Coleman, Hastings, Townsend, Co. Frozen Foods recognized by FVGAD
HARRINGTON, Del. — Those honored at the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware awards luncheon spoke humbly of their achievement, crediting fellow farmers and employees with helping them.
Distinguished Service Awards were given to Georgetown, Del., crop consultant Tom Coleman, Laurel, Del. farmer Pat Hastings and J.G. Townsend Jr. and Co. Frozen Foods Inc. in Georgetown.
Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware in 1976 with a degree in plant science and started a career managing farms and farm service stores throughout Delaware. in 2001, he founded his crop consultant business Trap Woods, Inc.
In presenting the award to Coleman, Bridgeville, Del. farmer Will Carlisle said having a good crop consultant like Coleman as an advisor can be indispensable.
“Timing is everything in agriculture,” Carlisle said. “Sometimes farmers get spread too thin and they need to be told, ‘you need to do this now.’”
In 2016, Coleman received the Excellence in Consulting Award from the Mid-Atlantic Certified Crop Advisors. He also serves on the University of Delaware Nutrient Advisory Committee and the Northeast Integrated Pest Management Advisory Committee.
Thanking the association, Coleman said with modesty, “I have put in the service, I’m not sure about how distinguished it was.”
Hastings helped build the family’s Lakeside Farms near Laurel with her husband John, growing vegetables and grain crops.
After John’s death in 2007, Pat was key to keeping the farm going, taking on more responsibility on office work, and paperwork for farm programs and sales, along with serving on multiple organization boards.
“Since his passing, she really held our farm together in the last 10 years,” said her son Travis who presented the award.
“I didn’t do any more than anyone else has done in this room,” Pat said. “A lot of you have done a lot more than I have done.”
She also said having good relationships with the Delaware Department of Agriculture and University of Delaware Extension has been very helpful.
J.G. Townsend Jr. and Co. traces its roots back to its founder, Selbyville farmer, John G. Townsend Jr., who was Delaware’s governor from 1917 to 1921 and U.S. Senator from 1929 to 1941. In 1911, he purchased a cannery in Georgetown which would become the company’s home base.
Townsend later acquired canneries in Rehoboth Beach, Selbyville and Lincoln City and though those closed or were sold over time, the family kept the Georgetown plant operating.
After World War II it was converted to freeze peas and lima beans and the company is in its fourth generation of family operation, processing several types of beans and peas.
Accepting the award, Paul Townsend, company president, said the award “means a great deal to all of us” at the company but credited their employees and grower base — the “heart and soul” of the company — with helping to keep the company going.
“Without the hard work of these Delaware farmers, processing would not be feasible so a big thank you to them,” he said.
During the luncheon, University of Delaware Extension also presented a Friend of Extension award to Luke McConnell, crop consultant and owner of McConnell Agronomics.
In presenting the award, Dr. Michelle Rodgers, UD Extension director, said McConnell is often the first person to bring a problem in the field to the University’s attention and has long been helpful in advising on crop research.
“He’s very valuable as a sounding board for what we’re doing,” Rodgers said. “He keeps the farmers’ questions first and foremost.”
McConnell returned accolades to Extension. “They make us all better in what we do,” he said.
For the award, he said it should really go to all his staff at McConnell Agronomics.
“You’re no better than the people you work with everyday.” he said.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925