Know Your Grower: Jay Sizemore
At Well•Pict Berries, we make no secret how much we believe in our product, we believe in our packaging, and we believe in every little thing we do to bring you the freshest, most superb berries around. Well, none of what we do, what we believe in with all our hearts, would be possible without our fantastic, highly dedicated network of independent growers. We’re pretty glad to know them, and we think you will be too. For this first installment of “Know Your Grower,” it is our pleasure to introduce you to our independent grower from Florida, Jay Sizemore:
WP: What is your background as a grower?
JS: I established myself in 1999 in the Tampa Bay area with Dean Broughton and Marvin Brown; all three of us have berries in the genes–our experience in strawberry production goes back generations. My great-grandfather grew strawberries in Plant City, Florida all the way back in the 1930s. Our roots run deep. I’m very proud to say that we are at the forefront of implementing practices which are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Migrant labor relations is one of our top priorities; we provide the land for Redlands Christian Migrant Association to operate a daycare for an annual rent of one dollar. In 2014, our family was awarded Farm Family of the Year at the Hillsborough County Fair. This past December, my wife, Donna, and I proudly accepted an award from the Florida Strawberry Growers Association commemorating my induction into the Florida Strawberry Hall of Fame. I know my great-grandaddy would be proud to see the traditions of a family-owned and operated farm carried on today.
IMAGE: Jay’s induction into the Florida Strawberry Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Jay and Donna Sizemore.
WP: Is there anything that might surprise people about growing strawberries or fruit in general?
JS: The thing that might surprise people about growing strawberries is how difficult it is to produce that delicious fruit. It is a very labor-intensive proposition that requires a lot of work that can only be done by hand, in addition to very delicate handling in the transfer from field to store. Not only do strawberries require this utmost care in how they are produced and transported, but the farmer is also very much at the mercy of Mother Nature to produce a quality crop.
WP: What sets Well•Pict apart from other operations/suppliers?
JS: Well•Pict is 100% proprietary; what that means is that, as a grower, I am able to do fresh plantings of Well•Pict-patented varieties each growing season. These plantings are the very beginning of what is to become a truly special berry in all aspects: flavor, taste, aroma, size, and color. The combination of our growing and production methods, our generations of experience, and, of course, Mother Nature make for a berry that really can only be Well•Pict.