For the past four years, the School Food Service Department has procured and served District students nutritious locally grown “Fresh from the Farm” vegetables at all schools. Our partners at R.C. Hatton Farms, Inc. of Pahokee have provided sweet corn cobbettes and green beans since the outset of the program. Pero Family Farms Food Company, LLC of Delray Beach became an additional partner with the District. This allowed for the addition of a carrot and green bean medley to the menu as another choice for the students. During the 2011-2012 school year, 4,353 cases of corn cobbettes (equaling 348,240 servings), 14,631 pounds of green beans (equaling 264,465 servings), and 2,420 pounds (equaling 26,300 servings) of green bean and carrot medley were purchased and served to students throughout the District. The School Food Service Department will also be working with Palm Beach based Localecopia, Inc. as an additional partner to assist with bringing in other new products. Plans are in the works to increase the choices of “Fresh from the Farm” products including locally grown fruit during the 2012-2013 school year.
R.C. Hatton Farms, Inc. is located in Pahokee, Florida. Its mission is “to produce and package the best products possible, while providing a safe, clean working environment for our highly valued employees.” The farm was established by Robert C. Hatton in 1932 and specializes in growing sweet corn and green beans. Over the years, the farm has grown from harvesting a few hundred acres to its present size of more than six thousand acres. During the sixties, Roger Hatton the son of Robert C.Hatton took over the business and R.C. Hatton was incorporated in 1964. R.C. Hatton has been able to survive years of volatile supply and demand markets because of their willingness to create innovative channels to sell produce. As part owners of Performance Packaging, LLC they are able to produce, package and sell to the retail and food service industries.
In 1908, Sicilian immigrant, Peter Pero started a modest farm in Western New York. His ten year old son, Peter Pero II brought their crops to the local market by horse drawn wagon for sale. By 1933, Peter Pero II had taken over the family’s farming business starting a long family tradition. The business was eventually passed on to his son, Peter Pero II, who with the help of his father, continued to expand the family’s farm.
In 1981, recognizing that Southeast Florida was graced with an abundance of land, water, sunshine and mild winters, the Pero Family expanded its farming operations to Delray Beach, Florida. By 1986, Peter Pero IV, along with his two brothers, Frank and Charles, and sister, Angela, began to build the Pero brand with a reputation for consistent quality and impeccable service to its customers.
With an unwavering dedication to sustainability and preserving the lands they harvest, Pero Family Farms Food Company, LLC has become one of the country’s largest and most well known growers, distributors and marketers of premium quality vegetables. One of the company’s major commitments has been to keep farming a viable and vibrant industry in Palm Beach County.
Localecopia, Inc. had its beginning in 2007 with a group concerned about the environment and sustainability. In business they had regularly used locally grown fresh produce. In 2008, the organization became incorporated and created a mission statement.
Localecopia, Inc. is a non-profit organization focused on bringing together businesses, producers, educators and government organization to support local product consumption. Localecopia, Inc. has been the leader in championing the cause of Florida growers.
The mission of Localecopia, Inc. is to support the local economy, capitalize on group synergies, promote environmental awareness, initiate sustainable practices, and lessen our carbon footprint and create a new business model that will continue to grow into other local communities.
They soon realized the missing link between the producer and the local consumers, therefore; Localecopia Marketplace, L3C came into existence. Localecopia Marketplace, L3C works with local farmers to procure the crops that are sold to many in the hospitality business. Localecopia Marketplace, L3C is a qualified vendor on the District's Farm to School - Fresh Bulk Produce Awarded Contract which now links Localecopia Marketplace, L3C with the schools.