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More than 1,800 people served at Kowalski's Markets store opening

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (November 24, 2008) – Shoppers at the new Kowalski’s Market in Eagan, Minn., got a fresh taste of California last week when Ocean Mist Farms served artichoke recipes as part of the store’s grand opening.

Ocean Mist Farms served 1,800 servings of grilled fresh long-stem artichokes with artichoke hummus on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 20-21.

The Ocean Mist Farms demo team showed shoppers how to use a potato peeler to remove the outside strands of a long-stem artichoke to prepare for cooking.

Once the artichoke was cooked, the demo team used a food processor to make artichoke hummus with garbanzo beans.

“Having Ocean Mist at Kowalski’s brought the entire produce department to life and taught shoppers how to be passionate about artichokes,” said Terri Bennis, Vice President of Fresh Food Operations, Kowalski’s Markets.

One shopper, Marielle DuBois of Green Bay, Wisc., said “she would never have tried a fresh artichoke if Ocean Mist Farms had not been demonstrating how to prepare and cook them in the produce department.”

“I am back to buy more artichokes today,” DuBois said.

Kowalski’s Markets is an independent nine unit chain of upscale grocery stores in Minnesota.

Joe Feldman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Ocean Mist Farms, said education is an important part of the company’s marketing program.

“Research shows that shoppers are interested in learning more how to use artichokes and why they should eat artichokes,” Feldman said. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with our retail partners, like Kowalski’s Markets, to educate shoppers.”

2008 Excellence Award from Supermarket News Magazine

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (October 21, 2008) – Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of fresh artichokes in the country, recently received a 2008 Category Excellence Award from Supermarket News magazine.

The award recognizes companies that are meeting retailer needs, said Kori Tuggle, market manager. The winners were chosen by Supermarket News editors based on feedback from retailers, who voted via a survey and participated in interviews.

For the fresh produce category, Ocean Mist Farms was recognized for its marketing/promotions support — which included in-store product demos and grower appearances to help boost sales — as well as innovation in packaging. This year Ocean Mist Farms introduced new stickers for its artichokes that complied with the new country of origin labeling requirements imposed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

“It is an honor to be recognized by our retail customers along with other respected brand names such as Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s as a category leader,” Tuggle said. “The award encourages us to raise the bar in our marketing efforts and continue to support our customers’ in order to promote sales.”

PMA Orlando 2008

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (August 28, 2008) – Ocean Mist Farms is keeping it fresh at the PMA Fresh Summit it Orlando.

In addition to its acclaimed artichoke recipes and display of more than 30 fresh premium vegetable commodities the company will be showcasing a newly-developed PLU sticker – the first of its kind for bulk artichokes – at booth #2821 during the trade show in October.

Ocean Mist Farms created the PLU sticker to proactively comply with the country of origin labeling laws that go into effect this year. The stickers will be available on two sizes of artichokes with the current PLU codes 4262 and 4084.

The individual stickers will be applied in the field as each artichoke is hand-packed during harvest.

The stickers provide two advantages for the artichoke category; compliance with country of origin requirements and the size-specific PLU number allows stores to feature a two-sized artichoke program while capturing sales of bulk product accurately at check out.

Also at PMA, Ocean Mist will continue to please conference goers with a menu of fresh new recipes using Ocean Mist vegetables prepared by Chef Tony Baker of Montrio Bistro in Monterey, Calif.

Ocean Mist plans to uphold its reputation for providing the best food at PMA, dishing up 2,000 to 3,000 servings on the first day of the expo alone.

Topping the Ocean Mist menu for the expo’s opening day will be beer-braised beef short ribs served over a fennel puree along the side of baby artichoke risotto with apple wood smoked bacon and roasted garlic.

Booth visitors on Saturday will be treated to seared Angus skirt steak with artichoke hearts, black beans and cilantro, as well as artichoke bisque with lemon verbena cream.

On Sunday, Ocean Mist booth visitors will be treated to assorted artichoke pizzas made to order. The pizzas will include only fresh ingredients and hand-made crust.

“PMA is the biggest expo in fresh. It’s the perfect opportunity to unveil our new PLU sticker and remind attendees about the full line of vegetables Ocean Mist Farms has to offer,” said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager for Ocean Mist Farms.

Work with Raley's/Nob Hill recognized by produce industry magazine

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (August 11, 2008)  - Ocean Mist Farms received a marketing excellence award from Produce Business magazine.

The award recognizes innovative produce companies who are revolutionizing the way the produce industry connects its products to the trade and consumers according to the magazines guidelines.

Ocean Mist Farms was awarded for creativity demonstrated by a promotion called “Chili ‘n Chokes” created for Raley’s/Nob Hill supermarkets.

Ocean Mist worked with Adrienne Bilske, a home cook, Salinas Valley television personality and head of the “Healthy Eating Lifestyle” program to create a recipe that could be “demonstrated” and sampled in the produce department using fresh artichokes.

Consumers of all ages enjoy chili and know how to eat chili with a spoon or chips so Bilske came up with the idea of using cooked low-calorie artichoke leaves to eat chili instead of tortilla chips or even a spoon.

Two Ocean Mist Farms representatives made chili on site in the produce department at Raley’s stores and served it to shoppers in small cups, topped with grated cheese and two or three artichoke leaves tucked into the side. A recipe card with a photo was also available for shoppers and the table/ serving area was decorated with other artichoke point-of-sale material.

The promotion was a huge success. Because shoppers could smell the chili, they were drawn to the table to investigate the activity. Initially Ocean Mist had planned to buy chili from Raley’s store delis for the promotion but the delis couldn’t keep up with demand (six pounds of chili initially.)

Children especially loved the recipe with one 6-year-old boy coming back to eat seven samples, said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager. One shopper said he came to try the recipe because his neighbor told him how good it was. Several shoppers left the check-out lines to try the chili and chokes recipes, and then walked to the artichoke display to buy artichokes before returning to line.

Raley’s sold more than 150 cases of artichokes during the course of the two promotional weekends and Ocean Mist Farms distributed 700 recipe cards and served 1,200 people.

This is the 20th annual marketing excellence awards sponsored by Produce Business magazine.

Ocean Mist Farms sponsors artichoke display contest

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (July 28, 2008) – To mark the beginning of peak artichoke season 140, Save Mart and Lucky supermarket stores participated in an artichoke display contest with Ocean Mist Farms in April.

The four week display contest challenged produce department teams to build a display using Ocean Mist Farms cartons, point-of-purchase cards and bulk and packaged artichokes.

Ocean Mist Farms selected multiple contest winners based on creativity of displays and the increase in artichoke sales compared to the same period last year.

Joe Feldman, Vice President of sales and marketing at Ocean Mist Farms, says display contests are a good way to engage produce staff with a product and to gain shoppers’ attention when they are in the produce department.

“Save Mart is one of our best customers; they handle artichokes well and have strong volume throughout the year,” Feldman said. “But during this contest, sales increased even more and that’s why we think it is a good marketing tool.”

Winning Store Produce Teams included:

Save Mart Stores # 86, 62 and 85 in Modesto; Save Mart Store # 202 – San Jose

Lucky Store # 622 Sacramento; Lucky Store # 616 – Rocklin

Only female Iron Chef to sign books in Ocean Mist Farms

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (July 14, 2008) – Chef Cat Cora, cookbook author and star of the TV Food Network’s Iron Chef America, will sign copies of her book, “Cooking from the Hip,” in the Ocean Mist Farms booth (#213) on Sunday, July 27 at the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference in Monterey, Calif.

The first 50 visitors to the Ocean Mist booth will receive a free copy of the book.

Hosting Chef Cora is just one of several activities Ocean Mist Farms is engaged in as part of the conference.

On Friday, July 25, Ocean Mist Farms is hosting an artichoke field tour as part of PMA’s Fresh Produce Academy.

The tour includes a visit to a beach side artichoke field as well as company headquarters and cooling facility.

The tour ends with a cooking demonstration in the Ocean Mist Farms kitchen by Chef Tony Baker, of Montrio Bistro, in Monterey, Calif.

On Sunday, July 27, Ocean Mist Farms is a sponsor of the Celebrity Chef Demo featuring Chef Tom Colicchio, star of Bravo’s hit culinary competition series Top Chef, and Chef Cat Cora. Both chefs will showcase their talents and culinary skills using fresh produce.

After the demo, Chef Cora will join local talent Chef Baker in the Ocean Mist Farms booth as he serves artichoke sushi rolls topped with spicy crab and lime relish and grilled baby artichokes with parma prosciutto, shaved parmesan and aged balsamic vinegar. Chef Baker will be featured in the Ocean Mist Farms booth from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fresh artichokes add touch of green to summer cuisine

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (June 23 2008) – As summer grilling season heats up, artichokes offer health-conscious Americans a delicious and unique way to incorporate fresh vegetables into their traditional barbeque menus.

Low in calories and fat-free, artichokes are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of folate, magnesium, and potassium. In addition, a recent study found artichokes to have the highest antioxidant content of all other vegetables.*

According to a survey conducted by the Food Marketing Institute eight out of 10 shoppers bought a produce item for its health benefits.**

Kori Tuggle, marketing manager at Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of fresh artichokes in the United States, said, “People are looking for new, creative ways to add vegetables to their meals and grilling provides a flavorful way to do so.”

“Artichokes provide many health and nutrition benefits, and they are highly versatile offering home cooks a variety of meal options for the summer and beyond.”

Steaming is the most common methods for cooking artichokes; however, finishing them on a grill provides a unique taste – adding color and nutty flavor to artichoke recipes.

Artichokes can also be easily added to summer barbeque side dishes such as pasta or fresh green salads.

Ocean Mist Farms recently added a grilling recipe section to its Web site,, which also features health information and tips for preparing an artichoke to be cooked.

*American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006
**Food Marketing Institute 2006

New package with recipes available nationwide

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (May 5 2008) – Ocean Mist Farms is introducing a new artichoke package this spring: A two-count medium sized artichoke clamshell package.

The company is adding the package to its offering to drive incremental sales. The new clamshell pack will be available year round in a 10 x 2 RPC or 12 x 2 carton.

“This is the first time we are packaging a medium, 36-count sized artichoke.” said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager of Ocean Mist Farms. “We want to have an artichoke offering for every consumer segment, including those who prefer to buy produce in packages or purchase multiple artichokes in a store visit.”

“The advantages of using clamshell packaging are demonstrated with artichokes: The recyclable clamshells provide more product visibility and are easier to use in store displays.”

Ocean Mist Farms also has four new seasonal recipe cards that are being inserted in packages of fresh artichokes as well as into the new clamshell package.

The first recipe distributed, “Chili & Chokes,” uses steamed artichoke leaves as a low-cal, nutrient dense alternative to chips for dunking in chili.

“It is an inviting and tasty way to eat artichokes that kids love,” Tuggle said. “We’ve been using it as a demo for the past year and we have had a lot of success with that recipe.”

Baker recognized for his work with Ocean Mist Farms

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (April 23 2008) – Tony Baker, executive chef and co-owner of Montrio Bistro in Monterey, Calif., will receive the first annual 2008 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award from United Fresh Research & Education Foundation at its annual conference, United Fresh, May 5-7 in Las Vegas.

Baker is one of five outstanding chefs being recognized for the use of produce in the culinary arts. The five winners were selected from nearly 100 nominations submitted by produce companies and restaurants across the industry.

“We’re delighted to honor individuals that are committed to incorporating fresh produce into menu offerings,” said Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh.

A panel of produce industry representatives selected the winners based on descriptions of how each nominee incorporated fresh produce into menu development as well as how well they created an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce.

Baker said, “At Montrio Bistro we work closely with farmers to get the very best of the season. Living and working on the Monterey Peninsula makes it easier; we are fortunate to have a plethora of farmers offering us their produce. I know our customers appreciate that.”

The Montrio Bistro menu features locally grown produce such as Ocean Mist Farms artichokes. Baker has been working with Ocean Mist Farms on recipe development and other ideas for nine years.

As a winning chef, Baker will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations, and registration to the United Fresh show in Las Vegas Baker will receive his award at the Annual Awards Banquet Tuesday evening, May 6.

