We focus on technology and modern breeding techniques to provide creative, customized products.
The Pinnacle Story
After nearly 30 years in the seed and produce industry, Mike Vanoli began to notice something interesting in the market: lettuce genetics started to look the same and customer service at the grower level was removed from the seed development process.
As a thought leader who has seen all sides of the business, Mike wanted to fix the lack of creativity in bringing new products to market. He saw an opportunity to deliver specialized genetics straight to customers in a way that only a small, flexible breeding company could provide. He recognized a need in the market for a fully-integrated, responsive company - one that would work directly with growers in every stage of the process to develop fresh lettuce varieties.
Leadership in Lettuce Seeds
In the spring of 2014, Mike launched Pinnacle Seed to combine fundamental, traditional seed disciplines with advanced, non-GMO, cutting-edge technology in genetics to produce high-yielding lettuce varieties.
Today, we produce romaine, iceberg, and green leaf varieties for growers in the Salinas Valley, San Joaquin Valley and the Southwest Desert region. In addition to producing several generic products, we are exclusive producers of three proprietary products and have several new varieties under development.
The Pinnacle Seed warehouse is located in Mike’s home town of Soledad, appropriately placed with a view of Pinnacles National Park from the front door.
Small Company, Big Advantages
We know growers want to work directly with their seed genetics provider. We know they also want in-the-field service that only a locally-owned, small company can provide. That’s why our customers are such an important part of the development and production process.
We value our one-on-one relationships. As part of our commitment to customer service, we sell directly to growers without the use of brokers in our major growing regions. Our goal is to provide customers with sophisticated, timely industry information, as well as the best products available.
With the unique challenges that occur in lettuce production, we believe collaboration with customers is the key to our success.
If it doesn’t exist, we’ll work with you to develop it. That’s what creative genetics is all about. We collaborate with customers to identify needs, establish our objectives and create solutions to maximize yield and extend growing cycles in a variety of geographies and soil conditions. With direct collaboration, we can quickly implement feedback and move the product to market more quickly.
Our participation in the collective provides a vast knowledge base with other industry experts and facilitates new research for faster breeding cycles in our products. As the industry changes, we’re committed to forward thinking and staying ahead of the curve.
The Pinnacle Production Process
As we identify and develop new genetics and bring them in for production and testing, we use our Pinnacle Production Process to make sure customers get what they need: better germination, improved viability, product uniformity and increased yield.
Along with industry-set standards, we use a meticulous system of protocols and rigorous tests to make sure our seeds are manufactured for optimal use in diverse microclimates. From physical seed testing, to our own unique grading system, every step is designed to ensure the best possible product for our customers.
Whether we’re working with generic varieties or our own proprietaries, we have complete control over the production process, from field to marketplace. Why? The bottom line is better yield for our customers.
Our Quality Control Department
Once the Pinnacle Production Process is complete, products move to the warehouse for our in-house Quality Control process, which sets us apart from our competitors. We keep our Production Process and our Quality Control department separated for a natural, unbiased assessment of product quality. We like to think of it as our own system of checks and balances.
Our Industry Commitment
We’re part of the International Lettuce Genome Consortium, a collective of several international lettuce seed companies and UC Davis, to combine industry knowledge, analyze genetic diversity, and develop a broader understanding of traits and attributes with sequencing of DNA.
Our participation in the collective provides a vast knowledge base with other industry experts and facilitates new research for faster breeding cycles in our products.
As the industry changes, we’re committed to forward thinking and staying ahead of the curve.
Meet The Team
Mike Vanoli, President
Mike developed a passion for the produce industry while growing up in Soledad and the Salinas Valley. He graduated from Cal Poly State University with a B.S. in agricultural business, and started working in the local produce industry in 1988.
For almost 30 years, Mike has kept his focus on lettuce, working in a diverse set of roles including warehouse, sales, research and product development. He started his career working in the field as an intern at Genecorp Seed in 1988. Within five years Mike helped establish his first start-up, Progeny Advanced Genetics. Later Mike moved on to Church Brothers, where he worked for five years to gain valuable experience on the grower side of the industry and further understand technology and product varieties.
His second successful start-up, Pinnacle Seed, is a culmination of Mike’s lettuce expertise and business philosophy: provide excellent customer service by working directly with growers and focus on technological advancement and consistently deliver on the promise of high-quality, non-GMO seeds that produce the best yield.
Mike Koda, Research Manager
Mike grew up in Watsonville, with his family’s background rooted in Salinas Valley agriculture. He graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in crop science, and a master’s level certificate in plant breeding from U.C. Davis.
As Pinnacle Seed’s research manager, Mike enjoys working directly with the community of growers and focusing on tailoring the seed varieties to meet the growers’ needs. Mike’s strengths lie in his work ethic and breadth of experience. He brings two decades of experience to Pinnacle Seed, first as a research associate with Plant Sciences, then seed production manager at Progeny Advanced Genetics.
Blake Hodges, Desert Sales Representative
Blake grew up in Yuma, the third generation in his family to work in the agriculture industry. He grew up working on the farm of his grandfather’s business, H&H Seed Company. He joined Pinnacle Seed as an R&D intern while completing his B.S. in agricultural systems management from the University of Arizona.
As Pinnacle Seed’s desert sales representative, Blake spends each morning looking at trials in the fields and checking product quality before making sales calls. It’s not just getting units out the door – the Pinnacle Seed sales approach is collaborating directly with customers, standing behind the products and steering customers in the right direction so everyone benefits from the deal.
Sam Dozier, Salinas Valley & Huron Sales Representative
Sam grew up in Soledad surrounded by family and friends who worked in the agricultural industry, a factor that sparked an interest in the local farming community. He is currently pursuing a B.S. in agricultural business at CSU Monterey Bay.
Sam has worked with President Mike Vanoli twice - first as a produce intern at Church Brothers, and now as Pinnacle Seed’s sales representative for Salinas Valley and Huron. Sam enjoys cultivating relationships with a diverse range of customers, starting trials and taking customers to the product line.