(March 20) SALINAS, Calif. — Berry shipper Blazer Wilkinson LP is teaming up with The Nunes Co. to extend its reach into the marketplace by introducing the Foxy brand of strawberries.

Under a licensing agreement, Blazer Wilkinson plans to handle all sales of Foxy-brand strawberries, initially targeting retailers and wholesalers in Northern California.

“It’s part of the Central Coast deal when production is up in this area, which will probably be from the middle of March through September or October,” said Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing for Nunes.

The timing for the new venture could be set back a few weeks, however, because of a January freeze that slowed down berry production throughout the state.

“What we’re hearing is that production levels won’t be back to normal until after Easter (April 8),” said Peggy Dillon, public relations specialist for the Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission. “By that time the Watsonville-Salinas area is set to come on board. Traditionally, they start harvesting in mid- to late April.”

Blazer Wilkinson officials declined to comment on projected volumes in the deal.

Seeley said that by adding strawberries to its line of Foxy products, Nunes would become a one-stop shopping experience.

“It’s no secret that the industry is looking for ways to gain greater efficiencies through the loading and handling of product, and this is an ideal situation,” he said. “In this climate of reducing the number of stops a truck has to make and providing retailers and wholesalers with one-stop shopping, they’re going to be able to load the strawberries, the lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower right at the same location.”