Ocean Mist® Farms' Diana McClean and Philip Barrientos Discuss Booming Artichoke Season
SALINAS, CA - Promotional volumes of artichokes are here just in time for consumers to enjoy barbecue season, and Ocean Mist Farms says it is ready to meet inevitable summer demand.
“Volume is looking great heading into the summer months, and quality is excellent as well,” Philip Barrientos, Artichoke Commodity Manager, assures me. As the recent California weather mellows out, I expect to see good, consistent quality artichokes through the summer.”
He shares that the current market is seeing high-volume, which is attributed to the recent cold wet weather, followed by high temperatures.
“During the cold and wet spell, artichoke growth slowed down and volume was a bit under what we had budgeted for that time frame. We also ended up a few days behind in our harvest schedule due to the slow growth. However, once we got into warmer weather, the chokes really jumped and we’ve really seen a lot of volume come on between last week and this week. Weather permitting, we should be back on track with budgeted volumes within the next week or so,” Philip shares.
And it looks like weather will permit, with Mother Nature having been kinder to artichokes than other categories in the region.
“We’ve seen how the weather has played a factor in the celery, leaf, and iceberg markets, but besides the small growth delays mentioned above, Mother Nature hasn’t caused many hurdles for artichokes this season,” Philip comments.
With this in mind he and Senior Director of Marketing Diana McClean are looking forward to the promotional opportunities summer months bring retailers.
“Did you know that artichokes are one of the most nutritious fresh vegetables in the produce aisle that also brings a premium ring at the register?” Diana asks me. “As the artichoke category leader, we invest in consumer research and a comprehensive year-round permission-based marketing program, with the goal to inspire and educate shoppers about artichokes, and drive in-store product recognition and sales.”
These efforts, she explains, provide information Ocean Mist Farms uses to refine and define marketing activities like in-house developed recipes, influencers it partners with, and the product options it offers.
“Summer artichoke season has started which means it’s time to get grilling,” Philip adds on the topic of recipes and uses. “More and more consumers are looking for artichokes year-round and are finding new ways to incorporate them into their summer meals. Artichokes are a great item for a nice summer BBQ and we’ll be working with our retail partners to promote chokes all season long.”
28 percent of shoppers prefer to purchase two artichokes at a time, while 26 percent typically purchase four, plus they want to know how to prepare them, according to Ocean Mist. In response, the grower offers a packaged artichoke line; a 4-count jumbo size in a handle bag, a 4-count medium size in a clamshell, and a 2-count medium size in a microwaveable bag (part of its award winning Season & Steam product line).
This is all in addition to Ocean Mist Farms’ bulk artichoke offerings, from jumbo to babies.
“Ocean Mist Farms has been cultivating artichokes since 1924 and organic artichokes since 1989 (under the Ocean Mist Organic label since 2015). Our recent Gold Standard Artichoke campaign is a testament to our artichoke expertise,” Diana concludes.
Keep an eye on your inbox as the AndNowUKnow team continues to bring you the latest on key summer categories.