With deep roots and almost six decades of history in the produce industry, the Tom Lange Family of Companies, based in Springfield, IL, works to simplify fresh around the world, shipping regularly to 33 countries.
The company offers full-circle service and deals in all areas of the entire production, distribution and logistics circle of fresh produce. Its Family of Companies include Watsonville, CA-based Seven Seas for growing and import/export, Tom Lange Co., for simplifying sourcing and procurement, and Lange Logistics for transportation solutions.
Each division of the Tom Lange Family of Companies abides by fair labor practices across the globe and works to reduce impact as stewards of the environment.
It was at the turn of the 21st century when the employee-owned company acquired the Seven Seas division, and for the past 19 years, Seven Seas has expanded to a total of 10 domestic and international locations. Under the vision of the company’s founders, Seven Seas was the gateway into the international markets, which has grown into the grower/shipper and import/export operation it is today.
Seven Seas’ organic program consists of strawberries and citrus, and both categories have seen steady increases annually. Its strawberries come from farmers in Mexico and Santa Maria, Calif., who are multi-generational, family operations where pride in the quality of the strawberries grown is just as important as good stewardship of the land.
Stephanie Hilton (second from right), marketing and business development, Tom Lange Co.
“Growing organics involves years of planning and upfront investment,” says Stephanie Hilton, marketing & business development for the Tom Lange Co. “Our team has committed to the time it takes to build a safe and high-quality organic crop. As stewards of the land, Seven Seas growers take all necessary steps to ensure our organic program exceeds in sustainability and food safety.”
While demand is up, naturally, there have been some challenges with working with organics, but nothing that the company can’t overcome.
“The production costs are always higher, and we are limited to steps we can take to combat pests and other factors,” Hilton says. “Summer months provide an abundant supply, which also puts our organics in direct competition with conventional prices and other seasonal fruits, so seeing a premium for organics proves challenging.”
However, as more consumers seek out organics and they have become more mainstream, the company is seeing a continued rise in the growth rate for organic demand.
“We are growing and providing healthy organic fruits to consumers of all ages,” Hilton says. “We take care and respect the land we grow on, and make sure our organics make it safely into the hands of consumers. We are feeding each and every one of you with Mother Nature’s most nutritious foods.”
The company’s commitment to quality produce, customer service, innovative packaging, private label solutions, and year-round availability allows it to serve as a trusted partner, and that has been a key to success through the years.
“Our strategy for growth in 2019-2020 is to continue to elevate opportunities to expand our organic and conventional product offerings,” Hilton says. “We will continue to focus on our customers and the input they provide. A close relationship with our customers is the key to focusing our growth.”