Employee Spotlight: 10 Things to Know About Lupe Mares, Production Coordinator, Value-Added

Today, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes view of Lupe Mares' day-to-day role as the Production Coordinator, Value-Added at Ocean Mist Farms. Keep reading to learn about her role at our company as well as some personal insights about her life.

1. How long ago did you get started at Ocean Mist Farms and what is your current position?

I've had several different roles with Ocean Mist Farms since I first began at the company in 1997. I started in the old packing facility cleaning artichoke leaves that were used for pest control. After that, I spent time packing artichokes by size and preparing them for cooling. In 2003, we moved into our new value-added facility in Castroville, which is much cooler than the old facility, where I was given the opportunity to work in Quality Assurance. I worked in Quality Assurance until 2017, when our previous Operations Manager, Kevin Tottino, promoted me to the Production Coordinator, Value Added, which is the position I hold today. 

2. What does your typical workday look like and what are you responsible for?

Some might assume my typical workday is boring because it is very routine, however, I actually like that about this role. My work day begins at 6:00 am every day. I start by creating the information needed for our traceback coding that will be used for production throughout the day. I generate PTIs for each line and each product that will be processed. I input the products that enter our value-added operation as well as the produce outputs for products that leave. I check the temperature of the finished product, monitor the metal detector, and verify that all products are received correctly. Although my day starts very specifically at 6:00 am, I do not have a specific time to end my day... I like the unpredictability in my routine.😊



3. What are some challenges in your role at Ocean Mist Farms?

The greatest challenge in my role is to ALWAYS be alert and focused. If I'm not focused, small mistakes like noting the wrong quantities or placing the labels on the wrong pallets can lead to delivering the wrong product to the customer, which is something we NEVER want to happen. Fortunately, we have a great team that is passionate about what they do. 


4. What internal departments and external people do you work with?

The two departments my team works the most with are Receiving and Shipping. When it comes to our collaboration with the Receiving team, it's all about identifying any incorrect quantities or labels that aren't in the system. We also work with the Shipping team to prioritize packaging styles they might need as well as to determine the right time for production. 

5. What are a few fun facts about working in the Value-Added facility?

We have over 70 people working on eight different lines, anywhere from 8 to 10 hours per day in a 35° room. We process prewashed ready-to-use products (Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Florets, Sweet Baby Broccoli, Cauliflower, Artichokes, and medleys) as well as unwashed products (Netted Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli). On average, we pack around 77,500 lbs each day. 

6. Are you passionate about your role at Ocean Mist Farms?

Yes, I love my job! I started in a lower-level position and have been given many opportunities within the company to be promoted and continue learning. 


7. What is the biggest lesson you've learned on the job?

The greatest lesson I've learned at Ocean Mist Farms is that nothing is impossible and with effort and perseverance many things can be achieved. 

8. What three words best describe your role?

The three words that best describe my role as the Production Coordinator, Value Added are responsible, busy, and passionate. 

9. How do you spend your free time?

I thoroughly enjoy spending my free time with my children. I love going shopping with my teenage daughter and playing soccer with my two sons. I love cooking their favorite dishes, which includes artichokes, of course, so we can enjoy family time together. 

10. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I've never been to Europe and would love the opportunity to plan and enjoy a trip there with my family. It would be amazing to explore the beauty of its cultures, people, history, and magnificent landscapes.

One last note, when asking Lupe if she were a vegetable, which vegetable would she be... she responded and said an artichoke! She said that artichokes are very resilient to different climates and she can identify with that in some aspects. Plus, they are yummy to eat. 😋

Leave us a comment
Hilda Medina
My earliest memory of Ocean Mist Farms was growing up in Castroville, CA. and being surrounded with beautiful artichoke fields. Surprisingly, I never thought I would work for the largest grower and shipper of fresh artichokes in the United States. Working here has made me see things in a fresher, healthier perspective and has helped in influencing me and my family to eat more produce. I hope you enjoy learning about Ocean Mist Farms family and the vegetables we grow!
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