Stecher Farms, Mantua, N.J., is one of dozens of farms that participates in the Lipman Family Farms local produce program, Lipman Local. ( Courtesy Lipman Family Farms )

Lipman Family Farms, Immokalee, Fla., is celebrating 10 years of its Lipman Local program, but the company has worked with smaller local farms before that program began.

The program uses Lipman’s national distribution network to help small- and medium-sized growers market fresh produce. There are 50 farms in 20 states in the program.

“This program is a win-win partnership that allows us to meet consumer demand for fresh, local produce year-round, while also giving small farmers a deserving return on their crop,” David Ackers, manager of procurement and Lipman Local, said in a news release. “We’re a family business committed to the success of the farming community, so working closely with other family-operated local businesses to grow together makes sense for us.”

Lipman Local gives grower the tools to raise the level of their operations, according to the release, including education on quality control, food safety and marketing support.

One grower in the program is Stecher Farms, Mantua, N.J. The family farm grows eggplant, squash, chili peppers. Owner Zeke Stecher said the farm has increased production 400% since joining Lipman Local and built a reputation for quality.

“This is the time of year when people get excited about local produce as we begin our harvest this month,” Stecher said in the release. “Our partnership with Lipman has enhanced our ability to meet this need and nourish the community.”

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