Supplier of the Month – The Wheat Grass People
Pines provides wheat grass, barley grass and alfalfa for products sold in other brands. These brands share our concern about quality and the planet. The Natural Industry Executive magazine recently recognized Pines. As a result of decades of service to the ingredient marketplace, they named Pines “the supplier of the month.” Here’s what they said:
From N.I.E. Magazine:
In 1976, Ron Seibold and Steve Malone decided to grow cereal grass. They set out to make dehydrated cereal grass a staple in the American diet. The two formed Pines International, Inc. The market soon recognized Pines as the first green superfood company. They chose the name “Pines” in because the pine tree is a symbol of the peace that exists in nature.
With $50 contributed by Malone, the pair approached investors and within a few months, had about 40 stockholders. According to Seibold, most of those who invested money only put forward approximately $100, and most of the company’s stock was issues for services. The founders paid the landlord, the farmer, the dehydrator and the employees with stock. Over the next two years, more than 200 people invested.
They Created the Market and the term “Green Superfood”
After the first harvest, Seibold and Malone hit the road with the message that Pines Wheat Grass is a low cost and easy way to get more veggie nutrition and fiber in a person’s diet. Their first plan of marketing Pines Wheat Grass as a multi-level product was taking too long. They had harvest bills to pay. Seibold and Malone stopped into a health food store in Denver, and the owner bought six bottles of Pines Wheat Grass. From there, the pair went from store to store in Denver. Because most health food store owners knew the benefits of dark green veggies, after a few days, they had sold enough Pines Wheat Grass to convince a distributor to health food stores in Colorado to carry the product and supply the stores.
For the next eight months, Seibold and Malone traveled to 35 states, repeating what they learned in Colorado. When they returned to Kansas, more than 2,000 stores carried Pines Wheat Grass.
As a Supplier, Pines Knows Supply and Demand
Today, the original founders and stockholders own Pines. Celebrating more than 40 years in business, the company grew from a two-person business to an international business. They ships cereal grass and other green foods to thousands of stores across the U.S. and more than 25 countries.
As the company continues to grow, it faces the challenge of keeping up with the demand of its customers. “Our biggest challenge as an ingredient supplier is being able to produce enough cereal grass for the demand. Because we harvest at the jointing stage, our yields are less than 1,000 pounds per acre per year,” said Seibold. “Thus, it takes large tracts of organic farmland to provide our customers with ingredients. Further, our harvest season is only a few days each year in the early spring. We are in the process of building additional dehydrators in other locations that also have certified organic glacial soils so we can continue to supply the ever-growing demand.”
The World’s Number One Green Superfood Supplier
Since the company’s inception, it has maintained its goal of making a difference. Pines seeks to make a difference in the environment. It also seeks to make a difference in human health, agricultural methods and land use. “From the beginning, we wanted Pines known as an example of a ‘green’ company,” said Seibold. “Most of our more than 100 shareholders invested an average of $200 each. They became a part of Pines not because they wanted big returns, but because they believed in our goals.”
Staying true to that original goal, the company has brought about 2,000 acres into organic certification. It set up a foundation to protect about half of that acreage as permanent wildlife habitat. The set aside most of the remaining land for organic farming. Additionally, the company has provided several million servings of wheat grass to feeding programs around the world. It has also supported many organizations dedicated to protecting the environment and helping people.
A Supplier that Practices What it Preaches
Pines has also incorporated green measures into other aspects of their operations. They recycle office paper, cardboard and shipping pallets. Pines also uses recycled paper for all printed material. They make sure to print promotional t-shirts with organic unbleached cotton and water-based inks. Pines also looks for new ways to conserve energy, trees, water and clean air.
Pines International celebrates more than years in business. Clearly, the company will continue to spread the health message of “eating more greens”. Their message will echo to people around the world for years to come. “With two new dryers, Pines will remain the major grower of quality greens for many decades to come,” said Seibold.
Find Pines Products
The USDA says that 9 out of 10 people do not eat enough veggies. Pines offer servings that are easy to consume and that cost considerably less per serving than other greens. You can find Pines’ green superfoods at a store near you with our locator. You can also use our online shopping cart.
Here is the article as it appeared in the magazine: