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Ocean Mist Farms touting gold standard artichokes at SEPC

By
Keith Loria

Ocean Mist Farms has been an active supporter of the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure show and a loyal and consistent exhibitor since 2009.

“We will once again be exhibiting at this year’s show as a silver sponsor of the event and will be participating in the conference activities,” said Mark Munger, senior director of marketing for the Castroville, CA-grower shipper. “Southern Exposure is a very social event and provides valuable opportunities to network with our existing customers, as well as dialog with new customers.”

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The company will be sending several of its key sales team members, who will be behind Booth No. 708.

“We’ll be featuring our Gold Standard artichokes, including our seasonal purple artichokes,” Munger said. “We will also be highlighting our value-added products, which we continue to grow and expand. We have recently added new state-of-the-art equipment, allowing us to increase the capacity of our value-added program. We won’t be introducing any new products at this year’s show, but rather creating awareness of our program and bringing in new business.”

The SEPC Southern Exposure show is one of Ocean Mist’s favorite regional trade shows as it draws a very large audience of qualified buyers from across North America.

“Since it is a small regional show, the ratio of customers to buyers is the best of all the shows we attend,” Munger said. “It also has a very relaxed atmosphere, which improves the quality of time we get with our customers. We use the show as an opportunity to meet with key customers, review business plans and target new potential business. The March date aligns well with us and allows us to talk to our customers about our spring and summer crop programs.”

 Ocean Mist Farms turns 100 this year and while the centennial anniversary isn’t officially until June, the company will be sharing its 100-year anniversary with customers and celebrating the company’s rich heritage all year long.

“Aside from our milestone centennial, there are three key topics to share with our customers: our spring artichoke crop, our value-added program and the upcoming transition from our winter growing region in Coachella, CA back to our summer growing region in Castroville, CA,” Munger said. “We are expecting a very smooth transition this year, and the timing is excellent to meet with customers and put summer plans in place.”

The Ocean Mist Farms team begins planning for the SEPC show several months in advance, designing the booth layout, display products, messaging and strategy.

“For all our trade shows, marketing collaborates closely with our sales team, as well as with our farming, harvesting and operations teams,” Munger said. “We believe our marketing team has a responsibility to set the stage through our preparation and planning that allows sales to be successful at these events.”

During the show itself, the team will keep very detailed logs of who they’ve met with, and any follow-up required.

“At the end of the show, we use this log to judge how well we performed and how many qualified leads we made,” Munger said. “In the long run though, the true value of a show is our ability to follow up with all our leads and turn them into actionable business. Of course, the opportunity to interact with our colleagues and customers in-person is invaluable to us.” 

Although last year’s winter season started off very wet, 2023 was an excellent year for Ocean Mist Farms.

“Our strategic growing locations and practices helped ensure we were largely unaffected by the storms and flooding that plagued California,” Munger said. “Production and quality were excellent, and we saw very strong growth with our value-added programs.”

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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