(UPDATED COVERAGE, Nov. 8) The California Grown campaign from the Sacramento-based Buy California Marketing Agreement has expanded its efforts to connect residents of the state’s metropolitan areas with grower-shippers.

A 2010 campaign used photographs to introduce growers to shoppers.

“This year, we decided to expand on that and to create a video series of California farmers, so that they could in their own words tell their stories, who they are and what they do,” said Maile Shanahan Geis, the marketing agreement’s executive director.

The fresh-from-the-farm video and recipe series highlights the people behind some of California’s favorite fruits and vegetables.

Launched Nov. 4, five grower-shippers are featured in the series of videos:

  • Avocado grower Alex McLachlan of Bonsall;
  • Cherry grower Dean Devine of Lodi;
  • Kiwifruit grower Jasbir Singh Kullar of Gridley;
  • Pear grower Virginia Hemly Chhabra of Courtland; and
  • Cut flower grower Janet Louie of Salinas.

In the videos, the growers share what inspired them to become producers, what motivates them and why they feel it’s important for the state’s shoppers to buy California grown products.UPDATED: Videos connect consumers with California growers

The challenge of informing the produce buying consumer is becoming less difficult, Shanahan Geis said.

“I think in today’s climate consumers are thirsty for this sort of information,” she said. “More than ever more consumers are interested in where their food and flowers come from and are interested in knowing the stories of the people who produce them.”

A sixth video — featuring an asparagus grower — is scheduled to be added to the series next year, Shanahan Geis said. Budget constraints prevent adding more videos this fiscal year, she said.   

“We’d love to have hundreds of these videos,” Shanahan Geis said. “They’re high quality, and we think they tell a nice story.”

The videos are at www.californiagrown.org/farmers.

Recipes, some of which were developed by growers, are also available on the site.