2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Mason Goolsby

Marketing Coordinator
Shuman Farms
Reidsville, GA

Age: 27
Hometown: Stockbridge, GA
Hobbies: Cooking, Reading, Georgia football, Braves baseball
Family/Community: SEPC STARS Committee, University of Georgia CAES Alumni Association, Feeding America volunteer, Animal rescue advocate
Motto in life: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Goolsby has always had a passion for agriculture, but had limited exposure to the produce industry before her senior year at the University of Georgia (UGA). She was invited to attend both the 2018 New York Produce Show and Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure 2019 as a part of student scholarship programs. Shortly after attending Southern Exposure, Goolsby accepted a digital marketing internship with Healthy Family Project (HFP) and continued in that role for about nine months while finishing the Master’s of Agribusiness program at UGA. Upon graduation in December 2019, she accepted a full-time marketing coordinator role with HFP’s parent company, Shuman Farms.

In the nearly five years since joining the Shuman Farms team, Goolsby has collaborated on numerous innovative retail- and consumer-facing marketing initiatives. She and her team have created and launched two of Shuman Farms’ four consumer brands, Mr. Buck’s Farm Fresh and RealSweet Rubies. The team received a Produce Business Marketing Excellence Award in 2022 for the launch of the RealSweet Rubies brand. She has also been instrumental in the company’s philanthropic efforts, from executing retail programs benefiting Feeding America and breast cancer research, to organizing countless volunteer opportunities for the Shuman team and its retail partners. In the past two years alone, the combination of these efforts has earned Shuman Farms a “Besties” award for Best Philanthropic Initiative, as well as a “Feedy’s” Grand Lion for Good Vendor Award from the Food Lion Feeds Foundation. Another highlight of her career is involvement with the Southeast Produce Council where she participated as a speaker on a Southern Exposure education session panel in 2021. She has also mentored five classes of STARS scholarship students.

Q: What attracted you to the produce industry?

The people. The connections I made while attending NYPS and SEPC’s Southern Exposure as a student sealed the deal on my decision to pursue a career in produce. Navigating a fast-paced, professional networking event as a student, and one of the youngest people in the room, can be an incredibly nerve-racking experience, but I had never felt so welcome and at home with a group of people.

Q: What is the one thing in your business that you are most passionate about?

Education. There is a major disconnect between the average consumer and our food system, and plenty of fear-inducing misinformation out there as well.

Q: What are some ways we can increase produce consumption at the point of sale?

Increasing produce consumption at the point-of-sale is all about inspiring the consumer. At retail, that can mean strategically cross-merchandising items to create obvious meal solutions for shoppers, or utilizing display bins and signage with callouts for recommended uses and recipes.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

My proudest accomplishment has been the creation and launch of our RealSweet Rubies brand of sweet red onions. We like to say that our Rubies are “born and raised” in the sandy soils of Southeast Georgia, and this brand is extra special to me because the name was inspired in part by my grandmother Ruby, who was also born and raised in this area.