Summer is a natural time to tie berry promotions to outdoor activities, including tennis, bicycling and grilling.

California Giant Inc., Watsonville, Calif., plans to promote blueberries during the U.S. Tennis Association’s U.S. Open tournament, which begins Aug. 30.

Cindy Jewell, director of marketing, said California Giant did a similar promotion last year with the Tennis Channel to promote blueberries during the tournament.

Although the details for this year’s promotion were not yet finalized, Jewell said last year’s included tennis professionals talking on air about blueberries and featured on-pack California Giant product labels promoting the Tennis Channel.

California Giant also is in the 10th year of its sponsorship of California Giant Cycling Teams. The tennis and cycling programs communicate the company’s health and fitness messages to eat right and exercise, Jewell said.

Both sports are accessible to many people and can be enjoyed as family activities, so they are ideal for reaching a wide audience.

California Giant also works with individual retailers on specific promotions. Occasionally, the company works with a retailer to raffle off a children’s bicycle in store. A raffle might be part of a store’s grand opening or it might occur in conjunction with a cycling team visit in a market where California Giant has a large share, Jewell said.

California Giant recently completed a three-year promotional partnership with Sesame Street, and it is looking for a different promotional hook to begin this fall, Jewell said.

Partnering outside the industry
In July and August, Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., Watsonville, is partnering with grill manufacturer Weber and individual retailer customers to promote berries for summer entertaining and as ingredients in dishes other than breakfasts or desserts, Douglas Ronan, vice president of marketing.

Edina, Minn.-based Lund Food Holdings Inc., which operates Lunds and Byerly’s supermarkets, features a Driscoll’s Summer Grilling Sweepstakes on its website.

The grand-prize winner will receive a Weber gas grill with a suggested retail price of $2,599 and 10 second-prize winners will each receive berries for a year in the form of 52 $5 coupons for Driscoll’s products. The contest ends Aug. 11.

Apps and sites
The California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville, plans to upgrade its free application that was released in January for the iPhone and the iPod Touch, said Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director. It also plans to release a version for Android phones in September.

The current iPhone application, which O’Donnell said has been downloaded more than 30,000 times, contains 50 recipes for appetizers, beverages, entrees and other foods.

The upgrade will contain more recipes as well as nutritional information. Recipes can be e-mailed or posted to Facebook or Twitter, and users can click on links to the blogs that supplied the recipes, O’Donnell said.

“We’re thrilled (with the success of the application),” she said. “This means 30,000 consumers … have 50 strawberry recipes in their hand when they go to the grocery store.”

The commission is designing a new consumer-oriented website that is to launch in late summer or early fall. The address will be, O’Donnell said. The commission interacts with consumers now via its Facebook page,, where it has been promoting strawberries in partnership with “mommy bloggers.”

Another promotion involves occasional giveaways of a strawberry-shaped teapot to Facebook fans. This fall, the commission plans to sponsor a recipe contest, O’Donnell said.