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Canby’s Local Wholesale Growers

Farm Focus: Montecucco Farms
By Patti Jo Brooks, Contributing Writer

Fresh organic produce, locally sourced. When you’re talking rhubarb, beets, parsnips, rutabagas and turnips, Canby and the surrounding areas need look no further than their own backyard! Montecucco Farms, located near the Canby Ferry along the Willamette River, wholesales these fine vegetable stalks and assorted roots to local grocers, distributors and suppliers. Although the farm does not sell directly to individuals, the community can be proud of the quality produce grown by their neighbors at Montecucco Farms.

The original farm, located near Reed College in Portland, was started during the 1920s by Italian immigrant Giuseppe Montecucco. Giuseppe asked his son, Paul, as well as other family members to come to the States and join him on the farm. When Reed College expanded in the 1930s, the farm relocated to the Parkrose area; however, it had to move once again to make room for the Portland airport. With Portland growing and becoming more urban, farmland in the region became scarce. In 1959, the Montecucco family operation settled on its present site in Canby, along the Willamette River.

Today, the farm is run by fourth-generation Montecucco family members. Jason Montecucco and his two brothers, Brian and Richard, who, along with their cousin Steve Montecucco, carry on the family legacy. Farming approximately 1000 acres of land throughout the Willamette Valley and Hermiston, the Canby farm is the hub of the Montecucco Farms enterprise. The freshly harvested vegetables are packed and shipped from the Canby location, ready to take their place among the produce offerings found at your local grocery stores. Selling to New Seasons, Safeway, Fred Meyer, WinCo and many others, consumers are likely to encounter the fruits of Montecucco Farms’ labor on their local produce shelves.

Local distributors such as Caruso Produce, Charlie’s Produce, Pacific Coast Fruit and many others also receive Montecucco Farms’ organic rhubarb, beets, parsnips, rutabagas and turnips. Veritable Vegetable has this to say: “We are always delighted by the Montecucco’s attention to quality; their extraordinary parsnips are eagerly awaited every season.” Likewise, Organically Grown Company, which has partnered with Montecucco Farms for decades, looks forward every spring to Montecucco’s annual rhubarb harvest. The Pacific Northwest is known to be one of the best rhubarb-producing regions in the United States and Montecucco Farms is known to be one of the best growers in the area.

Organically grown, with great pride and care by each generation of Montecucco farmers, the legacy handed down from Italian ancestors continues to nourish the current generations. Keeping up with the times and agricultural advances, Montecucco Farms updated their irrigation system with modern, fully-automated plastic irrigation pipes. This new system improves efficiency and reduces water waste. It distributes water equally across the fields resulting in a more consistent yield, as well as saving time and labor.

Although a consumer might never have direct contact with Montecucco Farms, it’s important to note that this wholesale grower is actively involved with the community. Montecucco Farms donates produce to many local causes, including Oregon Food Bank and Food for All. Jason Montecucco expresses that whether a customer is a wholesale account or a retail consumer, “We want our customers to be happy.” He continues, saying, “We want them to feel like they got a good product and are satisfied. We put our best foot forward to make that happen every day.”

So, any time you put local, organic rhubarb, beets, parsnips, rutabagas or turnips in your shopping cart, there’s a high probability they were grown by Canby’s fourth-generation Montecucco Farms.