When you order a Subway® sandwich with shredded lettuce and spinach, you get a few handfuls of nutritious leafy greens. But have you ever been curious where they came from?
There's a good chance they're from a third-generation family business in California called Taylor Farms, which supplies 48 percent of spinach and iceberg lettuce served at Subway restaurants in North America.
"We are in our 24th year of business, and we have been partners with Subway restaurants for more than 20 years," says Lisa Hearne, General Manager at Taylor Farms.
Imagine what a serving of lettuce and spinach weighs. Not much, maybe four ounces, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Compare that to this: Taylor Farms supplies about 8.5 million pounds of leafy greens to Subway restaurants each year. That’s enough for 34 million subs!
Taylor Farms is headquartered in California's Salinas Valley, which is known as America's Salad Bowl. This area, about 100 miles south of San Francisco, is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country.
They use a local sourcing model that reduces the food miles their produce travels. "Taylor Farms has a network of processing facilities across different growing regions in the U.S. and Canada for different times of year," explains Hearne. "And we have a lot of long-term relationships with over 250 family growing partners."
They can't help but be green — in more ways than what they grow.
"We have five solar installations in the U.S. and two more coming this year," says Nicole Flewell, Director of Sustainability at Taylor Farms. She adds that Taylor Farms also uses a wind turbine, fuel cells, and a cogeneration plant to generate renewable energy in their facilities.
"We are really working to reach energy independence at our facility and produce as much electricity as we consume," Flewell says. "Taylor Farms encourages sustainable growing practices through crop rotation, water management, pest management, minimal use of fertilizer, and irrigation innovation."
Taylor Farms is a family company that values relationships with customers and employees. One way they practice this is with their college scholarship program. Flewell says Taylor Farms is "really proud of it. It’s built around our employees' children, and it’s doubling in size this year. The company gives $5,000 per year for every year they’re in college through grad school."
Taylor Farms supports youth education in other ways, as well. Their Backpack Program has provided more than 9,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to first grade students at local elementary schools.
With about 16,000 team members nationally, Taylor Farms has a surprisingly simple employee manual which sums up the company culture: "Take care of the customer. Take care of each other. Do the right thing."
Top Image Credit: Taylor Farms