Patrick Mateer founded Seal the Seasons with a mission “to make all NC fruits and vegetables available to all North Carolinians all year round.” We were the first store to carry their frozen fruit and vegetables, in 2015! The company partners with North Carolina farmers to freeze, market, and distribute locally grown fruits and vegetables, and donates 20% of profits to fight food insecurity. They are looking into getting their product into corner stores in “food deserts” that don’t have access to fresh produce.
Seal the Seasons benefits farmers by providing a guaranteed market and eliminating the work of selling product. At first, Seal the Seasons worked with small farms, but they added medium and large farms to obtain more produce. They continue to prioritize small farms, sending their truck around the state to get the product; the larger farms send their own truck to Hillsborough, where Seal the Seasons freezes product at PFAP. It would be more efficient to only buy from large farms, but small farms are part of the company’s mission. Many of the small farms are increasing in size and planting dedicated acres for Seal the Seasons. In addition, Seal the Seasons is able to encourage the farmers to grow using sustainable methods. (Many of the farms are certified organic, and Seal the Seasons will be introducing an organic line in 2017.)
In season, the facility operates 24 hours a day. Workers, however, are limited to shifts of eight to ten hours with regular breaks, unlike shifts in much of the industry. New employees make $10 per hour and can move up the pay scale into leadership positions. Seal the Seasons strives to create an environment that employees will want to return to.
Read more online at http://www.sealtheseasons.com/. Watch a video of Patrick’s presentation at Seal the Seasons’s 2016 open house below.