WATSONVILLE, CA - It’s been a year full of development and expansion at California Giant Berry Farms – and not just internally with their growing team.
This year, the berry company has expanded their raspberry program exponentially, providing year-round availability of the crop, while adding consistency to their 4-berry program. The key word for California Giant is consistency: in quality, consumer messaging, and production – they are now able to supply their partners and consumers with all their berry needs, all the time.
The company’s evolving and rapidly expanding Mexico raspberry program has grown tenfold within the last year alone. The program has already resulted in well-received feedback from their partners – not to mention the impressive growing methods and techniques behind the Mexico winter crop. In addition to this, the incredible raspberry variety – the Adelita – bred from Planasa, can arguably stand up to any other variety or label on the market.
“This expanding raspberry program has been pivotal for us,” says California Giant Director of Retail Sales, Nick Chappell, who recently visited their Central Mexico operations covering over 1,300 miles of terrain and met with multiple growers and field personnel. “Our raspberry operations in Mexico are both advanced and progressive, and ultimately, the gap we once had in the winter months where our raspberry supply had fallen short has now been filled. We look forward to offering year-round availability of all four berries and offering a smooth transition from our Mexico season all the way through the start of our California season.”
Not only has the berry company turned into a year-round powerhouse supplier of all four berries, but they also kicked off their newly implemented winter cross-docking collaboration earlier this month with Mann Packing in Yuma, Arizona.
“We launched this cross-docking consolidation collaboration to provide customers with a one-stop-shop,” explains California Giant Director of Foodservice, Tom Smith. “The duration of the Yuma season typically runs from late November through mid-March – during this timeframe we can approximate cross-docking 15,000-20,000 cartons of fruit per week, resulting in a much more efficient consolidation process. Customers can reduce the number of stops on their trucks, therefore reducing time on the road and adding shelf life to the berries when they arrive to the consumer. We plan to return to the Salinas Valley in Spring 2019 to further this partnership as we continue to service our customers.”
In addition to their one-stop-shop approach - they are essentially bringing the ‘shop’ to their partners so they can also load their vegetable orders while in the desert. The continuation of collaborating with vegetable shippers is certainly on their radar as they explore freight-forwarding opportunities in the future.
As much needed rainfall swept California last week and brought the Salinas-Watsonville season to an end, berry volume remains strong and steady for California Giant as Mexico, Florida and South America contribute to the fall-winter months with an abundance of fresh, quality berries.
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