Blue Ribbon Organics’ James Jutrzonka is the sixth generation to operate on the family farm. In 2008, he and his dad shifted gears slightly, turning the land from agricultural space to a compost site. James now operates three locations in southeast Wisconsin. As a DNR-certified compost facility, Blue Ribbon takes in a wide range of food and yard waste from landscapers and municipalities. Brush, leaves, grass, and chunked wood are inspected, ground, and screened to sort out unwanted material. During the process, Blue Ribbon Organics adds food waste to the ground material to serve as a natural source of nitrogen. The result is different from others on the market: a high-quality, organic compost, which is sold and used for food and flower gardening, as well as lawn applications.
With 25 years of experience composting on their own farm, Blue Ribbon Organics entered the commercial composting market 12 years ago. Since then, the industry has undergone massive growth as interest in homegrown food and consciousness around soil health have both skyrocketed. While Blue Ribbon had previously outsourced their grinding, they saw the potential of purchasing a horizontal grinder to offer additional revenue opportunities and streamline their operation.
Throughout the last few years, Blue Ribbon Organics’ operation has changed drastically, mostly due to the expansion of the feedstocks they now accept. While they primarily took in grass and leaves when they first started producing compost, in recent years they have been collecting more abrasive material, like chunked wood and tree debris, which has changed the way they grind and process their compost. In addition, outsourcing all their grinding needs had become challenging as demand for their product has grown.
After connecting with a Rotochopper Sales Representative, Ryan Schams, James attended a Demo Day event and realized an investment in a horizontal grinder would be a massive opportunity for the future of Blue Ribbon Organics. In 2018, Blue Ribbon partnered with Rotochopper and purchased an FP-66 to take their operation to the next level.
From there, Blue Ribbon Organics has continued to discover the advantages of owning a Rotochopper, including the versatility of their grinder and the ease of the Rotochopper screen change system, which allows them to easily grind a variety of feedstocks while maintaining end product control. Maintenance is especially important to an operation like Blue Ribbon Organics and working with a factory-direct company means Rotochopper’s service technicians can quickly resolve problems and ensure Blue Ribbon Organics is able to keep their operation up and running.
“What we really like about our Rotochopper is the maintenance on the machine. It’s very simple to maintain, easy to change screens and that Rotochopper stands behind their grinders. When we call and talk to service or parts, they know exactly what’s going on with our machine through RotoLink®. They know exactly if there’s an issue and how to fix it without excuses. We have been running our FP-66 for about two years now. We’ve had a lot of grinders in here and Rotochopper has really held up for us and does a really nice job with the finished product.”
Two years later, James remains thrilled with his FP-66 horizontal grinder. It holds up to Blue Ribbon’s wet, abrasive feedstock with little wear and tear, and based on the innovation he’s already seen, James is confident Rotochopper will keep improving on their grinders’ designs by utilizing customer feedback. Blue Ribbon Organics continues to make advancements of their own as well, developing custom mixes for potting soils, exploring growing indoor products to diversify their soil blends, and expanding their operation to include more off-site grinding. They remain satisfied with the ease of maintenance and the consistent quality of service they’ve enjoyed since joining the Rotochopper family.
Learn more about Blue Ribbon Organics on their website.