Business updates: Southern California Strawberries

02/11/2011 02:03:36 PM
Tom Burfield

Boskovich Farms sees 20% rise in acreage

Oxnard, Calif.-based Boskovich Farms Inc. has increased its strawberry acreage by 20% this season, said Russ Widerburg, sales manager. The company boosted its volume so that it can better meet the needs of its customers, he said.

The company produces mostly the san andreas and ventana varieties, but also grows some benicia and palomar strawberries.

Colorful Harvest adds three southern ranches

Colorful Harvest LLC, Salinas, Calif., has added three ranches in Southern California and has expanded its acreage there, said Doug Ranno, chief operating officer and managing partner.

“Overall, our southern acreage is probably up by 25% to 30%,” he said.

The company also has improved its varietal mix to incorporate “the very best university varieties and some of our proprietary varieties,” he said.

The firm has adjusted its planting profile to better customize its berries, offering, for example, strawberries with stems attached for Valentine’s Day and larger volume for Mother’s Day and other holidays, Ranno said.

Driscoll’s ups supplies from Southern California

Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates is in the process of increasing its spring supply, said Douglas Ronan, vice president of marketing. That’s because the company’s berry program has grown from a seasonal offering to a year-round program.

“Southern California is an integral part of that strategy,” he added.

The firm was “looking for partnerships with quality growers to support broader growth in our spring supply,” he said.

Ronan did not reveal specific acreage figures.

Naturipe Farms adds acres in California

Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC has increased its Southern California acreage of the proprietary “1975” variety by 10% over last year, said Jim Roberts, vice president of sales.

The company also has added a number of proprietary varieties to its raspberry and blackberry acreage to bridge the gap between other growing regions and plans to offer the fruit year-round.

Naturipe also has re-engineered some of its packaging to support pallet configurations that will allow shippers to put 50% more fruit on each truck, and the firm has introduced a 3-pound package for consumers who want to “upsize over the 2-pound but thought that 4 pounds was a little too much,” Roberts said.

The company has hired Keith Parker, most recently with Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, Calif., as product manager for organics. Parker is based in Salinas, Calif.


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