A Day on the Farm with the Ford F-150 and Gro-Pak Farms.
06 Oct 2017
It’s not too often you get to visit a farm, talk to the farmer, see the crops and even pick your own produce. Last week, I got to do just that.
Ford Canada hosted a few bloggers and influencers at Gro-Pak Farms in King City, just north of Toronto.
Welcome to the Farm House
Our day started at the Devald family farm house in King City. As I parked my F-150 on the grass, a black 2014 Raptor backed up beside me. It was Ryan Devald. We briefly talked about his truck, and how much he loves the Ford trucks on his fleet.
Josh from National PR welcomed the media to #FordOnTheFarm, and talked about the history of F-150 and it’s relation to Canadian farming. F-Series has been the best selling truck in Canada for 51 years. Many farms across Canada, Gro-Pak being one of them, use F-Series trucks to help in the every day operation of their business.
In 1973, Louis Devald (of Gro-Pak Farms) and Nino Tomizza (of Dominion Farms) signed a joint-venture agreement where Gro-Pak would take care of growing, storage and harvesting 185 acres of crops, and Dominion would process, grade, pack and market the crops.
Ryan mentioned how his family-run farm has been using F-150s around the farm for many years. In his personal truck, a 2014 Raptor, he puts on upwards of 150 kms a day, just driving between the various produce farms and storage yards.
Surrounding us were a fleet of F-150s… a 2018 F150 Limited, 2 x 2018 F150 Platinums, a 2018 F150 King Ranch, a 2018 F150 Lariat, and a 2017 Raptor.
After a warm glass of apple cider, we headed off to our first stop.
The Farming Zone
We all headed out in the fleet of F-150s. I decided to drive my own truck, so I didn’t have to transfer my camera equipment.
Once at the carrot farm, we were greeted with a nice cold glass of carrot orange juice. It was delicious, and very refreshing!
Carrots are so amazingly good for you. They regulate sugar levels, improve eyesite, reduces high blood pressure, prevents heart disease, maintains good digestive health, reduces risk of cancer and stroke, prevents macular degeneration, and boosts your immune system.
Ryan is always willing to pick a fresh carrot, pull out his handy pocket knife, peel that carrot, and take a big bite out of it to ensure they are up to the Gro-Pak standards. True quality control!
All of the attendees got to pick their own bunches of carrot to take home. Talk about freshly picked!
The 2018 Ford F-150
Our next stop was at one of Gro-Pak’s storage yards, where Mike McGarrell (Truck Marketing Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company) talked about the many features and technology found in the 2018 Ford F-150.
I drive a 2015 F-150 Lariat Supercrew 4×4 Sport with the 3.5L EcoBoost, and I absolutely love it. Having driven minivans and large SUVs prior, moving to a pickup truck was awkward at first, as I was used to having 2 rows of seats behind me. It was a quick adjustment after I saw how easily it towed our 30’ travel trailer. Night and day.
The 2018 Ford F-150 features:
• High-Strength, Aluminum-Alloy Body
• Fully Boxed High-Strength Steel Frame
• 5 engine options – 3.5L EcoBoost, 2.7L EcoBoost, 3.3L Ti-VCT V6, 5.0L Ti-VCT V8, and 3.0L Power Stroke® Turbo Diesel (available Spring 2018)
• Best-in-Class towing
• Best-in-Class Payload
• Class-Exclusive Pro Trailer Backup Assist
• AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control
• Dynamic hitch assist
• Class-exclusive deployable box side steps
• Class-exclusive integrated tailgate step with lift assist
• In-Cab Storage and Fully Flat Load Floor
• SYNC® 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
• Class-Exclusive Available Remote Tailgate Release
• Available 360-Degree Camera with Split-View Display
• Available BLIS® with Cross-Traffic Alert and Trailer Coverage
• Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go
• Available Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection
• Lane-Keeping System
• Hill Descent Control
… and the list goes on. The 2018 F-150 is the most capable F-150 ever.
Pro Trailer Backup Assist
Ford Canada set up an F-150 and a trailer to demonstrate pro trailer backup assist. This is a fairly new technology, exclusive to Ford.
