Chuck Olsen Co. sees path to success
The Chuck Olsen Co. has long been a trusted name and a go-to grower shipper in the citrus industry, a segment it has been strong in since first beginning operations in the early 20th century.
The family-run company currently has members of the third- and fourth-generation of Olsens leading the way, and the Visalia, CA-based enterprise continues to ship millions of cartons of grapes, citrus and melons throughout California in the Top Stock, Stagecoach and Tulare Chief labels from Olsen farms.
“We have been involved in the citrus industry since 1910, and varieties are probably the biggest evolution,” said Jeff Olsen, president of the Chuck Olsen Co. “Citrus is probably about 60 percent of our business overall.”
The company is currently in its local California citrus season and have several varieties available to offer for its customers.
“The overall quality we are seeing is excellent and we are about a size larger overall across the category than last year,” Olsen said. “We will see smaller fruit become tighter due to the larger size on all varieties and it should be a good strong fruit year barring any major weather issues.”
Naturally, citrus has always been associated with its very high vitamin C content, which is helpful for a person’s health and immune system. As the pandemic hit, consumers were even more intent on buying healthy foods, and citrus sales surged.
Olsen sees other opportunities for success in the year ahead. Success in the category, he noted, comes from strong quality, size and utilization.
“We need to deliver a good quality eating piece of fruit that the consumer will continue to buy,” he said.
Retailers can assist in increasing interest and sales of citrus by displaying reasonable prices per pound, so the consumer doesn’t think twice about purchasing citrus year-round.
Olsen noted the USDA box program was a big shot in the arm for the company — and the citrus industry as a whole — and really helped keep the market strong during the pandemic. Whether 2021 follows suit will depend on the programs that are set up by the USDA.