Ocean Mist® Farms Hits Winter Brussels Sprouts Peak; Mark Munger Discusses
SALINAS, CA - One of the trendier vegetables is enjoying peak volumes and is ready to meet merchandising opportunities for the next few weeks. Brussels sprouts, I recently learned, have responded well to the California weather over the past month.
“We are currently in our winter peak on Brussels sprouts in Coachella, California,” Mark Munger, Senior Director of Marketing for Ocean Mist® Farms, shares. With the unprecedented storms California has seen, he shared that the region did get some rain, but it was optimal for the crop. “Our commodity manager shared it has been absolutely ideal for growing Ocean Mist Brussels sprouts, with the rain pushing the salts down and the plants getting a good dose of water; it’s good for the quality, for the water table, and helps us in that we do not have to irrigate.”
While the Coachella area does maintain a rather temperate microclimate, cooler weather has slowed harvest by delaying softer green growth like that of leaf lettuce and broccoli. But, Mark explains, Brussels respond well to that weather with a tighter, heavier, more dense sprout and excellent quality.
“We are expecting promotable, high-quality volume for Brussels sprouts through February, which is exciting as this has become a year-round in-demand item,” he says. “You don’t see a deviation in purchasing habits with weather or time of year. Roast, broil, steam, or grill them, and it’s great for Ocean Mist in that we can follow the seasons to offer a strong, consistent program to meet that need.”
In addition to the multi-faceted ways to consume them, Mark contributes this Brussels sprout boom to huge strides in flavor over the past decade.
“Flavor is usually a fresh fruit topic, but Brussels sprouts have become a part of that conversation now. In the last 10–12 years, we’ve seen a lot of innovation in variety improvement, making them less acidic and much sweeter,” he points out. “Flavors that I think customers will find have been amplified by the recent rain.”
That is not to say that the grower hasn’t seen impacts from the winter weather, which Mark tells me has truly shown the commitment and ingenuity of employees as they work to maintain its Salinas, California, home fields.
“Ocean Mist is maintaining Salinas fields consistently, and it truly is amazing to see. Tractors can’t go in the field right now, so the workers are towing in buckets and working to keep things maintained by hand out in the cold and mud, which is so inspiring to see,” Mark reflects.
As someone constantly inspired by this industry every day, I agree wholeheartedly.
Ocean Mist’s pack offerings of Brussels sprouts are as varied as the product’s prep options, which Mark says not only helps drive category growth, but makes purchase convenient for retailers and shoppers alike.
As we continue to report on this and other moving produce categories, AndNowUKnow will bring you the latest.