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Enter the Valley of Fresh

Enter the Valley of Fresh

State Route 68 to Highway 101 is not just a thoroughfare, a point of conjunction, or a topographic illustration representing a stitch in the land. This connective tissue is a vein, carrying the pulse of an agricultural region through California’s Central Coast and beyond. It is a lifeline, connecting growing regions, families, visionaries, and stewards together in a way that is rare, unparalleled, and comprehensive.

Transporting such a vital lifeline to the International Fresh Produce Association’s (IFPA) Global Produce & Floral Show this October is the task of great leadership, with a swath of the region’s trailblazing companies bringing the features, advantages, and benefits of California’s Salinas Valley region and beyond to Orlando, Florida, at the coveted event’s Grower-Shipper Pavilion.

Nine growers, shippers, and suppliers from the Valley will exhibit the tools of their trade on October 29 and 30, 2022, with the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California serving as the coordinating organization for its members. This region, affectionately and accurately dubbed the “Salad Bowl of the World,” brings a one-stop shop to customers far and wide, from the retail shelf to the foodservice table.

With the challenges facing today’s industry, from inflation to supply-chain efficiency, this IFPA event creates a cost-effective way to have the association’s members from California’s Salinas, Pajaro, and San Juan Valleys promote together and allow customers to learn all about the products in one contiguous, dynamic exhibit space.

Follow this vein with me through California’s Central Coast growing regions, as we travel into the heart of an industry lifeline.

Baja Son Growers

With full control over the supply chain as a vertically integrated grower-shipper, Baja Son Growers can consistently provide superior quality product with augmented food safety and certification adherence adding the utmost confidence to every purchase. Supplying year-round availability, Baja Son Growers accounts for much of the asparagus volume and green onion volume out of Northern Mexico for the industry. As demand increases, Baja Son is continuing to invest in personnel, improving ground selection, and updating its facilities. Baja Son Growers has generational experience as well, allowing the team to provide an exceptional and consistent product backed by expertise and reputation.

“At the 2022 IFPA Expo, Baja Son Growers will be showcasing both of our items—asparagus and green onions. We will also be discussing the consistency of supply and quality out of Mexico. Baja Son Growers is rooted in a strong foundation and setup for generational success. We are the only asparagus and green onion supplier you’ll ever need,” Robert Leonard, Director of Sales, shares. “Our year-round and consistent supply and quality comes from one of the premier growers in Mexico. We are backed by a dynamic sales team that has the ability and flexibility to tailor our program to the needs of our customers. Our focus this year is to continue to build our green onion program, and we are excited to share more of our vision with attendees and customers.”

For all your asparagus and green onion needs, visit booth #4250 and find out more about a company built on and continuing to build a legacy of tradition.

Braga Fresh

Braga Fresh is known for many areas of excellence in this industry, with its continued commitment to sustainability. Its deeply rooted legacy and stewardship of the land began in 1928 when Sebastian and Josie Braga started farming the fertile soil of Salinas Valley. Today, Braga’s third generation continues the family values of sustainable, organic farming. The Braga family sets aside 10 percent of farmland to beneficial habitat and has the goal of being carbon neutral by 2025. Now vertically integrated, Braga Fresh combines innovation with tradition to grow, harvest, and process fresh vegetables and leafy greens through the Josie’s Organics and Braga Farms brands.

“At the 2022 Global Produce & Floral Show, we invite you to visit Braga Fresh, home of Josie’s Organics, for a closer look at our new products, reduced plastic packaging, and ‘on-farm’ sustainability solutions including regenerative farming trials,” Kori Tuggle, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, shares. “We are excited to debut our new chopped salad kits, our new Easy Pan Veggies product line, and the reduced plastic packaging options for 16 oz organic Baby Leaf containers.”

Booth #4244 awaits, as does the vision for a sustainable and regenerative future. Just follow the roots that Braga Fresh has laid.

Church Brothers Farms

Church Brothers Farms is synonymous with ingenuity and excellence in our industry, bringing a legacy of service and innovation in the Salinas Valley that spans multiple generations. The vertically integrated, family-owned and operated company produces a full line of fresh vegetables year-round with an in-house farming/harvest program and state-of-the-art processing plants in the United States and Mexico.

