2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Matthew Lind

FarmLind Produce
River Vale, NJ

Age: 30
Hometown: River Vale, NJ
Hobbies: Biking, Hiking, Boating, Building projects, Spending time with friends and family
Family/Community: Local food pantries, Sponsoring local teams
Motto in life: Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

Lind started working at 14 for a farm near his hometown and would work weekends at local farmers markets. When he was 18, he moved to western Pennsylvania and began working at Yarnick’s Farm in Indiana, PA, as an assistant to the owners. He eventually took over the farm stand and became farm market manager. Around 2013, he realized the heirloom tomatoes being grown at Yarnick’s could be marketed back where he grew up, leading him to form FarmLind Produce.

Lind was only 18 when he began FarmLind, building it from the back of his truck to a fleet of 25 refrigerated trucks. The company buys from farms and sells to markets. His infrastructure allows the company to work with 150 retail stores and 90 restaurants. He has cultivated hundreds of relationships with farmers across the U.S. and with specialty farms in Canada and Mexico. He started the “Farm Today, Yours Tomorrow” local program, partnering with local farms to bring fresh vegetables to the consumer 24 hours after picking. He also launched FarmLind Transport, a trucking company that assists FarmLind with running loads all over the U.S. In 2020, he opened his first retail location, Farmhouse Gourmet, in Closter, NJ.

Q: What do you wish you knew when you first started your career?

How small the world is. When I first started, I was discouraged trying to source products and thought I would never be able to get beyond our local offering. Now, we can source product from all over the country and world. I attend the Global Produce & Floral show, as well as many other shows annually, which has allowed me to make connections with growers all over.

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

Our customers. I prefer to be a consultant rather than a salesman when it comes to our customers. At FarmLind, we have several programs that help educate our customers, allowing them to educate their consumers. We take our customers’ orders over the phone, which allows us to hear their consumers’ desires and pain points. Helping our customers grow their business allows us to grow and expand.

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

We encourage the local program to increase sales. We work with our retailers to give them promotional materials to be able to display the farm names along with the product. To expand our Farm Today, Yours Tomorrow program, we build a local tour that creates farmers markets outside the retailer’s store to promote local produce. For our chefs, we educate them with items that are in season. We’ve gone on-air with “Fox & Friends” twice now to promote the local produce in the fall.

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?

You get out what you put in. This is a very labor-intensive business, and markets are constantly changing. If you take care of your people, they’ll take care of you. Own your own trucks, relying on an outside trucking company can be difficult. If you’re relying on somebody else to bring the product to you, you take a risk. The moral of the story is nobody cares as much as you do.

Q: What do you see as a critical issue facing the industry in the next decade and why?

The demise of the American farmer. Rising costs are making it extremely difficult for the American farmer to stay afloat.