CASTROVILLE, Calif. (Dec. 28, 2015) — Local agriculture leader Ocean Mist Farms will award four, $1,000 scholarships to local high school graduates in April 2016 for the next academic school year.
Applicants must be a high school graduate with a 3.0 GPA or higher. Application deadline is Jan. 31, 2016. Applications and additional information can be found at www.oceanmist.com/scholarships.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (Dec. 16, 2015) – As a result of the recent widespread frost in California, highly flavorful artichokes known as Frost Kissed™ artichokes are now in stores for a short time.
The impact of frost on artichokes is similar to how human skin reacts to sunburn, said Diana McClean, director of marketing at 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 shoppers are familiar with.
“Frosting is strictly a cosmetic condition,” McClean said. “While the brownish color may not look pretty, Frost Kissed™ artichokes taste wonderful. The cold weather concentrates the natural artichoke flavors into a more intense, nutty flavor.”
Because Frost Kissed™ artichokes look different than green artichokes, Ocean Mist Farms is implementing an education program to teach shoppers about how good they taste.
The company has information on its website with pictures and recipes and is sending that information to members of its artichoke club and sharing it through its digital channels.
Ocean Mist Farms also provides display cards to the retail customers who stock Frost Kissed™ artichokes the new few weeks.
“A Frost Kissed™ artichoke is a unique item that we don’t have every season,” McClean said. “Because they are so seasonal, we have to teach shoppers to look for them and be sure to buy them during the short time they are in the stores.”
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.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. (Dec. 14, 2015) — Ocean Mist Organic hired Joe Angelo as sales manager.
Angleo comes to Ocean Mist Organic from Dole Vegetables and Dole Berry Company where he held district sales and commodity manager positions. He is a graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz.
“Joe Angelo is an impressive individual,” said Joe Feldman, vice president of sales and marketing. “We are honored to have him join our company to further the success and growth of the Ocean Mist Organic program.”
Angelo will manage customers accounts throughout the country and work in the company’s Castroville location.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. (Dec. 9, 2015) — Ocean Mist Farms opened its expanded cooler facility in Coachella, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 8, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony.
Ocean Mist Farms has operated in Coachella since 1988 and has expanded its produce cooling and distribution facility twice during that time. The latest expansion, which has been more than two years in planning and execution, is a result of increased business.
Construction started March 23; the facility now has double the cooling and storage capacity and twice as many bays for receiving and loading trucks.
The company grows and cools artichokes and 30 other fresh vegetables at the Coachella facility during the winter season from December to April, said Ocean Mist Farms CEO Joe Pezzini. In addition, the facility serves other growers in the surrounding area as a year-round produce cooling and distribution center. Ocean Mist Farms employs more than 70 at the facility.
“We built our reputation on superior product quality and food safety practices,” Pezzini said. “This new facility allows us to further improve product quality and shelf life as well as food safety and security.”
In addition to improving efficiencies, product quality and customer service, the expansion of the Coachella facility strategically positions Ocean Mist Farms for future growth, Pezzini said.
“We are investing in the Coachella valley for the future,” Pezzini said. “We expanded the facility to handle our crops and to serve our growing partners in the area. We believe in the future of agriculture here and are committed for the long term.”
Pezzini was joined for the ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Steven Hernandez. The mayor declared Dec. 8 as official Ocean Mist Farms day. More than 40 people attended the opening event and enjoyed refreshments and tours of the facility.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – Oct. 7, 2015 – Ocean Mist Farm will feature the newest addition to the company’s award-winning value-added Season & Steam™ product line, Kalettes™, as well as it’s line of organic produce, Ocean Mist Organic, in booth #3547 at the PMA Fresh Summit in Atlanta.
Ocean Mist Farms’ Season & Steam Kalettes™ are a finalist for the 2015 PMA Impact Award: Excellence in Packaging and join the four fresh-cut Brussels sprouts formats designed to meet current culinary and consumer trends including: SuperShreds SuperFood™, Quick Cook Sprouts™, Baby Sprouts and Microwaveable whole Brussels sprouts
All items in the Season & Steam product line use Ocean Mist Farms’ Steamfast microwavable package that gives users the option to pre-season the contents to their flavor preference, reseal with the zip lock and steam by microwave all within the same bag.