“Church Brothers Farms will be highlighting two redesigned whole leaf lettuce clamshells and a new Petite Romaine pack at this year’s IFPA show. We are targeting retail markets and consumers that are in search of a high quality, ultra-versatile leafy greens experience,” Alex McCloskey, Vice President of Retail Business Development, comments. “The Whole Leaf, Green Leaf, and Romaine clamshells have been fully rebranded to highlight the convenience of the product, with a high-impact ‘Ready to Use’ call-out. They are packaged with a peel-and-reseal film to reduce plastic and allow consumers to maintain freshness in storage across multiple uses. We are also featuring our new 2-count Petite Romaine which is packed in a stand-up, gusseted pouch. This unique hybrid variety highlights the best of Romaine and the best of Iceberg lettuces. It inspires a range of versatile dishes from healthful lettuce boats and tasty burger wraps to a sweet and crunchy base for any salad. Church Brothers continues its growth in both retail and foodservice channels with a full line of value-added and commodity products destined for restaurants and consumers alike.”

This company warrants a top spot in your buy-side itinerary, so stop by booth #4053 to learn more.

Coastline Family Farms

Founded in 1991, Coastline Family Farms brings a passion for produce as an independent, privately held, and vertically integrated year-round shipper of more than 25 top-quality fresh vegetable products. With California, Arizona, and Mexico as Coastline’s major growing regions, the company can supply premium produce and nurture a range of buy-side relationships across business types and needs. With a 30-year history of producing premium vegetables, controlling its own coolers, and exceptional service levels, Coastline will provide certainty in uncertain times.

“Now is the time to secure your supplies for 2023 from Coastline Family Farms. We offer and will plant-to-order contracted volumes of Romaine, Romaine Hearts, mini Romaine, Iceberg, broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, and dry bulb onions,” Tami Gutierrez, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, revealed. “Due to the ongoing drought and impending irrigation water restrictions, we encourage long-term contracting to ensure your source of produce is secure, reliable, and available. By matching our production to customer demand and needs, we can better align all inputs and avoid food waste while maintaining a trusted, steady supply to meet buyers’ needs during these uncertain times.”

Discover Mini Crunchy Romaine—a versatile, sweeter, and crunchier variety with great shelf-life—as well as the company’s full portfolio by visiting booth #4045 at IFPA 2022.

Ippolito International

Looking for the largest supplier of fresh Brussels sprouts in North America, who can also load a full assortment of Western vegetables and value-added products onto your truck? You’ve found the company. As a staple and standard in California’s Salinas Valley, Ippolito International is a second-generation family-owned business and an integrated grower-shipper-processor operating year-round. In order to achieve such value and quality, Ippolito utilizes seasonal operations in California and Arizona and offers a robust product line of conventional and organic premium-quality vegetables under the Queen Victoria brand.

“Ippolito International puts focus, responsiveness, and service at the top of the list when it comes to servicing our customers,” Lara Grossman, Director of Marketing, shares. “From packaged and bulk fresh veg to value-added convenience solutions, Ippolito provides one-stop-shop value and consistency to our customers. We consider our responsiveness to be the cornerstone of our ‘everyday hustle’ and communication between our field and plant operations and customers really drives our business. This has allowed us to grow. At this year’s IFPA show, we will showcase our value-added salad offerings, along with a new field pack product line.”

To see the new, the exciting, and the innovative, check out Ippolito at booth #4153 in Orlando, Florida.


Misionero is dedicated to the continuous pursuit of bringing fresh veggies and convenience to the consumer plate. In the supplier’s words, it is simple: Real people, creating real food. The company produces organic specialty salads, organic and conventional washed and trimmed lettuces, as well as meal solution salad kits, and more. Misionero serves a new generation of consumers who are more mindful than ever of how their food is grown, processed, and distributed, and continues to build trust by delivering the freshest products, grown with love.

“What makes Misionero special is our products and our people. Misionero was founded 48 years ago with the belief there was a place in the Salinas Valley for a produce company to succeed if it treated its people with respect and balanced the choice between growth and quality,” Nicole Zapata, Marketing Director, expresses. “We’ve come a long way in the last five years since our management group, The Harbinger Group, acquired Misionero. We’ve remained committed to innovation and best-in-class service for our customers and we have stayed focused on our core values by earning Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) certification for more than four years. In the last year, we’ve expanded our partnership with EFI with two new pilot programs—Produce and Reduce, a Zero Waste initiative, as well as a Process Improvement and Upskilling Program. In 2021, we announced our partnership with Grupo Altex to offer complete product lines of hydroponic lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, and salad kits. This operation is the largest hydroponic lettuce and leafy green producer in North America and the only fully integrated process of its kind in Mexico.”

