Company Name: Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, Inc.
WBENC Certified: 2003
HQ: Norman Park, GA
Slogan: “Taste the Valley” and “One Farm, Three Locations.” Also, “#Southernallyearlong”
Retail: Look for us in your local grocery stores!
ABOUT THE PRODUCTS
We grow a variety of vegetables, but our signature product is the Pole-Grown Cucumber. In addition to our prized cucumbers, we also grow yellow squash, green beans, zucchini, bell pepper, specialty peppers in 12 different varieties, eggplant, pickles, cabbage, hard squash, sweet corn, and mini-sweet peppers. In recent years, we have expanded our growing and packing abilities to include farming in the Yucatan Peninsula during the winter season and in Tennessee for the summer growing months. By farming in these two locations, in addition to the original farm in Georgia, we are able to supply our customers with product year-round.
In a small community in South Georgia, where farming is a way of life, your neighbor is your next of kin, and the gas station down the road serves as your local grocery store, Kent Hamilton lives and works as a 6th generation farmer. As is typical for the area, Kent comes from a long line of South Georgian farmers, but he took his farming operation in a different direction in 1987 when he joined with his father, brother, and a friend to start Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable, Inc.
In that same year, Kent lost his brother due to a tragic accident on an irrigation pivot system and by 1991 Kent’s father had regrettably succumbed to cancer. A few years later, Wanda Hamilton-Tyler and her son Kent were left as the sole owners of the farming operation. Wanda stepped in to run the business with her son, and over the years, they brought trusted family and community members into the business to continue growing the operation. Since those humble beginnings, Southern Valley has grown into a progressive and innovative growing, packing, and shipping facility while remaining true to its traditional farm roots and family values.
As we have expanded, we have worked diligently to become more self-sufficient. This includes beginning all of our produce from seed in our greenhouses, generating our own fertilizer, and now experimenting with ways to provide our own stakes for our esteemed Pole-Grown Cucumbers. Not only do we grow the produce in the fields, we also wash and pack the product in our state-of-the-art packing house, and chill it in our high-humidity forced air cooler before shipping the product directly to our customers. We pride ourselves on being a true seed to shelf operation.
We are a woman-owned and family-operated company that operates exactly like that – a family. Since 1987, the company has grown from a four-man farming effort into a recognized and respected business that supplies produce across the East Coast, throughout the United States, and northward to Canada. We combine old fashioned values and traditions with modern, progressive, and innovative thinking. Our family values and farm roots run deep but our future is full of cutting edge potential.
QUOTE FROM CEO ON BEING A WOMEN OWNED BUSINESS
"My husband, Benny, and youngest son, Kirk, died early into the start of our farming operation. A lot of people thought the business wouldn’t continue after their deaths. It’s been me and my son, Kent, since almost the very beginning and there isn’t anything on this farm a worker is asked to do that I haven’t done at some point. I never imagined we would get this large, but I am honored that so much of my immediate and extended family would choose to come back to help make the farming operation the success it is today."
- Wanda Hamilton-Tyler