California Asparagus business updates

01/27/2012 10:54:00 AM
Jim Offner

Commission expands use of Web technology

The El Centro-based California Asparagus Commission is trying to do more with less, and the Internet is helping, said Cherie Watte Angulo, executive director.

“We are really focusing on taking advantage of technology and because of our diminishing resources, using technology, whether it be our website or e-mail blasts to our customer base and using technology to get our message out,” she said.

“They can let us know what they need and signing up for our e-mail blasts. We’re on Facebook and we’re trying to maximize exposure at the most efficient price.”

The commission’s website is at www.calasparagus.com.

“That is a tremendous resource,” Watte Angulo said. “We’ve updated it in the last year, making it much more user-friendly.”

It’s also a more efficient way to get the word out on California asparagus, she added.

“We’re becoming more request-driven. We’re not producing point-of-sale material and sending it out, hoping that it’s used. We cannot afford to do that any longer,” she said.

Gourmet Trading Co. focuses more on bags

Los Angeles-based Gourmet Trading Co. is placing more emphasis on bagged asparagus this year, said Julia Inestroza, marketing and merchandising manager.

“We have more and more customers taking bagged product because they see that our system is good at maintaining the cold chain,” she said.

“We’re seeing a lot of growth in the bagged asparagus category,” she said.

Greg Paul Produce increases acreage

Stockton, Calif.-based asparagus grower-shipper Greg Paul Produce Sales Inc. has a slight increase in acres for the upcoming season, said James Paul, salesman for both Greg Paul and Calexico, Calif.-based Mexican grower-shipper Altar Produce LLC.

“We’ve had a very slow amount of acreage growth,” he said.

“As the fields are getting up in age and starting to cycle out, we want to make sure we’re in the same volumes. We have too much demand,” he said.

Greg Paul Produce Sales has about 1,200 acres, he said.

Altar grows asparagus in northwestern Mexico.

Mission Produce to sell 1-pound bags

Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc. is launching a 1-pound bag of fresh California asparagus during the upcoming season, said Cruz Carrera, asparagus operations director.

The new item will be available nationwide, he said.

Rincon Farms upgrades fields for 2012 deal

Gonzalez, Calif.-based Rincon Farms has upgraded some of its asparagus acreage for the 2012 deal, said Wayne Gularte, a partner in the company.

Rincon Farms has put in more asparagus, he said, and is producing about 20% more than last year.



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