Looking to connect further with Misionero? There is plenty more to share, especially since the team recently expanded its footprint with a new facility in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit booth #4043 at IFPA’s show to learn more.

Nature’s Reward®

Nature’s Reward® is owned and operated by the Huntington Family, which builds on a legacy of greatness: great products and great relationships. The Huntington family’s roots run deep in the Salinas Valley soil, and the company is one of the few remaining family-run agricultural businesses in the Salinas Valley. A company as concerned with its culture and community as it is about its product portfolio, Nature’s Reward is proud to support local teams, schools, and other philanthropic organizations.

“Nature’s Reward proudly markets Iceberg lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, Romaine Hearts, leaf lettuces, celery, mixed vegetables, and strawberries in the Nature’s Reward label. We specialize in servicing our clients’ needs with special packs, contracts, and private labeling. Direct communication between sales and our production supervisors assures your needs are met,” Greg Beach, Vice President of Sales, states. “Customers appreciate our comprehensive line of premium fresh Western vegetables, including colored cauliflower, and we are one of the only veg shippers offering strawberries as well! We’re looking forward to discussing how we can help grow your business with our solid approach to customer engagement and satisfaction.”

With an invitation for open dialogue and a one-stop shop for fresh produce to boot—highlight, schedule, and get excited to visit Nature’s Reward at IFPA booth #4248.

The Nunes Company

The Nunes Company based in Salinas, California, is a family-owned marketer and shipper of conventional and organic fresh vegetables, selling products domestically and globally under the Foxy® and Foxy Organic® brands. The Foxy brand has over 70 different conventional and organic vegetable items, available year-round with growing regions in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico.

“We are pleased to return as an exhibitor and be part of the inaugural International Fresh Produce Association’s Global Produce & Floral Show,” says Stephanie Cantero, Communications and Marketing Coordinator. “Foxy-brand produce is grown on more than 22,000 crop acres, with third and fourth-generation Nunes family members at the helm today. We are excited to share our vision with industry attendees at the 2022 Global Produce & Floral Show.”

Mark your map to stop and re-energize at booth #4143 to visit the Foxy brand family under The Nunes Company.

Pacific International Marketing

Pacific International Marketing was founded on passion and a vision to supply the nation with quality, fresh produce. These tenets have created a company that continues to instill its values in the land, its people, and its customer relationships. Pacific International Marketing benefits from farming partnerships that stretch across Central and Southern California, into Yuma and Phoenix, Arizona, and down to Mexico. The company farms approximately 20,000 acres of conventional produce and 5,000 acres of organic produce, progressing every year. Being vertically integrated, the Pacific International Marketing team has its diligence and commitment imprinted in every aspect of its supply chain, ensuring the operation is making good on its promise of providing the best produce to customers.

“We are excited to be a part of the Grower-Shipper Pavilion at the IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show 2022 in Orlando, Florida. This show is a great time to talk about new innovations and products with our customers,” Kim Fellom, Marketing Manager/Sales Executive, shares. “This year, we are also going to take the time we have in front of our customers to share our continued commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and the impact the farming industry is currently facing with the water shortage and the possible long-term effects this may have. It is very important to us that we are transparent with our partners, so we all get through this together.”

Have Pacific International Marketing slated for your itinerary yet? Now is a great time to double-check that landmark at booth #4049.

While you explore and adventure through the storied fields of fresh produce greatness on the show floor in Orlando, do not forget how the road goes both ways—making you, the customer, an essential element of California’s Central Coast as well. Our potential only grows when our roads converge together.

“We are pleased to continue to offer the pavilion as a go-to destination. With great minds at the table, it is limitless what we can do together,” said Laura Lauritzen (née Hastie), Marketing and Public Relations Consultant for the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California.

Navigating our fresh produce future is not a one-human job, but will take us all. Traversing California’s paths of golden opportunities and fresh produce excellence may be a far trip for many, or in their own backyard for some. One thing I can say for sure is that this October, these Salinas Valley leaders will meet where all roads intersect and where the pulse of the industry will find its heart: the Grower-Shipper Pavilion. All intrepid travelers welcome. 

Enter the Valley of Fresh