Don Hobson (from left), vice president of sales and marketing; salesmen Dewayne Harrell, Tom Hassenbein and Santiago Pena; new sales manager Russ Widerburg; and saleswoman Alexia Butterworth (front center) of Boskovich Farms Inc., Oxnard, Calif., are set for a strong Southern California strawberry season, despite a slightly late start.
Don Hobson (from left), vice president of sales and marketing; salesmen Dewayne Harrell, Tom Hassenbein and Santiago Pena; new sales manager Russ Widerburg; and saleswoman Alexia Butterworth (front center) of Boskovich Farms Inc., Oxnard, Calif., are set for a strong Southern California strawberry season, despite a slightly late start.

Andrew & Williamson to adopt social media

San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce is about to launch a more consumer-centric version of its website and make its first foray into social media with Facebook and possibly Google+, said Mark Munger, vice president of marketing.

“We’re not experienced in it yet, but we think there’s a lot of value (in social media), and I think consumers are interested in understanding where their food comes from,” he said. “A lot of the social media outlets give us a good opportunity to tell a story.”

Boskovich Farms hires experienced salesman

Boskovich Farms Inc., Oxnard, Calif., has hired a salesman, said Russ Widerburg, sales manager.

Dewayne Harrell, most recently with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, N.C., is selling all f.o.b. commodities for Boskovich Farms.

The company also has boosted its acreage by 10% and now grows on 250 acres, Widerburg said.

California Giant unveils revamped website

California Giant Inc., Watsonville, has revamped its website to appeal specifically to berry lovers and health enthusiasts, said Cindy Jewell, director of marketing.

The new site includes custom-tailored, high-graphic content designed to increase consumer enjoyment, knowledge and engagement, she said.

A highlight of the new site is the berry recipe categorization and search function.

The site also tells about current promotions, featured products and philanthropic causes. There’s also a site for trade partners, information about the company-sponsored cycling team and an updated blog called “The Buzz,” which features news, recipes, videos and more, she said.

CBS Farms expands acreage, organics

Watsonville, Calif.-based CBS Farms has added acreage this season in both the Southern California and Watsonville strawberry growing regions, said Charlie Staka, director of sales.

The company has increased its acreage by up to 20%, equally divided between the northern and southern parts of the state, Staka said.

CBS Farms also has expanded its organic acreage, which so far is limited to the Watsonville area, but he said the company is looking into adding organic acreage in Southern California. CBS Farms was formed last year to handle sales for Beach Street Farms and Colleen Strawberries Inc., both based in Watsonville.

Colorful Harvest adds sales staff

Colorful Harvest LLC, Salinas, Calif., has hired Steve Johnston, most recently with Blazer Wilkinson LP, Salinas, as business development manager specializing in strawberry and blueberry sales, said Doug Ranno, chief operating officer and managing partner.

Ranno said the company’s strawberry acreage will be up about 25% this year in all growing areas.

Colorful Harvest also has opened a cooler in Florida, which should help the firm’s year-round strawberry program continue to grow, Ranno said.

Corona Marketing Co. to build its own facility

Changes are on the horizon at Corona Marketing Co., Santa Maria, Calif.

“We’re working on expanding and building our own facility,” said president Jose Corona.

The new building, which will include precooling facilities, will be about 36,000 square feet, he said. He hopes to have it finished later this season.

Driscoll’s concludes berry photo campaign

Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., Watsonville, Calif., conducted a successful holiday campaign called Celebrating the Sweeter Moments that allowed consumers to share their berry moments, said Frances Dillard, director of marketing.

During the campaign, which started in November, consumers submitted berry photos with descriptions of their berry moment.

The campaign made use of the company’s website, social media and public relations efforts. Consumers selected 10 finalists, with winners to be selected by a panel of food and nutrition experts.

Top 10 finalists and their berry moments can be seen at Winners will be announced March 1 on The grand prize is a professional Viking cookware set with finalists winning Driscoll’s berries.

Naturipe Farms plans to engage customers

Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC is going all out this season to help retail and foodservice customers sell more strawberries.

“We are beginning to roll out customer-specific service models that build consumption through engaging customers and consumers in a multidirectional pattern,” said Vinnie Lopes, vice president of sales.

The program still is in its infancy, he said, but it includes “a highly evolved playbook chock full of attainable, creative ideas to build programs.”

Also at Naturipe, Dave Adams, most recently self-employed, has joined the company as director of business development.

Red Blossom Farms adds QR codes

Red Blossom Farms, Santa Ynez, Calif., will print quick-response codes on its clamshell containers of strawberries for the first time this season, said Michelle Deleissegues, director of marketing.

QR codes will give the company the flexibility to run promotions, contests and “all kinds of dynamic interchanges” throughout the season, she said.

Sambrailo opens distribution centers

Sambrailo Packaging, Watsonville, Calif., has opened distribution centers in Santa Maria and Oxnard, Calif., to serve new clients and handle additional volume, said Jim Scattini, vice president of sales and marketing.

The company also plans to open a new facility in La Mirada, Calif., where it will produce several sizes of plastic clamshell containers for the Southern California area as well as northern California later in the season.

The new facility will provide quicker turnaround and closer sourcing, he said.

It should come on line by the end of February.

The facility will produce clamshells containers for strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Sunrise Growers 100% day-neutral berries

Sunrise Growers Inc., Placentia, Calif., now grows 100% day neutral strawberry varieties, said Christine Herrera, vice president of marketing.

Day-neutral varieties have larger size, better symmetry and good flavor compared to short-day varieties, she said.

They also withstand rain better and won’t have large weekly peaks.

Also, all of the company’s farms and facilities now have Global Food Safety Initiative certification, and Sunrise Growers is launching a new Facebook page March 1 that showcases one of consumers’ favorite ways to eat strawberries — in smoothies, Herrera said.

It will feature contests and highlight the nutritional power, taste and convenience of strawberries.