Lakeside Organic Gardens' Katie Bassmann Dishes on New Facility
WATSONVILLE, CA - In organic produce, it’s time to think big. The industry has seen the segment rapidly turn into a movement, with projected double-digit growth in the next decade. That’s why this year, Lakeside Organic Gardens is rising to the occasion by doubling down to scale up.
With its focus on growth, I connected with Lakeside Organic Gardens’ Katie Bassmann, Marketing and Communications Director, to learn what it takes to be competitive and grow in the organic produce market.
“The demand for organic produce is expanding so rapidly it is hard for producers to keep up. This doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Here at Lakeside, as a strictly organic producer since 1996, we have been prepared and will continue to be ready to meet demand of our customers and consumers,” Katie tells me.
Katie tells me that in 2016 Lakeside Organic Gardens realized it needed to at least double the capacity of its facility in order to meet the huge demand from customers. In response, the company made significant investments into opening a new Watsonville cooling and shipping facility.
The company is upgrading from a 10,000-square-foot cooling space to 50,000-square-foot cooling space, while also increasing from three to eight truck bays. Having broken ground in September of 2016, the facility is anticipated to be open for business by April 1, 2017.
“We are focusing on customer service, and expanding our client base," Katie says."With this new facility, we will be able to ship out a higher volume of vegetables to answer consumer demand, as well as cut shipping and loading time significantly."
The next phase will be opening additional administrative offices alongside the facility. This expansion is an exciting development, with new positions being created in the Lakeside Organic Gardens family.
Speaking of family, Lakeside Organic Gardens is one of the largest family-owned and operated exclusively organic vegetable growers in the U.S. Founder, Dick Peixoto and his extended family started packing organic vegetables with the Lakeside Organic Gardens label in 1996. By 2000, the total acreage farmed by Lakeside Organic Gardens was 100% organic. The company continues to be family oriented, with its 250 (and counting) employees.
Be sure to check back in with AndNowUKnow to discover how organic growers like Lakeside Organic Gardens are continuing to push ahead and innovate to meet growing organic produce demand.