California strawberry business updates

03/27/2013 02:30:00 PM
Tom Burfield

California Giant adds traceback code

California Giant Inc., Watsonville, has launched item-level traceability that allows consumers to learn more about where their strawberries come from, said Cindy Jewell, director of marketing.

Starting this spring, consumers will see a second code in the form of a quick-response code and numerical sequence on the bottom of clamshell containers along with the Universal Product Code, Jewell said. By scanning the QR code or entering the number on the company’s website, consumers can learn where their berries were harvested and other information.

However, the consumer aspect is a secondary goal of the program, Jewell said.

“Our focus on item-level traceability is really about accuracy,” she said. “It gives us a lot more information” and helps pinpoint the source of a problem in the event of a food safety incident or simply a customer complaint about the quality of the berries.

CBS Farms increases organic acreage 30%

CBS Farms, Watsonville, Calif., has increased its organic strawberry acreage by 30%, said Charlie Staka, director of sales. The increase in acreage was the result of customer requests, he said.

The company, which also will have a slight increase in conventional berries, will continue to ship out of Oxnard until mid-May and begin its Watsonville program in April.

Colorful Harvest expands berry crops

Strawberries will remain the No. 1 berry crop at Colorful Harvest LLC, Salinas, Calif., but the company’s blueberry and blackberry crops are continuing to grow, said Doug Ranno, chief operating officer and managing partner.

In fact, blueberries and blackberries account for up to half of the company’s berry program.

The company also is taking steps to improve its land base with higher-quality ranches and by growing on “better, more coveted land,” he said.

Ranno expects steady volume this season from higher caliber farms. He said he considers the heart of the firm’s business to be its berry program and the soul to be its colored vegetables.

Corona Marketing signs new cooler plant

Corona Marketing Co., Santa Maria, Calif., is partnering with a new cooling facility, PSC Cooling LLC, Santa Maria, said Jose Corona, president. The change should enable the company to improve its customer service.

“We have a lot more control over loading times for all of our customers,” Corona said. “We’re able to load our customers as early as they want or as late as they want. We can get people here whenever they’re needed.”


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