Live Oak Farms' Briana Giampaoli Discusses Upcoming Bell Pepper Transition
LE GRAND, CA - A change of scenery can be good for the soul, and the same can be said for fresh produce. As companies across the industry begin to transition their products, Live Oak is among those making their way to the desert as the grower begins harvest on its bell peppers in Coachella, California.
“We’ve been fortunate,” Briana Giampaoli, Marketing and Product Innovation, explains. “Coachella always presents a few challenges, whether it’s the wind or the high temperatures, and last year was one of the warmest years on record. Luckily, the weather this spring has been pretty ideal with warm days and nights that haven’t been too cool.”
This model weather pattern is working in Live Oak’s favor as the company prepares to start its transition to Coachella beginning in the last week of April. Following its Coachella transition, the grower/shipper will make its way to the California cities of Bakersfield, Le Grand, Gilroy, and then back to Coachella in the fall.
To ensure its continuity of supply and quality throughout the Coachella program, Live Oak has made some key changes to its spring program. These changes will carry over into its transition to Bakersfield, where it will begin its green bell pepper program in late May.
“Having transitioned from being a seasonal provider to a supply chain partner that can service accounts throughout the year, we’ve not let go of the dedication to quality that established Live Oak as a premier grower and shipper,” says Briana. “We’re not the biggest, but we are determined to have a better pepper.”
Prior to the upcoming transition, Briana tells me that the pepper market posed a challenge in Mexico during the winter growing season. Demand is already starting to pick up in the west as buyers ramp up for the California transition, and green bell peppers are active. However, it will be mid-May before Live Oak’s red bell pepper crop is ready, and the demand and market will likely continue to pick up as the Coachella season begins.
This potential upswing is a welcome change for Live Oak and other companies across the industry as the onset of COVID-19 and the ensuing protocols posed a challenge for many in fresh produce.
“A year ago, we were struggling with the growing significance of the COVID pandemic. Now, we’re watching closely as demand across the foodservice industry rebounds,” remarks Briana. “We’re all aware that the supply chain is improving, and there are new opportunities, such as home delivery, that are making their presence felt. Overall, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic as the demand continues to increase.”
With change in the air, how will companies like Live Oak continue to adapt and flourish? We here at AndNowUKnow can’t wait to find out.