A Nebraska Thursdays Producer Story: Hintz Produce

Small Towns
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Benjamin Hintz and Mark Hintz, of Hintz Produce, near Hebron, Nebraska, sell vegetables to area schools.

Importance of diversified markets

“It is important to be diversified. If we only picked one [market] and it didn’t work out, a lot of food would be wasted. With only one direct consumer, we wouldn’t have the demand needed for success, and we would struggle.” -Benjamin Hintz

Who we sell to

“We mainly sell to the Hebron area, local schools, and grocery stores.” -Benjamin Hintz

Food delivery and storage

“We deliver within a 50-mile radius. Although we have some available storage, we prefer to pick and deliver fresh.” -Mark Hintz

Advice for school producers

“Communication is key. Talk with the food service director prior to the growing season to see what products will be needed and available (in season) during school months. Know what quantities the school(s) will need so you can plan ahead. We usually deliver on Mondays—that way they have all week to use what they order. Schools receive a freshly picked product that can be used within a five-day window (sometimes longer). Refrigeration will help keep the produce fresh.” -Mark Hintz

Favorite aspect of selling to schools

“There couldn’t be a more important market. The most enjoyable part about selling to schools is knowing that we’re helping improve lunches and allowing students to find out that healthy food does taste good.” -Benjamin Hintz

Working with schools

“We take great pride in growing and sorting out only the best quality to provide the school or sell to the public. We try to not have much waste. What isn’t used right away is processed through canning or donated to a food bank. We grow produce such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in the high tunnel. This allows us to grow more items schools will use, and keep the selling opportunity open for us, beyond the traditional growing season.” -Mark Hintz

Best-selling products to schools

Sweet corn and tomatoes

Contact: Find Hintz Produce at Facebook.com/HintzProduce