly to consumers.

In May 2022, Spinaca Farms and its BoomVeg product line were featured at the Vitafoods Europe
Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, with support from the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association. Through conferences and digital marketing, Kayla has helped generate international demand for the company’s ethically sourced and organic powders.

Ryan Scarr, Vice President of Lending at American AgCredit, has worked closely with Zack and the team at Spinaca Farms as the company expands into new product lines.

Proud financial partners of Spinaca Farms“There’s an energy that comes with a customer like Spinaca Farms and someone like Zack who’s so forward thinking and takes a different approach to agriculture,” said Ryan. “Anytime someone is bringing new ideas that are going to positively impact the marketplace and bring the consumer the products they want … you want to help them grow their business in a sustainable way.”

With a focus on transparency and using every edible portion of the plants they grow, Spinaca Farms has built a strong foundation and blueprint for the future.

“My motivation is to be better every day,” said Zack. “Are we doing everything we can to be good stewards of the land? Are we maximizing the yield without extracting too much from the land, or asking for too much? It’s about listening to our customers to learn what they need and then also giving them what they never dreamed possible.”

Group of workers planting with a tractor at Spinaca Farms
Fresh produce from Spinaca farms
Tractor working fields at Spinaca Farms
Spinaca Farms produce
Seedling plants growing in Spinaca Farms field
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