George Gagel Truck Farm - Agribusiness of the Year Award Winner | November 2014
George Gagel Truck Farm, a fourth-generation producer of vegetables, perennials and flowers located in southwest Jefferson County, has been named winner of the 2014 Agribusiness of the Year award.
The award, sponsored by the Agribusiness Industry Network, was presented November 14 to George Gagel and his family during the annual Farm-City Luncheon at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
Now in its 22nd year, the Agribusiness of the Year honors a Louisville-area agribusiness which excels in financial growth and stability, employee relations and contributions to the overall agricultural economy.
The Gagel family history in local food production dates to 1842 when the award winner’s great grandfather emigrated from Germany and began an orchard on a hill that is now part of Iroquois Park. As the family expanded their farming enterprises, the Gagels operated farms on Greenwood Road and eventually Lower Hunters Trace, where the smaller but vastly more productive current operation sits.
George Gagel grew up working on the family farm, and in 1979 following sale of the farm to settle his grandfather’s estate he bought a nearby 10-acre site that is still home to his farm. He moved greenhouses, as well as 8 inches of topsoil, from the old farm site to the new property where he soon began his extension of the Gagel farming legacy.
Today the George Gagel Truck Farm produces an extensive inventory of greenhouse-grown products year-round, as well as several acres of field crops in season. Among the edible products are numerous varieties of tomatoes, squash, field greens, carrots and berries. Bedding plants, hanging baskets and perennials help round out the product mix.
Limestone Bibb lettuce has become an exclusive Gagel Farm trademark, showing up in area grocery stores as well as some of Louisville’s top restaurants.
The bulk of Gagel’s produce is sold on site, through the farm market. Gagel won designation as a charter member of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Certified Roadside Market program.
The farm also markets through wholesale outlets and donates surplus and unsold items to Southwest Community Ministries, a major charity in communities on either side of Dixie Highway.
Gagel’s long tenure in community agriculture has made him a leader in several agricultural organizations. He was a founder and first president of the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association, and has served on the boards of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau and the Kentucky Farm Bureau.
Gagel relies on family members and other employees to grow, process and market the farm’s products. His wife Barbara is bookkeeper and herb and perennial manager. She also heads up the Scholarship Committee for the Jefferson County Farm Bureau which annually distributes more than $30,000 in college grants.
The farm employs seven full-time workers and around 15 part-timers at various times during the year. Average length of service for the operation’s workforce is over 10 years.
Gary Huddleston | AIN Chairman