My name is Chris White, and I am a junior double majoring in Agricultural Business and Economics. This summer, I have had the amazing opportunity to intern with Central Texas Specialty Growers, which is right outside of Austin, Texas. I am originally from Illinois and obviously attend school at Iowa State; so going all the way down to Texas was a huge transition for me. The weather difference wasn’t the only big change I experienced while working in Austin. The culture and the agricultural practices are also very different from the Midwest, which was a great experience for me.
Central Texas Specialty Growers is a lettuce producer, which grows their lettuce hydroponically. This practice conserves around 80% less water, is very nutritious, and enables the greenhouse to produce their lettuces all year. It was truly amazing to see the size of the greenhouse, which is around the size of a football field. This greenhouse is filled purely with different lettuces, which are grown in numerous trays hydroponically. I spent some of my time working just in the greenhouse, doing a variety of tasks; anything from harvesting, planting, controlling the nutrients and water levels, and just general maintenance around the greenhouse. Besides the operations side of the business, I was able to gain a lot of sales experience, which is my career goal for the future. I got to go around with the companies’ salesman to different grocery stores, restaurants, and produce distributers to see everything involved in selling our product.
Besides working in Austin, I got the opportunity to go to the Taste of Dallas, which was a great experience. There were tons of restaurants and food distributors at the event sampling their products, and I was able to go there and sample our lettuce to a lot of people. It was a very cool experience, and something I am glad I got to be involved in. Besides working with Central Texas Specialty Growers, I got to work with the companies’ brewery, 3 Nations Brewery. I was able to do an event for them, and also work a whole week at their brewery in Dallas. I had never been to a brewery prior to that, and it was amazing to see everything involved. I was able to do a variety of tasks with the brewery as well, everything from the general operations in the brewery, to the sales end of the business.
Overall, the 12-week experience has been great. I would definitely suggest it to anyone who is looking into doing the internship. I feel like I have gained so much experience compared to where I was just a couple of months ago.