Knouse Foods/Lucky Leaf Adventure 2012: Part 1 of 4

     I was recently given an amazing opportunity (in my eyes) to participate in several up close and personal activities with Knouse Foods/Lucky Leaf.  For those of you who don't know, last Monday I flew into the Baltimore airport (which I was not impressed with in the least) to begin my trip into Peach Glen, PA.  This is where you will honestly find nothing but everything. Not too far from historic Gettysburg, you will find nothing but farm land and small towns.  However, this is a beautiful sight to see - beautiful rolling hills of plush orchards lay with in my opinion enough history to compete with such a town as Gettysburg.  Peach Glen is the home of Knouse Foods which provides most of the country with the Musselman's and Lucky Leaf Brands.  Being as large as they are they have their own zip code and fleet for distribution.

     This experience has restored the faith I once had in family owned companies -they do still exist!  I learned more than I could ever ask for and have made some truly great friends from all levels of Lucky Leaf I hope to keep.  This is an amazing company even as large as they are, still owned by the actual growers themselves as each CEO has his own orchard.  Each orchard is handed down through the generations.  These are not just inherited but are desired because each family member truly believes in the company, what they do, and what they stand for.

     Originally starting as a string bean company which ran into financial problems, Mr. Knouse happened to be on the board at the bank where its financials were held.  When the company went under and the farmer decided to let it go, Mr. Knouse was asked by the other local growers to take it over since he himself was a fruit grower.  Thus becoming Knouse Foods, a grower owned cooperative.

     Since 1949, Lucky Leaf has operated with only three CEOs, two of which only retired as their family members still worked hard for the company.  One of the heartfelt aspects of Lucky Leaf is that this 1500 employee company consists of several family members of several generations working on all levels.  One of the funny things that was mentioned is that every new hire is told, "You may want to watch out who you say something about because you are more than likely talk to a relative of some sort."

To be continued...

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