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

Varieties & RootstocksPlaying The Citrus Rootstock Market Has Risks And Rewards
October 24, 2014
Experimental material forcing producers to roll the dice. Read More
GrapesNorthern Grapes Project Receives $2.6 Million USDA Grant
October 24, 2014
Funds will help complete final two years of multistate effort. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Field Day Highlights 25 Vegetable Varieties [Slideshow]
October 24, 2014
Seed breeder Enza Zaden hosted its 2014 variety showcase September 25th at the company’s research station in San Juan Bautista, California, with 250 Read More
Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More
FruitsAnnual Santa Maria Strawberry Meeting Approaching
October 22, 2014
The meeting will focus on IPM practices, weed management, updates on fumigation, and more. Read More

The Latest

Varieties & RootstocksPlaying The Citrus Rootstock Market Has Risks And Rewar…
October 24, 2014
Experimental material forcing producers to roll the dice. Read More
GrapesNorthern Grapes Project Receives $2.6 Million USDA Gran…
October 24, 2014
Funds will help complete final two years of multistate effort. Read More
VegetablesEnza Zaden Field Day Highlights 25 Vegetable Varieties …
October 24, 2014
Seed breeder Enza Zaden hosted its 2014 variety showcase September 25th at the company’s research station in San Juan Bautista, California, with 250 Read More
Disease ControlWashington Concord Grape Growers Wrestle With Blackleaf
October 23, 2014
Physiological disorder manifested due to unusually hot and sunny summer. Read More
More Vegetables7 Green Bean Varieties Geared For Florida Growers
October 23, 2014
Leading vegetable seed companies highlight several high-performance selections for producers in the Sunshine State. Read More
MarketingTomato Survey Tracks Consumer Trends
October 23, 2014
Results indicate how labeling matters in purchasing decisions. Read More
CitrusFlorida Citrus Growers Get Box Tax Relief
October 23, 2014
Citrus Commission votes to put dollars back in producers’ hands to spur reinvestment. Read More
Farm ManagementBill Gates Uploading Lots Of Florida Farmland
October 22, 2014
Recent acquisition for the Microsoft icon involves more than 4,500 acres for nearly $28 million. Read More
GenNext GrowersRegister Now For The GenNext Growers Webcast
October 22, 2014
In the first installment of the GenNext Webcast Series, you will learn how to engage with lawmakers and ag associations to help shape a better future for your business and for agriculture. Read More
FruitsAnnual Santa Maria Strawberry Meeting Approaching
October 22, 2014
The meeting will focus on IPM practices, weed management, updates on fumigation, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsUSApple’s AppletizeMe Personality Quiz Help Consumers…
October 22, 2014
Award-winning national apple month campaign returns with more featured varieties and informative videos. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million To Stimulate Research And Devel…
October 22, 2014
The grants will provide resources to help small operations create breakthroughs, says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Read More
CitrusEPA Launches Program To Reduce Pesticide Drift
October 22, 2014
The voluntary star-rating program aims to protect people, wildlife and the environment. Read More
CitrusMcCrometer Introduces New Ag Management Mobile App
October 22, 2014
The app displays data on weather, ET, soil moisture, water flow, and more. Read More
Apples & PearsNew York Apple Growers Partner With Grocer To Introduce…
October 22, 2014
First apples of this new variety to hit Wegmans stores as part of a marketing effort. Read More
CitrusAgriculture, Interior Departments Partner To Measure Co…
October 22, 2014
Goal is to provide science-based information for watershed wellness. Read More
Stone FruitIntroducing A Gem Of A Peach For Central Florida
October 22, 2014
The newest variety to come from the UF Stone Fruit Breeding Program is another “gem,” UFGem! This peach variety is Read More
CitrusIt’s Time For Young Farming Leaders To Engage [Op…
October 21, 2014
Florida Grower editor Frank Giles says there are capable and talented youths in the ag field ready to step up and take the reins. Read More