Grow Farms ships within about a 500-mile radius of Louisville, Knott said.
This year, the company picked up a roma tomato grower in Indiana, expanding its reach.
It’s a good fit for the company, which has trucks on Interstate 65 taking deliveries to Indianapolis.
Now those trucks can pick up the Indiana product on their way back to Louisville, Knott said.
Middlemen pushed out
As big players such as Wal-Mart and Publix flex their muscles, the Tennessee retail scene has seen a contraction of business in what Pendergrass categorizes as the “middle” section of the industry.
“We’ve seen a reduction in the independents and a lot of consolidation,” he said.
One trend Knott sees growing is a shift away from the middleman in the delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We’re leaning more now than in the past to (sourcing) direct from the farm,” he said. “We’ve gotten pretty good at that over the past couple of years.”
The produce industry on the whole has contracted in the area served by Dixie Produce, Pendergrass said.
“Business is down,” he said. “It’s not that we’ve lost business, but the companies we have aren’t doing as much business.”
It’s not because people are eating out more, Pendergrass said. They’re cutting back everywhere.
“When people go to grocery stores, they’re cutting out the extras,” he said. “And people are making one trip. They’re not making those extra trips.”
Farmstand business also has suffered because of the trend, he said.
“People’s spending and buying habits are different than they were,” he said. “There’s not a lot of impulse buying.”