Coachella Field Experience

Dan Solomon- Organic Production Manager- Coachella Field Tour-3

Dan Solomon is one of many expert growers here at Ocean Mist Farms. In fact, he’s the Organic Production Manager behind Ocean Mist Organic , which means he’s instrumental in getting a lot of the fresh veggies you love from our field to your plate 365 days of the year!

OMF-Frost-Kissed Loading-Coachella-2Ocean Mist Farms is the largest and only year-round artichoke producer in North America! During winter, it's not uncommon for our chokes to start peeling due to freezing temperatures, which means even more flavorful Frost Kissed® Artichokes for you!

We had a field tour with Dan in Coachella, CA to give us the lay of the land (no pun intended) on what it takes to bring our beloved Ocean Mist Farms fresh veggies to you!  Here are 3 key takeaways from our conversation with him:

  1. We chase the perfect weather.

Throughout the year, we move to growing regions where the microclimate is optimal for our veggies to grow. By “chasing the perfect weather,” we can provide "seasonal" fresh produce year-round.

OM_Trade_Growing-Regions_smCheck out our Growing Regions web page to learn more about where our crops grow at different times of the year.

Our operations are based in our Salinas Valley (Castroville, CA) growing region from April until November. In the months between November and March, we transition south to our secondary growing region in the Coachella Valley, which has a temperate microclimate at this time of year. 

  1. Timing is everything.

Accurate scheduling for on-time harvesting is critical because equipment and harvest team logistics are critical factors when it is harvest time!

Dan Solomon- Harvesting at Optimal Times
 In the video above, Dan explains the importance of harvesting at optimal times when most of the field crops have grown to the optimal, standard size.

Even with perfect scheduling, harvest timing can get off course. For example, if one region isn't wrapped up in time for our harvest teams and equipment to move to another harvest-ready location, our production team must decide how to most efficiently allocate our labor and equipment to get the freshest veggies out of the ground on their way to your plate!

  1. Change is a constant.

Although we always chase the perfect weather, our growing process for each veggie is different in each region every year. The slope of the land is different, the “insect pressure” (ag term!) we combat is different, and even the seeds we plant in each region are different! Change is a constant, so we always have to be ahead of the curve.

Ocean Mist Farms_Coachella_Seed Variety-275w

 We have an in-house Seed R&D program that tests 700+ seed varieties every year. Our beloved Desert Choke grown in the Coachella Valley, for example, is actually a special variety of our Globe Artichoke that can withstand desert conditions!

The next time you go to the grocery store, keep these 3 points in mind. Although this is only a drop in the bucket, we hope these keys give you a deeper understanding of how our fresh produce gets to your table every day!

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Julie Criswell
Julie has been connected to Ocean Mist Farms for half of her life! When she was 9, she participated in the Artichoke Festival’s Agro-art competition for the first time, and every year until she went to college in Chicago. Now, two years after her summer internship with us, she’s officially aboard our marketing team full-time. Enjoy her perspective of life in the produce lane!
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