Florida Strawberry Growers Look To Stand Out

Strawberry Field Day

In February, the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center hosted its annual strawberry field day, which drew a crowd of around 200 people. In addition to field trials showing the latest research in new varieties, insect and disease management, and freeze protection, a grower panel on marketing was featured. Participating were Gary Wishnatzki, Wish Farms; David Spivey, Spivey Farms; and Mark Greeff, Driscoll’s.

Not surprisingly, one universal among the growers on the panel was that quality and food safety has to be mission one. Moderator Ted Campbell, executive director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, discussed with the growers how they strive to make their product stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Real Red And Local

Spivey represented the small grower perspective on the panel. He, his father, and brother run a 45-acre operation in Plant City. “My dad built the farm as a local farm, and locally, people want red strawberries — real red,” said Spivey. “They don’t want something that has shoulders, so we carry that over into packing and that is what we are going to pack. Yes, we are aware of the issues that come with packing really red strawberries. We had a lot of trial and error for a few years, with lot more error in the first couple years.

“People at first see them and say, ‘Oh that is overripe.’ So I have to be real selective on my market. I don’t have any chains bigger than 10 stores, but I would say 99% of the year we are sold out. We’ve built up customers a pallet here and a pallet there and they understand our strawberries are blood red.”

Campbell noted that Spivey has done a good job of connecting its brand to Florida’s strawberry identity. On Spivey Farms’ packaging, the official mascot of Florida strawberries “Jammer” is featured, along with the Fresh From Florida logo.

Wishnatzki said his company had recently re-branded its product line. In doing so, he conducted considerable consumer surveys to help with better positioning. In the survey, hardly any consumers could name a brand unaided, other than Plant City, which is not a brand. “We took that survey finding as significant, so when we redesigned our packaging, we made Plant City more prominent on the label,” says Wishnatzki. “We are trying to identify ourselves as East Coast and local.”

Consumer Contact

Reaching out to consumers has become more important than ever. Uses of new technology and social media are enabling the grower to break through the retail level into the consumer’s home. Strawberry growers hope these new approaches will result in the consumer asking the retail buyer to purchase their brand. Greeff noted that Driscoll’s now has more 70,000 likes on its Facebook page. “If you look at our page over the past two weeks (prior to Valentine’s Day), it has all been about desserts and strawberry cocktails for Valentine’s Day. It’s not just the idea of chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s. We are driving the potential for new consumption that will drive the retailers to have more strawberries in stock and perhaps even challenge the price point as well.”

Pages: 1 2

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Biocontrols 2015 Conference
CitrusGrowers Go In-Depth At Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow
March 9, 2015
The first-of-its-kind event brought growers, researchers, regulators, and suppliers together for a two-day discussion on the latest biocontrols tools and technologies. Read More
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionGrower Experienced In Biocontrols Says: Be Patient
February 4, 2015
The use of biocontrols in all aspects of agriculture is becoming more widespread. But incorporating biocontrols in a vegetable farming Read More
FruitsSounding Off On GMOs: The Arctic Apple Decision
March 27, 2015
Industry leaders share their feelings on the recently approved genetically modified apples. Read More
BerriesBuilding A Better Black Raspberry
March 27, 2015
Studies focusing on consumer preference, aphid resistance, heat tolerance, and genetics aim to capitalize on an expanding market. Read More
CitrusMore California Citrus Placed Under Psyllid Quarantine
March 27, 2015
Asian citrus psyllid is found in Madera County – the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
FruitsAhead Of The Curve, Part 2
March 27, 2015
Get educated with great resources in the tree fruit industry available at your fingertips. Read More
Apples & PearsMeet USApple’s Class of 2015 Young Apple Leaders
March 27, 2015
Young decision-makers see trip as an opportunity make sure the voice of the apple industry is heard by representatives. Read More
GrapesGlassy-Winged Sharpshooter Found In Marin County
March 26, 2015
This pest, known to spread Pierce’s Disease, could devastate California winegrapes. Read More
GrapesFirst Raisin Grape That Dries Naturally On Vine Developed
March 26, 2015
The new Sunpreme variety eliminates the need for growers to cut into woody canes before harvest. Read More
Fresh From Florida Strawberry Parfait recipe
BerriesNew Partnership Sends Florida Strawberries To Puerto Rico
March 26, 2015
Latest addition extends Sunshine State’s agricultural export reach in the Caribbean. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
FruitsHow To Become A Soil Sleuth
March 26, 2015
To correctly apply the proper nutrients at the right rates, you need to know where your fields are deficient and how to correctly diagnose a disorder. Read More
NutsWhy You Should Use Low-Rate Applications Of Potassium
March 26, 2015
These rates provide growers a low-cost method comparable to conventional applications. Read More
The Latest
FruitsSounding Off On GMOs: The Arctic Apple Decision
March 27, 2015
Industry leaders share their feelings on the recently approved genetically modified apples. Read More
BerriesBuilding A Better Black Raspberry
March 27, 2015
Studies focusing on consumer preference, aphid resistance, heat tolerance, and genetics aim to capitalize on an expanding market. Read More
CitrusMore California Citrus Placed Under Psyllid Quarantine
March 27, 2015
Asian citrus psyllid is found in Madera County – the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Read More
FruitsAhead Of The Curve, Part 2
March 27, 2015
Get educated with great resources in the tree fruit industry available at your fingertips. Read More
Apples & PearsMeet USApple’s Class of 2015 Young Apple Leaders
March 27, 2015
Young decision-makers see trip as an opportunity make sure the voice of the apple industry is heard by representatives. Read More
GrapesGlassy-Winged Sharpshooter Found In Marin County
March 26, 2015
This pest, known to spread Pierce’s Disease, could devastate California winegrapes. Read More
GrapesFirst Raisin Grape That Dries Naturally On Vine Develop…
March 26, 2015
The new Sunpreme variety eliminates the need for growers to cut into woody canes before harvest. Read More
Fresh From Florida Strawberry Parfait recipe
BerriesNew Partnership Sends Florida Strawberries To Puerto Ri…
March 26, 2015
Latest addition extends Sunshine State’s agricultural export reach in the Caribbean. Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
FruitsHow To Become A Soil Sleuth
March 26, 2015
To correctly apply the proper nutrients at the right rates, you need to know where your fields are deficient and how to correctly diagnose a disorder. Read More
NutsWhy You Should Use Low-Rate Applications Of Potassium
March 26, 2015
These rates provide growers a low-cost method comparable to conventional applications. Read More
Cold ProtectionWind Machine, Electric Pruners Donated To MSU Research …
March 25, 2015
New equipment to help protect research blocks from frost damage and provide center with latest technology. Read More
CitrusProposed Farm Bill Provision To Limit Payments To Non-F…
March 25, 2015
USDA has proposed a new rule which would limit payment to those who are only actively engaged in farming. Read More
Pennsylvania hard cider guild logo
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Hard Cider Producers Founded Independent T…
March 25, 2015
The Pennsylvania Cider Guild is designed to help promote and educate members and consumers. Read More
FruitsHow To Get Started With Partnerships And Sponsorships
March 25, 2015
Mark Saunders of Saunders Farm says your business is never too small or too big to get more value for what you do on your farm. Read More
FruitsValue Through Partnerships And Sponsorships [Opinion]
March 25, 2015
Mark Saunders of Saunders Farms says admission is one way to get value for what you do, but sponsorships and partnerships are the next level. Read More
chateau hough urban vineyard Cleveland Ohio
GrapesFrom Riots To Vineyard — A Story of Urban Revival
March 25, 2015
Ex-convict’s inner-city vineyard in the Hough neighborhood in Cleveland an opportunity for those leaving incarceration for a bright future in viticulture. Read More
FruitsWorld Ag Expo 2015: New Tools For Fruit Growers
March 24, 2015
From wind machines to solar-powered pumps, here is some of the new equipment on display this year's edition of the nation's largest farm show. Read More
Apples & PearsNeedles Found In Honeycrisp Sold At Grocery Store
March 24, 2015
Apples were believed to be tampered with; initial surveillance footage was inconclusive. Read More