California Giant Berry Farms, headquartered in Watsonville, CA, anticipates a sweet fall berry season and one that will help consumers achieve goals of healthfulness and good eating.
Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing, said the fall berry season is currently on track. “We have had very mild weather conditions this summer so the timing of the fall season looks great so far — knocking on wood — for great quality and volume,” she told The Produce News.
Strawberry production from Watsonville and Salinas, CA, stays in season once the spring crop comes on. “The Santa Maria fall berries complement the existing volume in the market from the northern districts,” she stated. “The Santa Maria crop is expected to begin in late August-early September.”
Blueberries will be imported from South America beginning in October, and blackberries from Mexico will move into the pipeline in November. “We typically begin our imported blueberry season in October and the start date is definitely a moving target depending on weather conditions,” Jewell explained. “The blackberry season starts in late October-early November as well — again based on weather conditions.”
California Giant plans to roll out a back-to-school program in August, “preparing moms for the dreaded early morning breakfast-on-the-go and the ‘lunch boxes,’ providing new ways to get kids energized for breakfast and new ideas to get them to actually eat what is packed in their lunch box,” Jewel said. “We will offer a free e-book with lots of recipes and tips and some free giveaways during August and September. We will also have some fun in October with a new version of our ‘Scary Berries’ promotion, providing some great unique ways to dress up California Giant berries for Halloween.”
The company is very mindful of using social media and networking to its full advantage. “We connect on all platforms with our audience and have strong alliances with some social influencers that help to extend our reach and serve as third-party spokespersons for our brand,” she stated. “We are fully focused on learning more and more about the shoppers that love our brand and continue to find ways to get them the information they want without bombarding them with information they don’t want.”
The company’s test kitchen is already getting a workout with Kristin Kleiber working her magic. “Believe it or not, we are working on some holiday recipes and photography in our kitchen right now, as well as some of the fun recipes we will be offering our consumers for back-to-school,” Jewell added.