Ocean Mist Farms’ Season & Steam Kalettes™ are cleaned and ready to cook and have a suggested retail price of $3.29-$3.99 depending on the region. The company recently redesigned the graphics on each of the Season & Steam packages to make the instructions clearer on the shelf and more user friendly.
Also on display in the PMA booth will be the full line of Ocean Mist Farm Organic produce; the company started packing the items in July under a new label, Ocean Mist Organic.
As the largest grower of fresh artichokes in North America, the company will have an assortment of artichokes in multiple packages sizes available for review.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2015) – The Ocean Mist Farms Board of Directors named Joe Pezzini as the company’s successor to current President and CEO Ed Boutonnet; the transition in leadership will occur over the next 12 months.
Joe joined Ocean Mist Farms in June of 1983. In 2001, Joe was promoted to Vice President of Operations where he was responsible for cooling operations, food safety, research and development, quality assurance, human resources and strategic planning. In addition to these responsibilities, Joe accepted the position of Chief Operating Officer at Ocean Mist in February of 2009, a position he took very seriously and proudly served.
“After a careful process, we are delighted to select Joe as our new President and CEO,” Boutonnet said. “His wide range of expertise and skills, including his previous experience with Ocean Mist Farms, will serve him extremely well in his new position.”
Joe Pezzini said, “I’m honored by the confidence expressed in me by the Ocean Mist Farms board. I will work hard as we embark upon the next chapter in the company’s history. Working with the talented professionals on the Board, the Senior Management Team and our dedicated employees, I anticipate an exciting and successful future.”
Joe succeeds Boutonnet who joined Ocean Mist Farms in 1970 and became President and CEO in 1990. Under his leadership, the company became the largest grower/shipper of fresh artichokes in North America. Boutonnet will remain as Chairman of the Board and will participate in special assignments, projects and other operations of the corporation.
Boutonnet said, “I've been privileged to lead one of the greatest produce companies in the country. After almost five decades with the company and 25 years as CEO, it's time to transfer Ocean Mist Farms’ helm to a new generation of leadership. While I will continue a very active role at the company, I enthusiastically welcome Joe as our new leader. I am confident in his abilities and excited for the future of Ocean Mist Farms. I look forward to working with Joe and the board during the transition period, and to being an advisor to management in the years ahead."
Hugo Tottino, owner/partner of Ocean Mist Farms said, "Ed is a very strong, dedicated, and honest leader who encouraged our employees to look ahead to the future. He was instrumental in working with management to position our company for long-term success. We are grateful for his innumerable contributions to the company and we thank him for his distinguished tenure as President and CEO over the last 25 years."
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – The first Ocean Mist Organic fresh produce items began shipping this week out of the Ocean Mist Farms’ cooler in Castroville, Calif., more than 15 items are available in the line to customers nationwide.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – JUNE 15, 2015 – Ocean Mist Farms hired two employees to work in departments at the company’s headquarters in Castroville, Calif.: Jonelle Wong is the new operations controller and Gladys Valenzuela-Corzo is the human resources director.
Wong comes to Ocean Mist Farms with more than 15 years of accounting, financial and administration experience related to agricultural operations and food service. She was most recently the controller at Danna Farms, Inc., in Plumas Lake, Calif.
Valenzuela-Corzo also joins the company with several years experience in her area of expertise having been the human resources director at Growers Transplanting/Rocket Farms and the Monterey County Herald/MediaNews Group, Inc., in Salinas.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. (June 8, 2015) — Justin Grossman has joined Ocean Mist Farms as the organic sales manager for the company’s new organic line, Ocean Mist Organic.
Grossman has an extensive background in organic sales, most recently with Coke Farm in San Juan Bautista, Calif., where he managed accounts for large distributors and small retail chains.
At Ocean Mist Organic he will work in the Ocean Mist Farms Castroville sales office and report to Joe Feldman.
Grossman’s previous experience includes a national buyer for Albert’s Organics in Santa Cruz as well as other retail positions.
“Justin is a produce industry sales, sourcing and procurement professional with a broad-reaching background,” said Joe Feldman, VP of Sales & Marketing. “He has excellent communication and outreach skills, with a strong track record of building relationships with key people in the industry. We’re looking forward to having him help us meet the needs of our client base.”
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – May 27, 2015 – Ocean Mist Farms will sponsor the Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival as it returns to the Monterey County Fairgrounds May 30-31 to celebrate California’s official state vegetable.
