Business updates: California Strawberries

04/01/2010 11:05:00 AM
Tom Burfield

Andrew & Williamson expands winter program

San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce has increased its winter program in Baja California by 30%, said Mark Munger, vice president of sales and marketing.

The company doesn’t like to rush to move into new growing areas, Munger said, so the firm plans to ship out of Baja until early May, when movement should be strong out of Oxnard, where the company grows close to the ocean and should be able to stay until well into summer. Andrew and Williamson then will transition to the Santa Maria and Watsonville growing areas.

Also, the company began growing organic berries in Watsonville last year and introduced the program in Baja California this season.

“When you put the two programs together, we now have a year-round organic strawberry program,” Munger said.

Cal Giant TV commercial ushers in spring season

Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Inc. welcomed spring with a TV commercial starring Bill Moncovich, the company’s president and chief executive officer, that ran in 26 markets on March 19, said Cindy Jewell, director of marketing.

The company also is running ads on the TV stations’ Web sites and planned to send weather reporters a tray of strawberries to celebrate spring.

California Giant also has filmed five consumer videos with chef Julia Myall at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California’s Napa Valley.

The videos feature all of the company’s berry varieties and offer tips on selection, care and handling as well as recipes. They’ll run on the company’s Web site and social media sites and be available for retailer use.

Corona Marketing Co. adds Oxnard berry deal 

In response to customer requests, Santa Maria, Calif.-based Corona Marketing Co. has expanded its operation to include the Oxnard, Calif., growing area and has increased its acreage slightly in Santa Maria, said Jose Corona, president.

The company plans to ship about 800,000 of its 2 million trays of strawberries from Oxnard this season. Also, former grower Uriel Barbosa has joined the company’s sales staff.

Naturipe Farms expands sales office in Salinas

Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC is remodeling and expanding its sales office in Salinas, Calif., said Craig Moriyama, vice president of fresh sales.

The office is being made over in part to accommodate added sales staff. Although the company’s acreage should be down slightly this year compared to last season, yields will be up, so volume should be about the same, Moriyama said.

Naturipe also promoted three of its sales and marketing executives to the company’s executive staff.

New members are Robert Verloop, executive vice president of marketing, a newly created  position; Brian Bocock, vice president of product management, a newly created position; and Jim Roberts, vice president of sales.

Red Blossom adds berry varieties to product line

Red Blossom Farms, Santa Ynez, Calif., is adding blueberries and blackberries to its product line this year, said Michelle Deleissegues, marketing director.

The move should add convenience for customers who can save time and money by picking up multiple varieties at one cooler, she said.

The company hopes to supply 500,000 trays of blackberries and 250,000 trays of blueberries this year.

Well-Pict receives good response to 4634 variety

Well-Pict Inc., Watsonville, Calif., has received positive feedback on its new proprietary strawberry, which goes by the number 4634, and the company is looking forward to a strong second season with it, said Dan Crowley, sales manager.

“The 4634 was a hit, and that seems to be the (workhorse) for us,” he said.

All of the company’s strawberries are proprietary varieties.



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