In the late 1970′s, the mushroom industry was largely dependent on sales to the processing markets. Mushroom growers nationwide were being severely injured by the influx of very inexpensive imported canned mushrooms. As a result, family-owned and operated fresh mushroom farms that had been in existence for several generations were being forced out of business.For 25 years our business was supplying compost to these same family farms; seeing our customer base diminishing, our family decided to diversify our operation: in 1988 we purchased one of Pennsylvania’s largest mushroom farms from the Clorox Corporation.
Excelling Through Challenges.
In 1983, having no existing marketing contracts in place, South Mill was faced with the challenge of selling its crop of fresh mushrooms, which by the end of that first year totaled approximately 9,000,000 pounds. At the start, South Mill sold its mushrooms through local Kennett Square mushroom brokers. The need for regional growth and independence from the brokers necessitated a change of strategy. We changed our focus from selling our product through brokers and 3rd party middlemen, to selling directly into the retail, wholesale, food service and commercial processor industries. Under the newly created “South Mill” label, our company embarked upon the challenge of selling the production of its farms. Decades later, South Mill, with 24-hour, 7-days-a-week customer service, seamlessly supplies over 75 million pounds of mushrooms annually into expanded territories via our highly advanced logistics department, complimented by our “team driven” refrigerated, air-ride tractor-trailer fleet, equipped with the latest communication technology
Growth and Expansion.
Seeking to expand our market reach, in 1989, we targeted the southwest. To facilitate this expansion and to deliver our customary high level of service and quality product, South Mill established the first of our company owned and operated distribution facilities. Our distribution facilities, strategically located in major metropolitan areas, changed the way non-regionally produced mushrooms were sold. Our distribution operations are able to deliver unparalleled service to regional retail and foodservice customers. With the linking of our regional distribution facilities to our existing distribution / logistics system, South Mill successfully “brought the farm to market”. The concept of remote distribution facilities serving the mushroom trade in areas distant from the farm was successfully established and expanded. Our distribution facilities have a centralized sales office located in Dallas, Texas. Each facility is fully staffed with experienced produce distribution specialists to better serve the retail, wholesale, food service and processing venues in those specific regions.