Lakeside Organic Gardens is the largest family-owned-and-operated exclusively organic vegetable grower/shipper in the United States, shipping across the US and Canada.
“Lakeside prides itself on being the one-stop shop for organic buyers with over 45 different commodities,” said Dick Peixoto, Owner of the Watsonville, California-based company. “We excel in quality, consistency, and quick communication from our sales team to our buyers. Lakeside is family owned and operated and solely an organic grower and shipper. Therefore, we’re in the best position to adjust to customers’ needs. We are in complete control of all we do.”
Dick Peixoto, Owner, Lakeside Organic Gardens
The company continues to increase business by searching for the crop varieties that are the best tasting and hold their integrity while shipping cross country.
This year, the Lakeside team is excited about its new artichoke program, which was added to the mix last July. Now, the company grows organic artichokes along the Central California coast, where artichokes thrive.
“Lakeside prides itself on being the one-stop shop for organic buyers with over 45 different commodities.” - Dick Peixoto
“What sets us apart from our competition is our ability to react to our customers’ needs, not just daily but hourly,” Peixoto said. “Our direct connection to the field sets us apart, as well as having our customers out to meet our grower and visit our ranches for hands-on information.”
Lakeside is proud that it’s able to offer a year-round consistent supply of organics.
“We try to encourage our customers to partner with us in annual contracts to help their fill rates and build their organic categories together,” Peixoto said.
The company’s motto is one that has been around for decades—“We farm the soil, and the soil grows the crop.”
This year, the Lakeside team is excited about its new artichoke program, which was added to the mix last July.
“By taking care of the soil, we see a positive impact on our quality, but most importantly, we are taking care of our land and leaving it better than how we found it,” Peixoto said. “Taking care of those around you is what creates positive results. From customers, employees, and vendors, we can all thrive and grow together.”
The Peixoto family has deep roots in agriculture. They began farming in the Pajaro Valley, near Lakeside's current headquarters, more than a century ago. Joseph Peixoto immigrated to California from the Azores Islands of Portugal in the late 1800s, with his descendants concentrating on conventional crops for the first 100 years of US farming.
Dick is his grandson and fell in love with the industry at an early age and began growing his own crops while in high school in the ’70s. After 20 years in conventional farming, Peixoto became frustrated with the corporate structure and profit margins. He looked for a future business model that focused on customer preferences and long-term sustainability. He found organics to be the only answer.
“By taking care of the soil, we see a positive impact on our quality, but most importantly, we are taking care of our land and leaving it better than how we found it. Taking care of those around you is what creates positive results. From customers, employees, and vendors, we can all thrive and grow together.” - Dick Peixoto
So in the 1990s, Peixoto began converting land to certified organic and launched the Lakeside Organic Gardens label in 1996. Only four years later, the total acreage farmed by Lakeside Organic Gardens was 100 percent organic.
“The Lakeside team works hard to provide top-notch quality and year-round availability,” Peixoto said. “We strive to provide better-quality product that is comparable to conventional specifications, thereby continuing to pull conventional consumers to purchase organic.”
The company’s secondary label, “Oceanside Organic,” supplies a product of lesser quality at a discounted price to meet Lakeside’s processor or juice customer needs.
In 2023, Lakeside is dealing with a number of issues that are impacting many in the industry.
“We’re seeing inflation driving down organic consumption while also increasing the majority—if not all of—our input costs,” Peixoto said. “Labor shortages continue to be a daily challenge. As a solution, we are targeting multiple high-tech solutions to address future labor shortages.”
On the positive side, the company has found that its one-stop-shop business model continues to motivate customers to work with them.
“By eliminating multiple stops, they have saved time and money,” Peixoto said. “Our production team works hard to provide consistency for our customers and to make their purchasing as easy as possible.”
“We’re seeing inflation driving down organic consumption while also increasing the majority—if not all of—our input costs. Labor shortages continue to be a daily challenge. As a solution, we are targeting multiple high-tech solutions to address future labor shortages.” - Dick Peixoto
Looking ahead, the Lakeside team will continue to do what it always has and strive to sell what is grown in a responsible way.
“We work on current relationships with customers daily and seek out new opportunities caused [by] other shippers shutting down their organic programs,” Peixoto said.