That’s the message one berry grower-shipper plans on sharing at this year’s PMA virtual Fresh Summit October 13-15. While the company is there primarily to promote its fresh berry options, including raspberries, it will also focus on the efforts it’s made in the past year particularly around sustainability.
“We haven’t let the pandemic affect our strategic goals and company initiatives,” says Kyla Oberman, director of marketing for Watsonville, CA-based California Giant Berry Farms. She notes for instance that its strategic grower-partner, Satsuma Farms, have made efforts to become Sustainably Grown certified. “This achievement marks them as the first strawberry operation in the world to be Sustainably Grown Certified,” adds Oberman. This is on top of other sustainability initiatives at California Giant including achieving Zero Waste at the company’s headquarters and offering sustainable consumer options such as Bee Better Certified blueberries and corrugated clamshells.
Increased raspberry supplies
One other area of focus that the company is promoting is its raspberry commodity. “Supplies of raspberries are very good right now and we anticipate remaining at strong levels of volume now throughout January,” says Alan Ediger, vice-president of sales for California Giant. He adds that the company’s grower-partners in Mexico have invested in increased acreage and the company is also seeing greater yields from established plants.
While raspberries are currently coming from Michoacán, Guanajuato and Jalisco, California Giant is in production in both Mexico and Watsonville, CA. Other supplies are also coming out of Santa Maria and Oxnard, CA.
“With increasing volume from Mexico, pricing should become more competitive in the coming weeks. Promotional volume and pricing will be available for the fall,” says Ediger, adding that improvements in the quality of raspberries have helped increase general consumer confidence in the product. “We’re expecting a large increase in production within the next two weeks, with volume growing each week.”
These are just some things that will likely be discussed at California Giant’s marketplace page at the show. “It’s disappointing to miss out on the face time an in-person trade show offers,” says Oberman. “But the current situation has caused us all to reach out to our contacts more than we may have before. Our phone conversations are more personalized, and we’ve been able to strengthen our relationships in new and different ways.”