Gadsden Tomato Company still hiring employees, shipping tomatoes to the Big Bend

Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 18:45:32-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — One farmer is keeping jobs filled while helping families make ends meet.

Gadsden Tomato Company is ahead of the curve so many are trying to flatten. Graves Williams owns the local produce company and has been in business for 38 years now.

"We work 200 people here at Gadsden Tomato Company," said Williams. "And we work 400 out in the fields."

Harvesting and packing tomatoes so many people depend on.

"I started watching what was going on in China, and the spread of the virus," Williams said.

An invisible enemy, seemingly ready to threaten production.

"I said, 'Buy enough of this stuff to last us the whole year,'" said Williams.

Enough stuff to keep hundreds of employees working in Quincy safe.

"I hope we never see anything like this again," Williams said.

He's collecting supplies to sanitize his workers and their work spaces when they arrive to harvest millions of tomatoes, just weeks from now.

Williams says each box holds about 25 pounds of tomatoes. In the month of June alone, they'll send out about one million of them.

"I've been pretty doggone busy," said Williams.

While so many business across the nation are at a standstill, leaving many to wonder where their next paycheck will come from, Graves is continuing to provide jobs to hundreds like King Britt, who has worn a mask to stay safe for the last three weeks.

"He's doing a good job of keeping everybody safe here, and making sure nobody gets sick, or dies," said Britt.

"We're going to use these backpacks to spray their housing every day," Williams said.

Along with spraying bathrooms multiple times a day, worker's cars, and the packing facility where Britt works, all to protect his employees and keep his promise to customers.

"It is really a good feeling," said Williams.

Williams says they've also added extra hand washing stations, extra soap, and hand sanitizers.

They plan to start harvesting tomatoes near the end of the May.