U.S.:Marketing boards develop promotions around summer festivals, centennials
June 29, 2015

Berry commodity boards have planned a wealth of activities this summer to call attention to all kinds of berries.Berry fest 1

Strawberry website

The California Strawberry Commission, Watsonville, has transformed an old platform, calstrawberry.com, into a new grower- and trade-oriented website that should be an important resource for market data and grower regulations, said Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director.

The new site has sections dedicated to training and education, market data, promoting strawberries, industry news, research and a calendar of events.

The “reports” heading includes links to the National Berry Report, the commission’s Pink Sheet that lists current production figures and the latest acreage report. The “regulations” heading includes links to information about a variety of topics, such as pesticide safety and correct use of working tools.

The commission also launched a blog site, heartoffarmers.com, that allows farmers to tell their stories and includes posts from guest bloggers.

“It gives a more public voice to farmers,” O’Donnell said, “and makes their stories easy to find.”

The commission also is hosting bloggers on a field trip in Santa Maria in late June.

“We’ll introduce them to actual strawberry farmers,” O’Donnell said, “and give them a firsthand look at the complexities of raising strawberries, and let them enjoy different culinary experiences with strawberries.”

The tours have proven popular for bloggers and growers alike, she said.

Oregon Berry Festival

The Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, Corvallis, is the host sponsor of the LifeWise Oregon Berry Festival set for July 17-18, said Darcy Kochis, an owner of Food First Marketing LLC, the marketing agency for the commission and coordinators of the berry festival.

The Oregon Strawberry Commission, the Oregon Blueberry Commission and the Oregon Cranberry Growers Association also will help sponsor the festival.

Culinary demonstrations are planned featuring specialty items made especially for the event — like sweet dumplings with berries — Kochis said.

“They’re taking a cuisine that wouldn’t normally use berries and putting them into it,” she said.

A healthy berry pavilion will highlight the health benefits of berries and feature dietitians, nutritionists and products that focus on health, like black raspberry powder.

“And we’re bringing back the old-fashioned pie contest,” she said.

There will be home chef and professional chef divisions as participants vie to create Oregon’s best blackberry pie.

A gala berry dinner scheduled for July 18 is planned to be prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Jim Dodge, author of “American Baker.”

The free, family-friendly festival is scheduled at the Ecotrust Event Space in Portland.

“This is a very large PR opportunity to shine a spotlight on the industry,” Kochis said.

100 years of blueberries

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Folsom, Calif., will kick off National Blueberry Month on July 1 by launching a year-long commemoration of the first commercial crop of highbush blueberries, said Emily Valentine, a spokeswoman.

The blueberries that have become so popular today were first harvested in the summer of 1916 in highbush blueberry fields in Whitesbog, N.J., she said.

Among the activities:

•Blueberry sampling and educational displays at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.;

•Blueberry sampling and displays at 125 employee cafeterias for companies including major banking institutions, media giants, national museums, government agencies and advertising agencies;

•Creative blueberry dishes featured on food truck menus in Washington, D.C.;

•Social media contests encouraging consumers to share photos of their favorite blueberry dishes on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter;

•National and regional media placements, including a feature on the Science Channel’s “How It’s Made” program; and

•Digital marketing and advertising.

“Americans are increasingly interested in the story behind their food,” Mark Villata, executive director for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, said in a news release.  “Our centennial marketing programs tap into that trend to encourage blueberry purchases during peak supply periods.”

Photo: The LifeWise Oregon Berry Festival is scheduled for July 17-18 in Portland. The Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission is sponsoring the even with the help of the Oregon Strawberry Commission, the Oregon Blueberry Commission and the Oregon Cranberry Growers Association.


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