( Naturipe Farms LLC )

Berry health symposium set

The Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission will be a sponsor of the Berry Health Benefits Symposium, March 28-30 in Pismo Beach, Calif., said Carolyn O'Donnell, communications director.

Nutrition researchers from around the world will discuss research on all types of berries, she said.

The symposium has been held every two years since 2005 and features findings in many areas including breast and colon cancer, leukemia, diabetes, gut health, metabolism, brain aging, heart health and more, according to its website, berryhealth.org.

O'Donnell said a half-day session on March 28 should provide a particularly good overview of berry health research in layperson's terms.


Cal Giant adds Oxnard acreage

Availability of two new short-day strawberry varieties has enabled Watsonville-based California Giant Berry Farms to increase its acreage in Oxnard for the first time in several years, said Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing.

Until now, the company has planted varieties better suited for northern districts, she said. But success with test plots of petaluma and fronteras varieties has prompted the firm to boost acreage by about 20% in the Oxnard district.

California Giant has added strawberry acreage in other growing regions in California and in Mexico, as well, and has increased overall blueberry acreage, year-round blackberry acreage, and plans to add some new raspberry varieties this fall in Oxnard and Mexico, Jewell said.

The company's trading partners can get biweekly updates through its e-newsletter called The Buzz, she said.

The year-round newsletter contains the latest crop information, field photos, weather updates and marketing programs in place to help build sales and consumer loyalty, Jewell said.


CBS Farms hires salesman

CBS Farms, Watsonville, Calif., has added to its sales staff, said Charlie Staka, operations manager. Brad Peterson, most recently with Watsonville-based Well-Pict Inc., is now helping to sell CBS Farm's strawberries.

The company's volume should be similar to last year's, Staka said.

As of late January, quality was looking good on this year's crop.

"The plants are very healthy this season and growing quite well," he said.


Photo by Dole Food Co.

Dole launches berry snack pack

Dole Food Co. plans to launch a snack pack called Dole Go Berries! in mid-February, according to a news release.

The proprietary package will contain three 4-ounce snap-apart packs of fresh strawberries made just for snacking. It will be ventilated to keep the berries fresh and is designed for easy in-pack rinsing.

"While fruit remains America's top daytime snack choice, there hasn't been an easy way for shoppers to enjoy their favorite berries away from home — until now," CarrieAnn Arias, vice president of marketing for Monterey, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Vegetables and Berries, said in the release.

The retail price will be similar to Dole's 1-pound strawberry clamshells.


Naturipe to mark 100th anniversary

Naturipe Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif., will include its customers in its 100th anniversary celebration this year through in-store and digital promotions, said Kyla Oberman, director of marketing.

The company also will showcase a special edition 100-year label on Naturipe products this year.

"Over the past 100 years, Naturipe has brought dedication, commitment and premium-quality berries to the produce industry through its unique partnership of fresh berry growers," the company said.

"Its diverse grower base and focus on innovation, sustainability and social responsibility ensures year-round availability of only the best locally grown and in-season globally conventional and organic berries."