Better Produce Inc. adds production

Santa Maria-based Better Produce Inc. has begun shipping strawberries out of Oxnard this year to complement its existing production in the Santa Maria district, said salesman Sal Barajas.

By doing so, he said the grower-shipper could offer its customers nearly year-round supplies.

Barajas credited some of the newer strawberry varieties for extending seasons in both production regions.

“I’m pretty sure there’s a peak, but they can pretty much produce all season long,” he said.


CBS Farms adds organic acreage

CBS Farms, Watsonville, has added organic production in the Oxnard area so it can offer customers organic strawberries about 11 months of the year, said Charlie Staka, sales director. It already had organic production in the Watsonville area.

“It’s something that I think a lot of our customers have come to expect,” he said about nearly year-round availability.

The berries, packed under the Surfside label, are certified by California Certified Organic Farmers.


California strawberries business updatesTransFresh installs Tectrol packaging system

Salinas-based TransFresh Corp. has installed a high-velocity Tectrol application system at Western Precooling Systems, Oxnard.

The system simultaneously grips and lifts pallets to aid application and sealing of poly sheeting in a seamless operation, according to a news release. This streamlines the process as pallets move toward the conveyor for Tectrol application.

Tectrol’s Modified Atmosphere Packaging system involves a sealed pallet cover and specific levels of injected carbon dioxide.

Independent studies by the University of California, Davis, and the University of Florida found the proprietary system helped maintain strawberry fruit quality during shipment and extend fruit shelf life by about two days, according to the release.


California strawberries business updatesWish Farms adds California organics

Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms, the largest grower-shipper of organic strawberries in Florida, has expanded the program to include California-grown organic strawberries this season from the Santa Maria area.

“We have customers here asking us for organics from California as well, so it will be a nice fit to have organic and conventional,” said Gary Wishnatzki, president and chief executive officer. “Customers like that continuity, and it will be a nice complement to have organics going into the summer.”

Wish Farms also just released a children’s book titled, “Misty the Garden Pixie,” which introduces the operation’s mascot, Misty, and her job making things sweeter on the farm.

California strawberries business updatesWishnatzki said he came up with the idea after attending a conference and hearing a consultant speak about creating the persona of a huggable car dealer.

“The light bulbs just started going on,” he said. “Why aren’t we writing a children’s book? We have the pixie and we could broaden our brand and promote healthy eating of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Wishnatzki said his wife, Therese, was the author and a friend helped illustrate it.

The book can be purchased from the grower-shipper’s website,