Watsonville, Calif., growers Beach Street Farms and Colleen Strawberries have formed a new company, CBS Farms, to handle their sales.
Charlie Staka, director of sales at Colleen Strawberries, has taken the same role at CBS Farms.
Meanwhile, Beach Street Sales has changed its name to Seven Seas Berry Sales. Seven Seas Berry will sell for — among others — Santa Cruz Berry Farming, formed by Beach Street Farms co-founder Fritz Koontz when he left the company in January after 16 years.
Beach Street and Seven Seas Berry spokesmen said the moves will keep year-round supplies on track.
“It just led to a better arrangement in supplying our customers,” said Edward Ortega, a partner with Steve Rodoni in Beach Street Farms. “We’ve worked together in the past, so when this opportunity came up we decided to combine forces for some good-tasting strawberries.”
“Both companies (Beach Street and Colleen Strawberries) will continue to have their identities,” Ortega said. “We’re simply contracting with CBS Farms to market our strawberries.”
Beach Street will source year-round from Watsonville, Santa Maria, Oxnard and Mexico, he said.
Alan Tagami, sales manager at Seven Seas Berry, said the parting with Beach Street Farms was amicable.
“It was a wonderful relationship,” he said, “but now we’re focused on doing the same thing for Santa Cruz Berry Farming, and on bringing in other growers.”
“We are also looking at other opportunities, perhaps packing in our own label,” Tagami said. “That’s in consideration, the possibility of getting some growers who would be willing to work with our company. Most of these guys are going to understand the history of what we’ve done here in Watsonville under the name of Lange Trading Co. and Beach Street Sales.”
Seven Seas Berry is a unit of Lange Trading Co., a subsidiary of Tom Lange Co.
“It’s the same sales team,” Tagami said. “Our numbers should be very similar to what we’ve done as a group here the last few years. Our volume should be very similar to what it was under Beach Street Farms in 2005.”
Seven Seas Berry sources out of Orange County, Oxnard, Santa Maria and Watsonville. Mexico may not be far behind.
“It’s virtually a year-round deal based out of California,” Tagami said. “We would welcome the chance to piece together some deals in Mexico. We have been approached by a grower that has a growing entity in Mexico about the possibility of doing something next year.”
Shorter term, Seven Seas Berry plans to add some quality control staff for both field and cooler work, he said.