Producer Spotlight: Wurth Farms
Lately, some of our customers have told us that the big box grocery chains in town are touting their “local” produce. These customers then realize that these local producers aren’t so local after all. Fruits and vegetables shipped to Paducah, Ky., all the way from Mississippi doesn’t exactly qualify as local produce, we don’t believe. At least, not when there are family farms located right here in Western Kentucky brimming full of ripe produce that tastes better than anything we’ve ever tasted coming from a truck that has driven 500 miles or more to deliver.
“We like to focus on local products mainly because they taste better,” Midtown Market owner Andy Carloss says. “Wurth farms are known for their delicious tomatoes. So why not bite into one of theirs verses one that has been gassed in a warehouse?”
Since 1908, the Wurth family has made its living off the land. Wurth Farms has passed down through three generations. Lisa Wurth Grief cannot remember a moment in her family’s history when gardens and vegetables were not at the center of family life.
“We always raised a garden when I was a kid,” Lisa says. “We all know what it’s like to sweat and get our hands dirty.”
In the 1970s, the farm supplied vine-ripened, staked tomatoes to distributors in about 10 states. However, in 2010 the family decided to bring their business back to home. They shifted the focus of the family business to produce fruits and vegetables for the folks in their hometown of Paducah, Ky., and surrounding areas.
The Wurths kissed large-scale farming goodbye and said hello to becoming one of the region’s most well known producers of local fruits and vegetables, available to customers in season.
One of the best parts of growing fruits and vegetables for the local community is that the miles traveled from the farm to the consumer has been reduced to just a few miles. With such a short distance to travel, the produce that Wurth Farms grows remain on the vine until they are ripe enough to pick. That means that fruits and vegetables taste better than the truckloads of produce shipped to large grocery chains in our area, often traveling a distance of about 1,500 miles to get to Paducah.
“The fruit we pick at Wurth Farms is ripe off the vine, which means it holds more vitamins and minerals than produce shipped from far away,” Lisa says. “It’s important to your health to know where your produce comes from. A lot of tomatoes are picked green and are missing many of the nutrients that our bodies need.”
Not to mention the flavor that most taste buds crave.
Lisa’s dad, being the good Catholic that he was, liked to tease. He said that the secret to Wurth Farms’ excellent tasting fruits and vegetables came from the Holy Water they sprinkled on the plants.
“My dad was a character,” Lisa laughs.
Lisa says that operating a farm that produces for the surrounding region allows them to improve the flavor of their products. “We select our seed based on the quality and flavor of the produce. That’s of the utmost importance to us.”
Lisa and her brothers are proud to bring flavorful fruits and vegetables to Midtown Market, including a variety of heirloom tomatoes, yellow squash and Patty Pan squash that our customers love to eat throughout the seasons.
The Wurths also like to explore new varieties of fruits and vegetables that may not be commonly found in Paducah. They’ve sampled a variety of different kinds of squash and other roots, fruits and vegetables, in order to bring exciting new things to customers at Midtown Market. In the process, they’ve discovered some very flavorful products, such as the peaches and cream corn and the Red Defender tomatoes that Midtown Market customers love.
“We try to keep things interesting,” Lisa says. “We expect more out of our produce and that’s why the flavor is there. We don’t sell bad produce. We know that if we’re honest with the people we serve, they will continue to come back to us.”
Midtown Market purchases fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, eggs, honey, beans, potatoes and many other items grown in our region.
“We like doing business with farmers in person over a hand shake, rather than messing with big, corporate contracts,” Andy says. “We sell produce from dozens of local growers of every size farm.”
To be sure, not all of the produce at Midtown Market is grown locally. For instance, we have yet to find a local farmer who has been successful in raising a crop of bananas. However, when possible, we always give priority to local growers so that we can keep money in our community and continue to enjoy the fruits of our community’s labors.