Star-Studded Stonefruit, Exclusively from GiumarraHeat Up the Grill and Make it Sweet!

Berries know no limits in the produce department and have a flavor for every palate. Talk about a category with unlimited potential, especially with today’s berry innovators evolving the eating and growing experience from harvest to the hand. From strawberries to raspberries and blueberries, the connection of nostalgia and opportunity lifts the ring at the register as the category crosses demographics and consumer buying behaviors. But enough from us, let’s check in with some of our industry friends!

Cindy Jewell
Vice President of Marketing, California Giant Berry Farms

“Fall is that time of year when our cooking brain shifts from outdoor barbecues to indoor baking and new recipe inspiration. Just don’t kick berries to the curb as summer ends because the timing actually couldn’t be better as we recently rolled out our Cocktails and Cakes blog series with a delicious Blackberry Salted Caramel White Russian Cocktail. This reminds shoppers and trading partners that our fresh berries are still very much in season. We also have an amazing Blackberry Filled Chocolate Cake loaded with buttercream frosting and a dose of salted caramel topping. We truly enjoy creating new recipes and capitalizing on seasonal trends, which inspires consumers to enjoy the versatility of each of our berries all year long.”

Ajit Saxena
Public Relations and Digital Marketing Manager

“There is nothing quite like the perfect strawberry. The tough part, especially in cold climate regions, is finding one. At Mucci Farms, we actively identify these types of challenges in the market and find solutions for them. Since launching our greenhouse-grown strawberry program three years ago, we have been extraordinarily successful at growing the perfect strawberry—a Smuccies™ Sweet Strawberry to be exact! With a focus on flavor, our berries are grown in the ideal environment where plants are provided with consistency in climate, care, and nutrition. Thanks to our sustainable growing methods, our berries are delicately harvested ALL year long. Sun or snow, it’s always strawberry season for us!”

Marco Nuques
West Coast Sales Manager, Giumarra International Berry

“Blueberries are by far my favorite berry. We have varieties that literally taste like candy. When my kids choose a clamshell of blueberries over candy, you know you have an outstanding product. Blueberries are our top-selling berry at the Giumarra Companies, and with our extensive grower base in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, we are able to offer a 52-week program of Nature’s Partner-brand blueberries in various pack styles. We are focused on exploring new varieties that give consumers the best eating experience possible and regularly receive emails from consumers, so we know they are seeking the right combination of firmness, flavor, and sweetness. Around the office, our team regularly snacks on blueberries, and we try to incorporate them in sweet and savory dishes whenever possible. Some favorite recipe ideas: throw them in plain kefir (or yogurt), on top of a salad, on cream cheese, or over ice cream. The possibilities are endless.”

Randy Abhold
President, Rainier Fruit Company

“It's hard not to love blueberries thanks to their versatility—especially when you discover the bright, sweet flavor of our organically-grown blueberries. Although our decision to grow them was intentional, it has come with some accidental discovery, specifically as it relates to flavor. When Rainier Fruit Company decided to grow blueberries, we approached it with the same philosophy we grow all of our crops: in a way that is sustainable, benefits the environment, and is #wholesometothecore. We know those principles result in quality fruit. What we didn’t know was how dramatically our unique climate and nutrient-packed volcanic soil would become the perfect environment to grow quality organic blueberries that are sweeter than conventional. These berries have gained a worldwide reputation for their size, firmness, and exceptional flavor! And let’s be honest, the outstanding flavor is what keeps consumers coming back and will grow long-term sales and consumption.”

CarrieAnn Arias
Vice President of Marketing, Naturipe Farms

“Berries are such a dynamic and exciting product in the produce department! With the growth of our berry breeding program, we are thrilled to bring the best varieties to market, such as our Centennial Raspberries and Madeline Blackberries. These two varieties from Naturipe are the champions of flavor and will excite the taste buds of our consumers. There are no limitations when it comes to usage of these berries. You can have them fresh, add them to a savory dish to increase flavor, or top off a dessert for an extra sweet treat!”

Karin Gardner
Executive Director of Marketing, Oppy

“I love the fall, so of course the berry closest to my heart is the fresh cranberry! It’s like the pumpkin spice latte of the produce department—simple, elegant, and so ideally timed in its limited supply. The first glimpse of the bright red pillow bags in my grocery store reminds me it’s time to ease into the habits and mindset of autumn. Be a little more peaceful, a little more circumspect, and a little more chill.

Oppy is the exclusive marketer of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries, a relationship we cherish and a season we always look forward to. Ocean Spray is running a really great campaign called Act Tiny Be Mighty, which reflects the family farmers’ commitment to authenticity, health, and wellness, and sustainability—good words to live by, I think.

It’s a modest little red berry, but it does amazing things: beautifies cocktails, sauces up the turkey, and makes that wreath on your front door the envy of your neighborhood—all the while delivering health benefits worthy of its superfood status.”

Frances Dillard
Senior Director of Brand & Product Marketing, Driscoll’s

“Fresh berries continue to rank as the number-one selling category in the produce industry. Flavor is at the heart of Driscoll’s brand differentiation, and this year’s earlier introduction of a premium, high-flavor, specialty program has become a marketplace success. Limited Edition Rosé Berries™ and Sweetest Batch™ are a collection of berries that mark the first in a series of offerings designed to give consumers an indulgent new way to experience fresh berries. Driscoll’s has been deliberate in our strategy to shift from a commodity approach to one that builds brand differentiation. Berries are fun and make people happy. Marketing needs to be disruptive and memorable for the consumer…it’s a great journey.”

Nick Wishnatzki
Marketing Project Manager, Wish Farms

“I'm very lucky to have been raised in a strawberry family. Now that I work for Wish Farms, I appreciate berries more than ever before. When I was a kid, I remember waiting anxiously for my dad to bring home that first batch of Florida strawberries. They were so delicious, juicy, and sweet...I would eat them straight out of the container. Of course, there are so many creative ways you can enjoy strawberries from breakfast to dessert. But for me, it doesn’t get much better than a fresh berry in its natural, unadulterated glory!”

Kiana Wilkinson Amaral
Business Manager, Blazer Wilkinson

“In my opinion, blueberries are the quintessential 'easy treat.’ They are by far one of the most hearty berries in the marketplace, and as such, can hold up in so many different dishes—and in the fridge! Simply rinse your blueberries and pop them into muffins, overnight oats, cereal, or mix them with yogurt and vanilla for one of the tastiest and healthiest treats around. In today’s world of quick meals and processed foods, the ‘mom in me’ feels comforted by knowing that I have served a food item that is high in antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, AND flavor to my family. Blueberries make everyone happy!”