Sahara Packing Co. CFO Kate Elmore Discusses Imperial Star Artichoke Variety, Seasonality, Asparagus, and More
BRAWLEY, CA - I love artichokes. Let me put it this way; there are more days of the year when I have my fridge stocked with the edible flower then days I don’t. With growing regions shifting to provide the category year-round, this writer is a happy camper, and Sahara Packing Co. has a little piece of my heart.
CFO Kate Elmore joins me to talk about the company’s latest and to share the 411 on Sahara’s popular and unique Imperial Star variety.
“From the first glance, you can tell our artichokes are a meaty and premium quality artichoke. Grown along the coast just south of Ensenada, Mexico, our artichokes will very rarely, if at all, see frost damage,” Kate tells me, adding that the company is offering a limited supply this year and are very excited to be bringing this beautiful globe artichoke to the market this season. “While the Imperial Star variety is known as being thornless, our artichokes have the appearance of a thorned variety and offer chefs and restaurants the benefits of substantial leaves and a delicious heart.”
Sahara hopes to be harvesting through April, at which point the company will kick off its summer routine of delivering premium asparagus from first of June through the end of October.
When I ask Kate how she sees this artichoke and Sahara impacting the category and the marketplace in valuable and diversifying ways, she tells me that the artichoke space is dominated by some key players. And while she is happy to see her fellow growers and shippers advance their market share for delivering a continual product, Kate feels Sahara’s artichokes can offer a unique alternative this winter season.
“Our artichokes truly showcase this delicious superfood with their shape and vibrant green appearance,” she says. “They will be enticing to customers who may be unsure of how to tackle cooking an artichoke. Finally, with the end consumer more concerned over where their food is coming from, Sahara offers buyers the opportunity to work directly with the grower and a family that has been in produce for over sixty years.”
There is passion in all the details that Kate provides, and the industry is in her blood. Growing up in a produce family, Kate found herself out in the fields picking lettuce or digging potatoes and would sell leftover watermelons from the field at her lemonade stand.
“Produce and farming have been an integral part of me, and always knew I wanted to continue our family business and sell Sahara produce for another fifty years,” Kate reflects. “With consolidation in the produce industry and the need to be able to supply year-round product, my family had to step back from the sales-end of the business. However, with the next generation joining the business, we are eager and excited to be selling our own produce and to be able to work with our buyers directly to deliver them a premium quality product, whether that be our artichokes, asparagus, or any future product grown by Sahara!”
Sahara is a family-run operation that was founded in the late 60s, and was a staple of the produce industry through the early 2000s. Kate is the granddaughter of the one of the founders of the original Sahara, John Elmore, and is very excited to be a part of restarting the sales company that she grew up around.