Baker will also participate in a convention education panel and share his views on produce trends in foodservice.

Display contests, product demos and grower appearances scheduled to spark sales

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (April 14 2008) – Ocean Mist Farms is sparking the beginning of peak artichoke season with several new marketing activities this spring.

With good size artichokes and strong volume projected for the next two months, Ocean Mist Farms is supporting sales with activities such as in-store demos grower appearances, display contests and consumer outreach focused on educating shoppers about how-to-eat artichokes.

“Reinforcing the health benefits of artichokes for current users and creating trial with new users is our primary goal. It is a great opportunity to show people at the store level new and easy ways to serve a fresh artichoke,” said Kori Tuggle, director of marketing Ocean Mist Farms.

Ocean Mist Farms created four new seasonal recipe cards that are being inserted in packages of fresh artichokes.

The first recipe distributed, “Chili & Chokes,” uses steamed artichoke leaves instead of tortilla chips for dunking in chili.

“It is an inviting and tasty way to eat artichokes that kids love,” Tuggle said. “We’ve been using it as a demo for the past year and we have a lot of success with that recipe.”

Ocean Mist Farms is also rolling out a new package product this spring: A two-count clamshell package designed to drive incremental sales.

The new package, along with the seasonal recipe cards, will be available at the United Fresh show in Las Vegas, booth 4323.

Castroville, CA

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (March 10, 2008) – As part of an ongoing commitment to sustainable agriculture ,Ocean Mist Farms, the leading grower of artichokes and other fresh vegetables, formed an alliance with an environmental group in Monterey County to convert farmland into wetlands.

The unusual alliance, called a “convergence of interests” by those involved, started in 2006 when Hugo Tottino and his partners, owners of Ocean Mist Farms, agreed to sell 183 acres of farmland to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation for much less than the lands market value for Salinas Valley.

The land formerly known as the DeSante Ranch, is located along the main Elkhorn Slough channel and had been used to grow Brussels sprouts and artichokes since 1949.

Located at the center of the Monterey Bay coastline today, the former artichoke ranch provides habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals, including more than 340 species of birds.

“It was in the interest of both Ocean Mist and the Foundation to do this,” said Joe Pezzini, vice-president of operations for Ocean Mist Farms. “We converted unproductive farmland into a rare opportunity for the Elkhorn Slough Foundation to restore diminishing coastal habitat and wetland functions.” For more information on the progress this project has made in the last two years go to

Ocean Mist Farms is a leader when it comes to green initiatives. In addition to being a proponent of integrated pest management practices to reduce pesticide use and farming artichokes organically, some 90 percent (moving toward 100 percent) of the company’s farmed acreage utilizes drip irrigation to reduce water consumption and fertilizer usage. The company also uses energy efficient lighting in its offices and implements conservation measures in all cooling facilities.

Home cooks should look for "frost kissed" artichokes in stores

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (January 18 2008) – As a result of the recent frosts throughout multiple growing regions in California, highly flavorful artichokes known as frost kissed artichokes are now available in local grocery stores.

“The impact of frost on artichokes is similar to how human skin reacts to sunburn,” said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager, Ocean Mist Farms. “Frost turns the outside layer of the artichoke dark brown and then it flakes and peels.”

Once cooked the brown outer layer is gone resulting in the soft green artichoke that people are familiar with.

“Frosting is strictly a cosmetic condition,” Tuggle said. “While the brownish color may not look pretty, frost kissed artichokes actually taste wonderful. The cold weather concentrates the natural artichoke flavors into an intense nutty flavor.”

Artichoke lovers can visit the Ocean Mist Farms Web site to learn more about these unique artichokes.

“A frost kissed artichoke is a very unique item that we dont have every season,” Tuggle said. “Because they are so seasonal, we want people to look for them at their grocery store and be sure to buy them during the short time they are in stock.”

Artichokes are frost kissed when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. Following a freeze, artichoke plants take two to three weeks to start producing frost-free artichokes again.

Editor’s note: Chef Tony Baker of Montrio Restaurant in Monterey, Calif., is available to comment on the flavor of frost kissed artichokes as well as provide cooking ideas.