Naturipe Farms' Jim Roberts Discusses California Blueberry Season and Promotional Opportunities
CALIFORNIA - The berry category continues to deliver stellar sales results for retailers, and grower partners are giving it their all to continue this trend. One such berry increasing basket size is none other than the blueberry, and for good reason. Full of vitamins and flavor, this blue berry is a must-have in the produce aisle.
To check in on the California blueberry season, I spoke with Jim Roberts, President of Sales at Naturipe Farms.
“The season is looking very good so far," Jim assured me. “While timing is slightly later than last year, the crop size and quality look outstanding. We are expecting nice increases over last season on both conventional and organic blueberries, with volumes ramping up in the month of May through about the end of June.”
The overall market for domestic blueberries, as Jim told me, has finally woken up, especially now that Georgia is in its peak. Although the West Coast is a little behind on production compared to the East Coast, Naturipe is a major producer in multiple growing regions—meaning it can keep up with demand.
“We are not only one of the largest producers of California blueberries, but one with the most diverse growing regions, shipping from as far south as Arvin and Maricopa, all the way up to just south of Sacramento,” Jim continued. “This allows us to provide West Coast retailers an extended season of locally grown product and takes us right up until the start of the Pacific Northwest season. This means our retail partners are able to feature and cross-promote California blueberries and California strawberries while they are both in peak production of high quality nutritious and delicious berries.”
Through Munger Farms and Hortifruit, Naturipe is able to bring high quality conventional and organic blueberries to market.
In order to ensure its retail partners have everything they need from a premium berry supplier, Jim outlined several strategies that help Naturipe stand apart.
“For more than a decade, we have had a major focus on bringing new proprietary varieties to the market with the largest private breeding program in the industry,” he explained. “We are thrilled to share that we are now seeing commercial production from all of our growing regions across all four berries. This ensures our ability to continue delivering the highest quality, best testing berries to the market, which enables customers to grow sales in the category.”
Naturipe also loves to partner with its customers to ensure they get the service they need as well as the promotional programs to best suit them and their shoppers.
“Our team’s and our growers’ passion for berries, coupled with our diverse portfolio of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, sets us apart in helping our customers deliver the results they are looking for from the berry category,” Jim concluded.
Be on the lookout for the latest in fresh produce news here at AndNowUKnow.