Ken Miller comes across as the type of man you would want checking on your orchards and shipments—down to earth, straight to the point, no time wasted.
This sense of discipline influences his daily activities as well. “My territory basically covers everything from the Canadian border to Milton-Freewater, Oregon,” said Ken. Over the years, he has put a system in place where he drives out to different sectors of his division to check on the warehouses, orchards, and most importantly, the fruit.
“I spend most of my time in the orchards. I prefer to be out in the field. I’m really not an office person, and I’m thankful my job lets me be out on the road,” he commented.
Walking among the trees, checking on the growing fruit, and planning the best time to harvest with the orchardists—this is what keeps Ken moving. He visits over five warehouses each day and multiple orchards throughout the week. He interacts with everyone from the CEO of a warehouse, to the packers, the processors, and the orchard managers.
He believes everyone deserves to be treated with the same respect. And respect is crucial to keeping those relationships and the businesses alive.
“Without those relations, I don’t think we would get some of the quality fruit we get,” said Ken. “Having a face out there all the time is important because they do remember you. When there is a need, and they have something they need to ship off, they’re calling us.”
Having these open channels of communication is especially helpful when summer starts to draw to a close. Ken keenly anticipates the flurry of activity when the air starts to get crisp and the days become shorter. With a smile he said, “Harvest is one of my favorite times of the year because I’m out. I’m talking with the growers and doing what I like to do.”
During the harvest season, Ken has seven to eight orchardists he visits weekly, thanks to some of our orchard-run contracts, which ship the fruit straight from the orchard to our own warehouses. Ken is usually pulling samples for testing and coordinating with the team to make sure the harvest happens at precisely the right time.
“Relationships and trust are built over time,” said Ken. “I’ve worked with most of my guys for so many years that we have a deep sense of respect for each other. I understand their frustrations and needs; we know where we stand and we get along.”
The open road, bustling warehouses, and vibrant orchards are Ken’s domain. The people who interact with him know he will always give them the best hospitality possible. He brings in the best crop for Tree Top from the Canadian border all the way down to Oregon, so everyone can enjoy good food.