If you have ever backed up a trailer, you know how daunting it can be, especially if there are people watching. I can back our 30’ travel travel with ease, but the minute someone stops to watch, I end up over-turning, or not turning enough, and having to pull forward to straighten out.
As you can see, the technology allows anyone to backup a trailer with ease.
Not bad for a first try! Pro Trailer Backup Assist does take a while to get used to, but once you have figured it out, you’l see how much easier it is than backing a trailer the traditional way.
Onions and Payload
1200lbs of onions? No problem! The 2018 F-150 has best-in-class payload. What is payload you ask? Payload refers to how much weight a truck can carry, both in the bed of the truck, and in the passenger area. This is different than towing capacity, but they are both related. The tongue weight of a trailer also factors in to the payload figure.
Mike gave us a rundown of the capabilities of the 2018 F-150. The increase in payload and towing capacity of the 2018 F-150 is due to the use of high-strength aluminum alloy, which cut the weight of the truck by 700lbs (depending on configuration). As well, the 2018 F-150 also uses a fully boxed frame made of high-strength steel, with larger cross sections than frame in the previous generation. Even though the frame is stronger, it is lighter due to the use of a state-of-the-art roll-forming process that minimizes weight. By reducing the weight of the truck, and using engines with higher torque and horsepower, Ford was able to increase payload and towing capacity, thus making it the toughest F-150 ever.
Many of the equipment and parts that are used in the combine at Pro-Pak Farms are fabricated in their machine shop. Why? Because who best knows what they need than the farmers themselves. Taking the time to explain what they need to a manufacturer, and then hoping it is the right thing when it arrives is too risky. In talking to Ryan, it is much more efficient to build their own equipment, and service/repair their own equipment on site rather than use a third party. How do they move the equipment and parts around the various farms? With their fleet of F-150s.
True Farm to Table Lunch
The final item on our itinerary was lunch, which included fresh produce from Gro-Pak, and sustainable materials found in Ford vehicles. Daniel et Daniel did an amazing job catering this event.
Roast vegetable salad: Heirloom carrot, butternut squash, parsnip, beet, pumpernickel, buttermilk, pickled mustard seed, carrot top pesto
Striploin Tournedo: Sous vide striploin, roast shallot jus, wheat straw smoked shoestring potato. With green beans and sweet potato mash.
Chicken Cobbler: Chicken, kale, aged cheddar, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese, sweet potato, biscuits. With green beans and sweet potato mash.
Deconstructed Ratatouille: Red paper, zucchini and chèvre, eggplant puree, roasted cherry tomato salsa. With green beans and sweet potato mash.
Warm Butterscotch Pudding Cake: Toasted sugarcane ice cream, pecan praline, balsamic butterscotch
Sustainable Materials in Ford Vehicles
Ford’s commitment to sustainable materials started with Henry Ford’s “Soybean Car” in the early 1940s, and continues today with extensive analysis and experimentation at the Research and Development campus in Dearborn Michigan.
Currently, Ford is using soybeans, rice hulls, wheat straw, coconut, and cellulose in their vehicle manufacturing. On top of these items, Ford is currently testing sugar cane, tomatoes, dandelion, corn, bamboo, algae, and agave.
Ford is currently working closely with H.J. Heinz Company to discover ways to use the discarded tomato skins from ketchup production to develop sustainable materials for use in vehicle manufacturing.
Sustainable biomaterials can already be found in many of Ford’s vehicles, and new recyclable and renewable materials are being sourced and researched every day. Ford really does put its money where its mouths is when talking about their commitment to sustainability. It’s just one of the many things that makes them a leader in the automotive industry.
An Awesome Day on the Farm
Warm temps, clear blue skies and a cool breeze… we couldn’t have asked for better weather for our tour of Gro-Pak Farms. Learning all about Gro-Pak Farms, how they use their fleet of F-150s on the farm, trying Pro Trailer Backup Assist in the 2018 Ford F-150, a wonderful farm to table lunch, and being able to take home the fresh carrots that we picked made for a very fun and educational day.