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Organic vegetables are hot commodities in supermarket produce departments, and celery, in particular, seems to be a current trendsetter. 

Oxnard, Calif.-based Boskovich Farms was able to hand plant its organic celery crop between rainstorms this winter and will have a new crop available until early July, said Darrell Beyer, organic sales manager.

The company has long planted organic celery, but the program seems to be growing steadily, Beyer said.

Some growers tend to downsize during the summer because of local deals, but so far, Boskovich Farms has been able to maintain good traction on products like celery and three varieties of kale, and Beyer said he is hopeful the company can keep the momentum going.

Boskovich Farms also grows broccoli, cilantro, green and red cabbage and three varieties of chard and plans to add cauliflower next season.

Lakeside Organic Gardens, Watsonville, Calif., also had a good celery crop, said Marliese Ward, creative marketing manager.

Planting took place in December in California’s Santa Cruz County, and the harvest was underway the second week of April, despite the unusual cold, wet winter.

“We are predicting an interesting summer,” she said, “with spring rains pushing other plantings back some.”

Cauliflower, which took a bit of a hit during the winter, already was starting improve, she said April 10.

Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc. has five farms that grow certified organic mushrooms — two in California and one each in Texas, Tennessee and Illinois — said Lindsey Roberts, marketing manager.    

Monterey offers organic whole white mushrooms, organic sliced whites, organic whole baby bellas, organic sliced baby bellas and organic portabellas in 8-ounce, 16-ounce or 24-ounce recyclable till containers.

“Monterey’s certified organic mushrooms are produced under the defined set of standards as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and all packages carry the USDA Certified Organic symbol,” she said.

The mushrooms are grown indoors and the compost is pasteurized before planting, she said.

The fresh-crop potato program is the big push at Cal-Organic Farms, a division of Bakersfield, Calif.-based Grimmway Farms, said Kellen Stailey, vice president of marketing.

The company started to harvest and pack red potatoes and gold potatoes in mid-April.

“We are one of the few suppliers with fresh crop, organic potatoes available,” Stailey said.

“The quality is beautiful,” she added, “and we are looking forward to offering not only straight red and gold bags, but also a potato medley bag, which includes a colorful combination of both varieties.”

Cal-Organic russet and fingerling potato crops are on target for early June harvest, she said.

San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based Earthbound Farm offers an extensive roster of organic salads, vegetables and some fruits, said Jessica Harris, senior marketing and innovation manager.

“New for us are our green- and red-leaf lettuces and our artichoke program, which we trialed down in the desert and are expanding into full production now, back here in the Northern California season,” she said.

Baby bok choy is also a new program at Earthbound Farm that consumers seem to be excited about, she said.

Other organic vegetable items the company offers include broccoli, broccolette, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery hearts, bunched beets, romaine hearts, bunched greens, cucumbers, garlic, fennel, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes. 

The Packer’s Global Organic Produce Exposition & Conference (GOPEX) provides a forum to meet the rapidly changing needs of professionals who grow, distribute, pack and market organic produce. This international trade show and conference provides the ideal opportunity for organic produce professionals from around the world to network, exchange ideas, source new products and services, and do business with the industry's leading growers, distributors, packers, marketers and retailers. 


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