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Rising with the Tide

Rising with the Tide

When in search of comfort, I often look to the outdoors; I believe this is why agriculture has had such a draw for me. Connecting with the earth is one of the ways I choose to practice spirituality, and it is a place of discovery and growth for many.

In my neighborhood, there is a small, serene pond across the road from my home that has brought peace to my mind more times than I can count. Each time I walk away from the water, I am reinvigorated with a fresh perspective that can happen at the drop of a dime. As the sun sets on a quiet Saturday evening, I sit crisscross along the bank of stones, where, just below me lies my reflection at the pond’s edge. A bright orange leaf suddenly falls from the tree above, landing on the surface and disrupting the clear vision in front of me.

Though a minute happenstance that often occurs in nature, this small, otherwise insignificant, event serves as a reminder of how quickly the quiet and safe little bubble that we deem our “comfort zone” can be altered. And it is up to us to adapt the flow of the waves that follow.

Elyse Lipman is one leader in the industry with the ability to reshape their own comfort zone. She is not the leaf falling upon still water in this picture, but the central current, finding solace within the everyday challenges of agriculture and channeling those hurdles to build upon Lipman Family Farms’ success in the fresh produce biz. With steadfast ambition and a knack for strategic development, it’s no surprise that the Chief Strategy Officer at Lipman Family Farms has mastered navigating the churning tides of the supply-side.

“As Chief Strategy Officer, my focus is on making sure we don’t remain comfortable,” Elyse remarks, immediately demonstrating how she has guided the provider into uncharted waters to achieve impressive growth. “Sometimes success can be your biggest obstacle. My role is about helping our teams think differently about market opportunities, competitors, and customers, all with an eye on the long-term—not just for tomorrow, but for generations to come.”

Growing up visiting the family farms with her grandfather, Elyse has a ground-level understanding of what it takes to succeed as a supplier, but she didn’t initially set out with the intention of establishing a career in agriculture. What truly sparked her interest was the way technology seemed to be transforming industries and global markets, fundamentally changing business models.

“So much is changing across the fresh produce supply chain, and it’s important to understand the rapidly evolving landscape that affects our business, from new technologies to consumer tastes to global market trends,” imparts Elyse. “As a vertically integrated produce supply company, Lipman can explore these changes in real-time. Unlike other companies that may be focused on one particular part of the supply chain, Lipman’s vertical model means we can test and iterate new products, technologies, and processes from seed to shelf.”

One of the many ways in which Lipman Family Farms is utilizing high-tech advancements to bolster its standing in the industry is showcased by its growth in the protected agriculture sector, which has significantly diversified and expanded its portfolio of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and more.

"As Chief Strategy Officer, my focus is on making sure we don’t remain comfortable."

Elyse Lipman, Chief Strategy Officer, Lipman Family Farms

“What’s happening in the protected ag space is elevating the entire industry. The technology has the potential to tackle challenges across a wide range of growing environments, with implications through the entire supply chain. At Lipman Family Farms, we’re not just embracing new tech for tech’s sake, but applying the right technology where and when it makes sense economically,” Elyse notes. “With our origins in farming, we’ve always embraced tools that help us manage resources and improve the quality of our produce, all while securing better options and prices for our customers. Technology does just that. It’s central to what kind of company Lipman has always been.”

It is this unwavering dedication, paired with an unshakeable pride in its products and grower network, that has maintained the company’s standing as a premier provider of fresh produce for over 80 years. The Lipman Family Farms operation maintains a strong culture, one that has traversed the tumultuous waves of the fresh produce industry for decades, continually happening upon new territory with untapped opportunities for its brand.

But one does not set off into the vast and open sea without a map, or at the very least, a plan. With a distinct vision for long-term growth, Elyse is no different, continuing the family-owned company’s tradition of achieving success in the present while implementing ambitious strategies that will propel Lipman into new channels of growth for future generations.

“As one of North America’s largest supply platforms of fresh tomatoes and vegetables, Lipman is unique,” Elyse chimes. “The company has come a long way from its origins as Florida farmers decades ago, and I see a lot of runway ahead. We know how to be agile while simultaneously building for the long-term. The landscape may change, but Lipman will continue to adapt. It’s in our DNA to grow and deliver fresh produce, and we’ll continue to figure out the best way to serve our customers and meet consumer demands as they evolve.”

When asked what drives her passion for growing Lipman Family Farms while also supporting the people who make its operation possible, Elyse keeps it simple.

"So much is changing across the fresh produce supply chain, and it’s important to understand the rapidly evolving landscape that affects our business, from new technologies to consumer tastes to global market trends."

“They are one and the same. What drives my passion for growing Lipman is the people,” she tells me with pride.

Across its entire grower network, which spans from the United States to regions in Canada and Mexico, the purveyor maintains a people-first mentality, treating everyone like family whether they were born into the Lipman name or not.

“I am incredibly proud to work for Lipman,” notes Elyse. “There is true camaraderie and matched ambition between our teams that can excite anyone. The practical ingenuity and nimble approach to our business are what make our company and our people good from the ground up.”

The success of its associates is imperative to Lipman Family Farms’ growth, and having an experienced and top-notch team certainly offers a strong foundation and allows the company to remain on the leading edge of the produce industry. With Elyse at the helm, there are a sea of opportunities for the entire operation.

If you ask the influential leader what the most crucial aspect of her role as Chief Strategy Officer is, she will confidently respond: To challenge the status quo. Don’t stay comfortable.

Far too often, we let fear control the way we make decisions, taking to our sails like a gusty wind and steering us off of the course we initially set out on. But a conversation with this fearless industry ace will quickly remind you that oceans are meant to be crossed, and sometimes, the discomfort caused by those surging waves is a transcendent sign that you are headed in the right direction.