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.”

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
University of New Hampshire scientists constructed a linkage map of the seven chromosomes of the diploid Fragaria iinumae, which allows them to fill in a piece of the genetic puzzle about the eight sets of chromosomes of the cultivated strawberry.
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of Cultivated Strawberry
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center working in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the recipient of NPC's 2016-2017 Academic Scholarship.
Potatoes
August 24, 2016
Fifth-Year Doctoral Student Receives NPC’s Scholarship For Potato Research
The National Potato Council (NPC) has announced that Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Read More
2011 WA IFTA Tour
Fruits
August 24, 2016
Don’t Underestimate The Value Of Production Bus Tours For Your Business [Opinion]
Sure, you can see and talk with virtually anyone in the world through your smart phone, but you can’t shake their hand. Read More
Crowd protesting GMOs stock image FEATURE
Farm Management
August 24, 2016
Swaying Views On GMO Foods No Easy Task
Featured speaker for the upcoming FFVA Annual Convention says tides are slowly turning in how people digest the concept of genetic modification. Read More
A subsurface microirrigation system.
(Photo credit: Peter Jacoby)
Grapes
August 23, 2016
Deeper Irrigation Method Showing Promise For Vineyards
A new subsurface irrigation system is showing promise for slashing water usage in vineyards. Many vineyards use drip lines that Read More
Tar spot of corn
Disease Control
August 23, 2016
Florida Sweet Corn Has New Deadly Stalker In Tar Spot
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
sprayer nozzles
Fruits
August 23, 2016
New Insecticides Geared To Give Growers Edge Over Pests
Check out three unique chemistries from several of the industry's leading crop protection suppliers. Read More
Prepping apples for cleaning, waxing, and sorting.
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2016
Apple Crop Forecasts Live On Twitter
You'll be able to get up-to-the-minute reports of not only the various regions of the U.S., but key production regions around the world. Read More
Florida orange juice label close-up
Oranges
August 22, 2016
Major OJ Purchase Promises Relief For Florida Citrus Sector
$30 million planned acquisition from USDA to be used for surplus removal. Read More
sweet-orange like hybrid peel
Varieties & Rootstocks
August 22, 2016
Florida Citrus Breeders Squeezed For Time
The pressure is on to develop a more HLB-tolerant orange. Read More
The Latest
Berries
August 24, 2016
Researchers Unravel Genetic Ancestry Of …
A genetic analysis conducted by New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station researchers aims to improve modern cultivation efforts of strawberry growers. Read More
Potatoes
August 24, 2016
Fifth-Year Doctoral Student Receives NPC…
The National Potato Council (NPC) has announced that Justin Clements, a fifth-year doctoral student in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Read More
Fruits
August 24, 2016
Don’t Underestimate The Value Of P…
Sure, you can see and talk with virtually anyone in the world through your smart phone, but you can’t shake their hand. Read More
Farm Management
August 24, 2016
Swaying Views On GMO Foods No Easy Task
Featured speaker for the upcoming FFVA Annual Convention says tides are slowly turning in how people digest the concept of genetic modification. Read More
Grapes
August 23, 2016
Deeper Irrigation Method Showing Promise…
A new subsurface irrigation system is showing promise for slashing water usage in vineyards. Many vineyards use drip lines that Read More
Disease Control
August 23, 2016
Florida Sweet Corn Has New Deadly Stalke…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Fruits
August 23, 2016
New Insecticides Geared To Give Growers …
Check out three unique chemistries from several of the industry's leading crop protection suppliers. Read More
Apple Grower of the Year
August 22, 2016
Apple Crop Forecasts Live On Twitter
You'll be able to get up-to-the-minute reports of not only the various regions of the U.S., but key production regions around the world. Read More
Oranges
August 22, 2016
Major OJ Purchase Promises Relief For Fl…
$30 million planned acquisition from USDA to be used for surplus removal. Read More
Varieties & Rootstocks
August 22, 2016
Florida Citrus Breeders Squeezed For Tim…
The pressure is on to develop a more HLB-tolerant orange. Read More
Pest Control
August 21, 2016
Spotted Wing Drosophila: For Michigan, …
Why the pest can be so much more destructive for Eastern cherry growers might be due to what they’re not farming. Read More
Grapes
August 19, 2016
European Grapevine Moth Eradicated From …
Agricultural officials confirm eradication of invasive pest, lift quarantine restrictions. Read More
Fruits
August 19, 2016
Parts Of New York Now In Extreme Drought
Water deficits starting to cause concern for fire, water shortages in the Empire State. Read More
Citrus
August 19, 2016
Rough Winter In Store For Much Of The U.…
The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its competitor The Farmers’ Almanac predict the 2016-2017 winter will be cold for much of the country. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2016
Florida Farmer Takes Fresh Approach To G…
New easy-peel, seedless varieties offer market potential. Read More
GenNext Growers
August 18, 2016
USDA Invests $17.8M To Educate Next Gene…
Money will bolster efforts of partner organizations to increase next generation of growers. Read More
GenNext Growers
August 18, 2016
Meet Mike Basedow Of The Young Growers A…
Coordinator talks about the future of young growers and the evolution of fruit production. Read More
Citrus
August 18, 2016
Trump Campaign Announces Agricultural Ad…
Just three of the 64 are directly involved with fruits and vegetables, all three are Californians. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]