Grower-shippers market more than strawberries - The Packer

Grower-shippers market more than strawberries

05/09/2014 11:35:00 AM
Tom Burfield

In an effort to provide their customers with one-stop shopping, several Southern California strawberry grower-shippers offer other berry varieties to complement their strawberry purchases.
Salinas, Calif.-based Red Blossom Sales Inc. is now offering Chas blueberries from Oxnard, Calif., said Michelle Deleissegues, marketing director.

“The quality is the best in California, and we will pack 4.4 ounces and 6 ounces,” she said.

“Our Mexico blackberry program is now just over 2 million trays,” she added. “We pack 6-ounce, 12-ounce and 18-ounce (packages of) conventional and 6-ounce organic daily.

Quality and supplies should be excellent for promotions through June, Deleissegues said.

Greater availability

“People have purchased strawberries routinely for years, but are only more recently adding blackberries, raspberries and blueberries to their regular berry purchases,” said Nolan Quinn, berry category director for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Blueberries are especially popular because of their convenience, flavor, nutrition and, perhaps most importantly, availability, he said.

Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., Watsonville, produces a variety of berries around the world, said Frances Dillard, director of marketing.

“Southern California still represents one of our prime year-round growing regions,” she said. “However, as the demand for berries of all types, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, continues to exceed supply, we will always seek out growing partnerships here and abroad.”

Orange County Produce LLC, Irvine, Calif., grew a few blackberries in the Santa Maria, Calif., area from June to September, said partner Matt Kawamura. The company probably will repeat the program in a small way this year.

Naturipe is a full line shipper, offering raspberries, blackberries and blueberries 12 months of the year, said Craig Moriyama, director of berry operations for Naturipe Berry Growers Inc., Salinas, Calif.

The company sources from several countries, he said.

Raspberries are grown pretty much year-round in California, he said, but they peak in spring and summer. Naturipe relies on Mexico and other countries during California’s off-peak periods.

Naturipe has its own proprietary varieties.

“Our program has really expanded,” he said. “It’s probably gone up a hundredfold in the last five years.”

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