Varietal peppers have seen a big increase in the last 2 years

Agribusiness company manages commodities from “Seed to Table”

Oakes Farms started nearly 90 years ago. Since then with 1,400 acres of farmland it has also branched into its own retail stores, all which operate under the Seed to Table agribusiness model. Oakes Farms solely manages all of its commodities from the ground to the packaging and tight local distribution to its own stores and other chains. 100 per cent of the operations is done by the farm’s own team, including sales and marketing. “We seldom sell to brokers; we try to go directly to the end user right at the grocery store level, the food service level or directly out of our own retail stores,” explained Steve Veneziano, Vice President of Sales and Operations of Oakes Farms. “It’s really just that earthly family feel – us controlling the product flow from the actual seed to our own farmland, our own compost and our own harvesting team, sales, cooling and retail to get that product from seed to the customer’s table.”

Open position on all commodities
All products in the premium Seed to Table packaging are marked with the date when it was packed and sealed. The farm’s two main commodities include varietal peppers and eggplant, although they also grow bell peppers and tomatoes. “We’re wide open right now on all commodities,” Veneziano said. The farm has anchored a unique offering on getting farmer’s market style freshness into retail. “A lot of shippers might harvest and let it sit in the cooler and then they sell it, whereas we harvest it to order and we ship it out directly to the customer on the same day of harvesting,” said Veneziano. 

Magnificent growth in varietal pepper segment
Pepper supply is very strong right now and the weather has been good. “Demand has been fantastic for us.” Veneziano said markets are fairly weak overall for both bell pepper and the other varietals at this time. “They’re on the low end of things but I believe that’s because of the ideal growing conditions.” Consumption remains high though – and continuing to increase. “The varietal pepper trend has seen magnificent growth. We have had very high movement over the last couple of years,” he said. “We’re marketing it very strongly. I think a lot of it is the generation really branching out and trying new things and being experimental.”

Oakes Farms currently operates its Oakes Farm Market store and the Food & Thought organic café, juice bar, grocery and clothing store – both in Naples, Florida. A new Seed to Table store is set to open next year, likely in November 2017.

For more information:
Steve Veneziano
Oakes Farms

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