Bobalu Berries, Oxnard, Calif., has hired Tom O’Brien as sales account manager.
O’Brien is former president and founder of Florida strawberry and vegetable grower C&D Fruit and Vegetable Co. Inc., Bradenton, Fla. He joined Bobalu Berries in early February, and will work in the California office during the season there and be in Florida in the off-season, said Anthony Gallino, vice president of sales.
When O’Brien is in Florida, he will be the “eyes and ears” for Bobalu Berries, continuing to handle accounts for Mexican berries and meeting with clients as needed on the East Coast.
Gallino said the company plans to expand with Florida production in 2021.
Bobalu also promoted Ashley Viveros to sales coordinator, according to a news release.
The company has been farming in California since 1962, but recently started marketing its own strawberries, and expanding beyond Oxnard in California and adding Mexico as a source.
In 2018, O’Brien announced he was selling C&D Fruit and Vegetable and his other company, Trio Farms, due to factors that included rising labor costs, competition from Mexican imports, and an embezzlement at the company, for which a bookkeeper was convicted.
Equity Partners, Easton, Md., reported in January 2019 that C&D Fruit and Vegetable’s land and equipment were auctioned off to separate bidders, dissolving the company.
California strawberry season
Bobalu Berries is expecting strong spring and Easter promotions of the California strawberry crop.
Harvest in the Oxnard area has begun, and volume will rise through the peak shipping time in March and April, according to a news release.
“Weather to date has been favorable for the plants, and the berries being harvested couldn’t look or taste any better,” Gallino said in the release.
The transition from Oxnard to Santa Maria harvests should be smooth, he said.