There are many reasons why one organic grape grower likes the Organic Produce Summit enough that it would commit to exhibiting every year.
“It’s a good sized show that promotes interaction between the growers and the buying community,” says Mitch Wetzel of Sunview Marketing in McFarland, Ca. “We’ve participated in the OPS since its inception and are excited to exhibit again this year. It appears to be growing in size and popularity with buyers in the organic segment. But it’s small enough to have good personal conversations with our customers.”
Sunview grows organic table grapes and raisins in California’s Central Valley and the timing of the show also works well with the growing seasons. “The show is at the beginning of the grape season here and it’s a good opportunity to talk to our customers about our varieties and ways to increase their grape category sales,” says Wetzel, who notes that it supplies red, green and black organic grapes from July through the end of the calendar year.
New variety on the table
For the upcoming show, Sunview will have information about its new organic grape varieties available, including the debut of new organic Sweet Carnival™ grapes. “This is the first year we will have commercial volumes of this amazing variety,” Wetzel says. “While the actual grapes will not be quite ready to physically be at the show, we will be able to talk about them with buyers and we will have the packaging. This particular variety will be ready for sale from the end of August through October.”
He does add that given the cool temperatures during the spring in the Central Valley the start of the season will be delayed a few days, but that estimates for the season’s crop are in line with last year.
Also in the booth is information about its year-round raisin program. “Our sales have been growing exponentially and we get a significant amount of consumers calling us directly looking for our jumbo raisins,” says Wetzel.
Given the show’s setting, Wetzel is looking forward to discussing the organic program with existing and potential customers. “What is uplifting about the show is the commitment that the industry has for organic produce,” he says. “Especially from growers, you can hear the passion for farming. It is truly a labor of love.”
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