Danielle Loustalot, marketing specialist, discusses the bee-friendly certification the company recently received. ( Ashley Nickle )

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Sun World International spoke about its grape programs and showcased a special element of its sustainability efforts May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo. 

Danielle Loustalot, marketing specialist for Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World, said the company is the first commercial grape grower to receive a Certified Bee Friendly Farms designation. It received confirmation of the status at the end of last year.

“We recently, as part of our larger sustainability program, decided to partner with an organization in California that does a program that’s called Seeds for Bees, so they provide California growers with bee-friendly crop seeds to plant in their vineyards, and the crop provides habitat and nutrition and breeding grounds for honeybees to try to repopulate them in the area,” Loustalot said. “We’re going to keep growing and keep expanding the efforts, but we’re kind of here today to talk a little bit about that program and kind of get people excited about the efforts.”

Sun World committed to donate $5 for every business card it collected at the expo to Project Apis m., a group that aims to support the bee population in California.

Sun World expected its Mexican grape program to begin the week of May 14 and its early-season grapes from the Coachella Valley to follow.