Ocean Mist Farms sees demand for organics rising
Ocean Mist Farms, a leading grower and marketer of organics in the U.S., offer artichokes, iceberg, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and romaine hearts in its organic product line. The company has been cultivating organic artichokes since 2000, and in 2015, it added a full line of organic vegetables.
“Overall, our line does not vary much from summer to winter, with the only change being the addition of organic asparagus coming out of the Mexicali valley,” said Katie Tossie, organic sales manager of the Castroville, CA grower-shipper. “Our winter organic asparagus season ran January through March 2021.”
The company farms year-round in three ideal California growing regions—Castroville, Oxnard and Coachella, plus Baja, California.
Over the past year, the company has seen growing costs going up across the board, which is something the entire industry has experienced.
“Organics are more expensive to produce than conventional for several reasons,” Tossie said. “Additionally, we have continued challenges with minimizing pest and insect pressures.”
Still, the company has noticed more organic produce in the marketplace than in years past.
“With greater availability, we expect to see stronger movement,” Tossie said. “Year over year, we’ve seen more organic produce in the marketplace. We are doing our part to grow with the category in an effort to keep our current and growing customer base supplied with fresh organic vegetables.”
The evolution of organics at the company has been on-going.
“Great experience has been achieved, but that does not necessarily make growing easier, but rather our ability to react more streamlined,” Tossie said. “Mother Nature controls the challenges we face, such as insect pressure and disease, and Mother Nature is as unpredictable as ever.”
Over the past year, the pandemic put a focus on what people are putting in their bodies to keep strong and healthy, and this, coupled with the compounding year-over-year growth in wellness and more availability in the marketplace, has made organics more in demand than ever before.
“Our organic program and product offerings for 2021 will continue to reflect the market demand,” Tossie said. “Today, 50 percent of our organic product is packaged. Packaging provides an opportunity to brand the product, limit unprotected touch, and provide a company specific UPC and grower information. These factors improve handling, provide a retail ready package for shelf display and offer detail to the shopper on who is producing their fresh food.”