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Randy Turley named Food City's Grower of the Year

J. H. Osborne • Mar 13, 2020 at 7:00 PM

ABINGDON, Va. — Randy Turley, a fourth-generation farmer, grew up on a family farm helping raise tomatoes. When he was 16 years old —  just old enough to get a driver’s license — he proudly drove a truck loaded with bushels of Grainger County tomatoes to buyers across the region. And he dreamed of someday owning his own farm. On Thursday, he was named the 12th annual recipient of the Wayne Scott Memorial Grower of the Year Award by Food City.

The award recognizes outstanding achievement among farmers who provide locally grown produce to Food City grocery stores in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee (thus, the chain’s corporate name, K-VA-T).

Company President and CEO Steven Smith presented the award to Turley, accompanied by wife Sherry, at a luncheon honoring all the local growers who provide produce to Food City stores.

Smith noted that upon graduation from high school, Turley at first continued to farm part time for his family, while also opening his own welding business. But he continued to dream of owning his own farm. That dream came true in 1993 when he and Sherry started Randy Turley Family Farms with a crop of 5,000 tomato plants. The farm is located on Lakeshore Drive in Rutledge in Grainger County.

The chain’s local produce program took root in Weber City, 20 years ago. In 2000, Jack Smith leased a location in Weber City to the farmers so they would have a place to sell their local product. In its stores, Food City started with just a few Grainger County tomatoes. Today the chain buys from dozens of farmers in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.

Smith said working with local farmers can be a challenge during each year’s planning stages, “But we feel it’s the right thing to do and it’s a pleasure doing business with all our vendors.”

 

 

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