Baloian Farms looking forward to spring
As a fourth-generation Armenian family farm, Baloian Farms’ history dates to 1917 providing premium quality vegetables.
The Fresno, CA-based company’s products can be found in both Pam Pak and Baloian Farms brands, with the latter gaining more prominence as Baloian Farms looks to showcase the family name and legacy in the business.
As wet veg commodity manager for Baloian Farms, Jay Angulo coordinates with the production teams for daily harvest numbers and weekly production forecasts, while tracking market trends and pricing for the wet veg program.
He started with the company as quality control inspector for both the Fresno and Thermal, CA, growing locations. His role evolved to overseeing crews throughout the California growing seasons, starting in Thermal and working north to the central valley and central coast growing locations.
“After a couple of other roles along the way, I found myself in sales and happily took on being a commodity manager for our wet veg crops,” Angulo said. “It came somewhat naturally given my prior experience and the personal connection I had to the commodities.”
His experience has given him the insight into what it takes to be successful with lettuce and other crops.
“One success I want to highlight is an achievement on the farming side,” Angulo said. “Our growers do a great job of giving us an excellent product to sell and market to our customer base. Speaking of that customer base, we have a very loyal following on our Pam Pak label that enjoy the superior quality that they are receiving on a weekly basis. The attention to details that it takes, from growing, to harvest and packing, then to shipping and finally getting it to the customer is a success all in itself.”
The quality on Baloian Farms’ late season plantings is looking very good and customers should expect and be excited about the quality that they have become accustomed to for the Pam Pak label product.
“I feel like two of the biggest challenges in this segment are weather and transportation,” Angulo said. “Weather which causes adverse effects on our crops, come and go, but have lasting effects on crops as they continue to grow, particularly affecting quality. Transportation continues to be an issue, particularly the lack of trucks, lack of drivers and the rising price of diesel.”
Baloian Farms, as always, is excited to start new crops.
“As much as we love our wet veg program, we will soon begin to finish our seasonal wet veg crops,” Angulo said. “Our California crops, starting with peppers and flat sweet red onions, are highly anticipated and signal the kickoff to our spring-summer-fall programs. We have a growing range of commodities, including peppers and zucchini this upcoming season from Baja California that we’re really excited about.”
So far in 2022, there have been a couple waves of cooler weather that has impacted the growing season. It’s also affected customers across the country as they battle cold, snowy, and icy weather that have hurt the already tight and tough freight situation.
“Plus, consumers don’t typically rush out to eat salads in that type of weather,” Angulo said. “I’m looking forward to the calendar as the season changes to spring. Even though we finish up our Thermal wet veg program and the industry transitions to new growing areas, typically demand starts to pick up. Consumers will eat out at restaurants more and supplies should steady as the weather can be warmer and more predictable.”
The retail sector is a critical component of success in the lettuce category.
“Without successful sales at the retail level, customers may not get the product we have worked so hard to grow, harvest, pack and ship,” Angulo said. “We focus so much on the details and the last detail is getting the product in the customers’ hands with quality and freshness that is going to have them coming back.”