It’s the big show. That’s pretty much how one North Carolina blueberry marketer describes the upcoming Fresh Summit 2019, taking place in Anaheim, Ca. October 17-19.
“Last year was our first year exhibiting and at this show, the retailers want to be there. It’s a good place to be seen, and to share ideas with partners,” says Lee Kimball of Somerfield Farms LLC based out of Wilmington, NC. “We want to be in that forum where all of these ideas are being shared, and increase our visibility with customers that we don’t get a chance to talk to on a day to day basis.”
And it’s booth, #389, Somerfield will be discussing a number of its programs including strawberries, blackberries and especially blueberries since it has a 12-month blueberry program. As it wraps up its domestic program with few supplies coming out of British Columbia, it’s readying itself for its import program.
Investing in Mexican program
“Right now we’re shipping Mexican product that’s coming in via McAllen. The season is really just getting underway, but we have invested heavily into our Mexican program and are looking forward to a big year,” says Kimball. “The blueberries coming out of Mexico have excellent size, bloom and most importantly, taste. Our customers are looking forward to the high quality fruit, and the volume that will be coming soon.”
He adds that the blueberry market is interesting since it’s “all over the place” during this transition time. “Pricing right now is in the $30s on pints. And I’m hearing on the Peruvian supplies are anywhere from $28-$36 on pints. It’s a really interesting time period right now,” says Kimball.
New Somerfield staff
Along with its investments into its Mexican program, Somerfield has also brought new faces on board. “We have brought Tyler Heath on to the team as and look forward to the positive impact Tyler will have with our retail partners,” says Kimball. “Tyler has a very successful track record finding ways to improve the effectiveness of business relationships, and comes in with rolled up sleeves ready to make us a better partner.”
Along with its berry programs, Somerfield will also be discussing its company technology that Kimball feels sets them apart from other berry marketers. “We provide our partners with a technology that we built and it gives us block chain ready capabilities,” he says. “We have the capability to take a berry that’s picked out of a clamshell and within a couple of seconds after reading the codes tell you what part of the field it came form, the soil types, who were the pickers in the field that day, who was working on the packing line and the age of the plant and more. We want to share that with the retailers that we’re providing a level of risk management.”