Cherie France, Scott Mabs, and Chad Hansen Talk Homegrown Organic Farms Blueberries
PORTERVILLE, CA - With double-digit growth in many of Homegrown Organic Farms’ national blueberry accounts, the company has kicked off its blueberry harvest at its southern San Joaquin Valley farms in California. Conditions brought on an earlier harvest this year and Homegrown is slated to transition up to its Central SJV farms as well, this week.
Homegrown’s Marketing Manager Cherie France; Scott Mabs, Chief Executive Officer, and Chad Hansen, Blueberry Category Manager spoke with me about the company’s outlook for the start of the season, how weather is playing a role, and the hot topics in the blueberry category.
“Our sustained warmer winter and shorter spring time weather patterns have contributed to another early start to the California time period as a whole. However, over the past few weeks as nighttime temperatures have cooled we expect to see a reduction in the projected early season volumes,” Cherie tells me.
Homegrown’s Oregon production is projected to begin earlier than normal as well, and California’s projections are pointing toward a more concentrated production peak during mid-May. The company expects to transition to its Oregon farms in late June/early July.
“This experience coupled with the projected earlier start date in Oregon will allow California’s production to flow nicely into the Oregon time period,” Cherie notes. “We’re anticipating another great season with our California and Oregon production.”
Along with Homegrown’s category growth, the company has seen and experienced an increased concern in social responsibility, including food safety, sustainability, and labor, across all fresh produce commodities.
Scott Mabs tells me, “We pride ourselves on the fact that we’ve always been a market leader when it comes to valuing these important issues. Our customers have come to recognize our practices as we continue to spend the time and effort affirming and directing these conversations and establishing our reputation.”
Homegrown achieves this through its Field and Farming Operations, Production Team, QC Team, Food Safety Team, and Marketing Department and telling Homegrown’s stories through the Committed to Caring program.
As berries continue to trend at the top of the snacking categories, Chad Hansen notes that, “Fresh organic blueberries are an extremely hot topic. This is driven by increased consumption, strong consumer demand, excellent industry innovation, sustained high quality, responsible marketing as well as many other contributing factors.”
Homegrown prides themselves on the company’s cutting edge blueberry varietal selection and as well as its high flavor and quality characteristics which not only offer premium shipping quality but high eating features as well.