Growing the best in baby leaves since 1870
B&W Quality Growers is the world’s largest grower of distinctive baby leaves®, including green watercress, our exclusive wild red watercress, and wild roquette arugula. Over 145 years of experience with these highly perishable and highly prized baby leaves helps ensure unsurpassed quality and consistent supply, delivered with world-class customer service.
We grow, pack, ship, and market our premium quality leaves to retail, wholesale, foodservice, and specialty customers across North America and Europe. The distinctive flavor profiles of our delicious baby leaves enjoy broad culinary and ethnic followings.
B&W baby leaves are available year-round from seasonal farms spanning eight states, are food safety compliant, and naturally packed for maximum freshness.
B&W Quality Growers was founded in New Jersey in 1870, when brothers-in-law Richard Salmon Baker and Richard Soltan formed Soltan & Baker to grow and sell watercress. Soon, nephew Albert W. Baker joined the operation, and eventually his son, Richard W. Baker, ran the company. Richard R. (Dick) Burgoon married Richard W. Baker’s oldest daughter, Patricia, and was welcomed into the family business in 1963. The B&W Quality Growers name was established in 1969 when Burgoon bought Soltan & Baker from his father-in-law and merged the company with Donald E. Weaver, whose family had founded the first watercress farm in Florida. Donald E. Weaver retired in 1990 and sold his share of the business to Burgoon. Company headquarters were moved to Fellsmere, FL in 1995.
B&W Quality Growers was owned and operated by the Burgoon family until 2015, when CEO Mark DeLeo assembled a group of investors to purchase the fifth-generation family-owned business. Mark began working with B&W and the Burgoon family in 2001, joined the company’s board in 2009, and was named CEO in 2012. As principal owner and CEO, he is passionate about remaining true to the original founders’ legacy of superior nutrition, flavor, quality, and sustainability, as well as honoring the heritage and culture of family for those who work at B&W Quality Growers today.
Our Vision, Mission & Legacy
Our passion and focus is distinctive baby leaves. Guided by our vision and mission, we remain true to our legacy of superior nutrition, flavor, quality, and sustainability.
To be the best in baby leaves.
To build on our legacy as a premier grower, packer, and shipper of quality products that provide value for our Customers, well-being for our Consumers, and opportunities for our Employees.
What is our legacy? To us, it’s simple. It’s every dish that features our naturally-grown baby leaves. It’s the soil in which we grow those leaves on our sustainable farms. It’s the people who tend those farms, and it’s the people who enjoy our products, time and time again. It’s our continuing commitment to quality in everything that we do. It’s being the best in baby leaves.
At B&W, we grow quality. With attention to detail from the ground to your plate, we’re obsessed with preserving the inherent natural flavor, freshness, and quality of just-picked produce.
Everything we do—from maintaining sophisticated pre- and post-harvest protocols, to implementing comprehensive food safety systems, to utilizing state-of-the-art equipment—is tailored to meet the unique requirements of specialty leaves.
We harvest for a whole leaf cut on our baby arugula and more leaf for our watercress. And we do not simply dry our products…we use special air tunnel driers that are so gentle they eliminate almost 100% of post-harvest bruising. All of our products are 100% natural and packed without additives and preservatives.
When it comes to growing specialty greens, we are simply the best. There is no one in the world with our depth of experience, range of seasonal farms, and number of proprietary varieties. We think Mother Nature would be proud.
At B&W, we take being the best in baby leaves seriously, providing 100% natural products on a year-round basis.
We’ve been around for over 145 years, and over that time we’ve developed some of the most sophisticated farms and unique techniques for growing the best baby leaves in the world.
We follow the sun. Our farming operations span eight states, allowing us to grow products where they are always in season and at their peak of freshness and flavor. This also lets our farms recharge naturally in a seasonal rotation. In addition, we utilize sophisticated water regeneration and recirculation systems that limit runoff to save our valuable water resources. This “Smart Farming” initiative yields healthy products grown sustainably and naturally.
When your products are enjoyed by consumers around the world and sold by the most reputable names in retail and food service, your standards for food safety must be world class. That is why the most stringent food safety protocol in the industry governs every aspect of our farming and packing operations.
The food safety program at B&W Quality Growers represents decades of research, reflects the best thinking of both internal and external experts, and is continuously reviewed and upgraded to establish next-level best practices.
B&W is GLOBALG.A.P. certified, which means we comply with the voluntary worldwide standard for ensuring safe, sustainable agricultural practices. Along with this global certification, we’re governed by the following accredited and audited programs and are FSMA compliant:
- Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)
- Good Harvest Practices (GHPs)
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
- Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (LGMA)
- Mark & Spencer Field to Fork (M&S)
All aspects of the B&W Food Safety program, including our farms, packing facilities, harvest practices, food safety and security policies and procedures, and certification requirements are routinely audited by accredited third-party auditors to ensure on-going compliance. In addition, we provide our employees with continuing education related to our food safety program, as well as federal, state, and local food safety regulations.
B&W Quality Growers embodies the truest testament to sustainability of all…the test of time. Caring for the land and people on whom we depend is at the heart of what we do every day.
The quality of our leafy greens starts with rich soil and clean, cold water. Our farm rotation program allows each field to rejuvenate naturally during its “off season.” Our smart farming techniques have reduced chemical usage by over 50% in the past 10 years! We utilize sophisticated water recirculation systems that help replenish the water table and save our valuable water resources. All of this is not only better for the environment, it results in healthier plants, just like Mother Nature intended.
Employee & Community Engagement
At B&W, we have a highly skilled and well-trained group of employees. To ensure 100% legal compliance, we use the DHS’s “E-verify” system and utilize the H2-A program for other skilled positions. Our enthusiastic employees thrive in our values based, performance-driven culture and are passionate about being the best in baby greens.
B&W Quality Growers strives to be a good neighbor, as well as a good employer. As a company, we support causes that are important to our customers, employees, and communities, with a focus on encouraging healthy eating and lifestyles, disease prevention, and alleviating hunger. At every level of the organization, B&W employees give generously of their time, talent, and treasure to support causes important to them and the towns and cities where they live, work, and play.
B&W is a proud member of these organizations: