It only takes a few moments in the fields around Norman Park to realize English is not the only language spoken in these parts. More often than not, the words being thrown around off the backs of trailers and over the rows of cucumbers are in Spanish.
But if you listen closely while in those same fields, you’ll hear another language being spoken. A language that isn’t associated with a specific ethnic group. There’s a lot less “hola” and “buenos dias” and a lot more “product” and “yield”. It’s crop projections and weather predictions. It’s the language of “farming”.
Trace the path of the plants back a few steps and go to the greenhouses when seeding is taking place and yet another language is spoken. This one tends to be more scientific with terms like “germination” and “cotyledons” being meticulously mouthed. It’s tissue samples, trial plots, and seed varieties.
Eavesdrop on a conversation in the sales office and you’ll hear terms like “market” and “pack size” often being shouted into a phone. The language of sales tends to be at a higher volume than many others.
Take a walk through the packing house and you’ll hear phrases like “RPC” and “DRC” being discussed out loud as orders are filled as quickly and carefully as possible. No talk of markets or yields here, simply a movement of product received from point A to point B as quickly as possible.
Stroll on down to the shipping dock and deal with logistics and its all “tie” and “high” in those parts. No one speaks about germination and such on this end of the operation. It’s weights on axles, shipping appointments, and load times.
And just like each language usually brings a culture with it, these different languages spoken at Southern Valley often carry a different perspective along with them. The greenhouses care about seeding dates and quantities, the fields want to know how much product they’re able to pick in a day, sales is concerned about the markets and filling orders, packing pushes to move volume in and out, while shipping revolves around closing the door on that truck and sending it on its merry way.
Despite the different languages spoken throughout the operation and the perspectives that come with them, at the end of the day we all partner together in one common language: the language of produce. A language that allows us to provide the freshest, highest quality product to our customers – and eventually consumers – nationwide.