Now in its 56th year, the growing festival is anticipated to attract more than 30,000 visitors and will feature more food and wine and bigger entertainment acts in 2015.
“We are excited that the festival continues to expand and is one of the region’s most anticipated events,” said Ron Stefani, president of the Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival. “This event is a unique opportunity to highlight the impact artichokes have in Castroville and Monterey, and our goal is to share the good fun, delicious flavors and long-standing festival traditions with the local community and visitors from around the world.”
Festival attendees can enjoy activities such as a farmer’s market, the Ocean Mist Farms Agro Art competition, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, the opportunity to meet Ocean Mist Farm’s ambassador “Arti the Artichoke,” artichoke field tours and a competitive artichoke eating contest.
Attendees can also expect a variety of foods prepared using fresh artichokes. Options include artichokes creamed, steamed, deep-fried and grilled, and in burritos, soup, ice cream, cupcakes and more. Guests over 21 can enjoy wine tasting, micro brews and artichoke pairings.
Northern California’s well-known chefs, Tony Baker and Ryan Scott, will showcase the versatility of the artichoke and share unique preparation techniques. Scott, host of San Francisco’s KGO radio cooking show and a Top Chef Season Four contestant, will broadcast live from the festival on May 30.
The annual Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival started in 1959 in Castroville, where California’s first artichoke shoots were planted in 1922. Today, nearly all of America’s artichoke supply comes from California and nearly two-thirds are grown in Castroville.
Over the years, the festival has become the primary source of funding for local nonprofit groups that thrive with the success of the festival. The festival continues to grow, and in 2014 moved to the Monterey County Fairgrounds to host more attendees and attractions.
Castroville-based Ocean Mist Farms is the largest artichoke grower in North America and a long-time supporter of the festival. Ocean Mist Farms has grown artichokes for more than 90 years and donated all artichokes being used at the event.
Ed Boutonnet, CEO of Ocean Mist Farms, said, “We’re proud to support the Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival and to celebrate Castroville’s long and storied artichoke history.”
Tickets for the 2015 Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival are available for purchase at www.artichokefestival.org and can be purchased at the door.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. (May 20, 2015) – Ocean Mist Farms and Lakeside Organic Gardens formed a strategic alliance to grow for one another and offer their customers wider organic product lines.
The strategic alliance will add organic artichokes to the Lakeside Organic Gardens product line. For Ocean Mist, the company’s organic product line will expand to include beets, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, fennel, iceberg lettuce, kale, leeks, parsley, red leaf, green leaf, romaine and spinach. Ocean Mist will market the items under the Ocean Mist Organic label.
Ocean Mist Farms and Lakeside Organic Gardens are both family-owned and operated. In business more than 90 years, Ocean Mist Farms is the largest grower/shipper of artichokes in North America.
Lakeside Organic Gardens, based in Watsonville, Calif., is the largest family-owned and operated organic vegetable grower/shipper in the country; the company grows and sells more than 45 organic vegetables year-round.
“The purpose of the strategic alliance between the two companies is to meet the increasing shopper demand for organic produce,” said Ocean Mist Farms CEO Ed Boutonnet. “It’s important to the future of our business that we respond to the changes in the marketplace and meet the needs of our end consumer; adding organic produce to our product list is part of meeting that need.”
Lakeside Organic Gardens grower owner, Dick Peixoto, said, “At Lakeside Organic Gardens, we’re excited to offer our customers organic artichokes year-round. We appreciate the commitment Ocean Mist has made to grow the best quality organic artichokes. This is a win for both companies because both of our customers will have immediate access to wider organic product lines.”
The first products will ship in July from the Ocean Mist Farms cooler in Castroville, Calif. and the Lakeside Organic Gardens cooler in Watsonville, Calif.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. (March 31, 2015) — Ocean Mist Farms is expanding its cooler facility in Coachella, Calif., this spring to be in operation for the Fall 2015 desert-growing season.
Ocean Mist Farms has operated in Coachella for more than 27 years and has expanded its cooler facility twice during that time. The latest expansion, which has been more than two years in the planning, is a result of increased business.
Construction began on March 23. When completed, the facility will have double the cooling and storage capacity and twice as many bays for receiving and loading trucks.
Ocean Mist Farms grows and cools artichokes and 30 other fresh vegetables at the Coachella facility, said Ocean Mist Farms CEO Ed Boutonnet.
“We built our reputation on superior product quality and food safety practices,” Boutonnet said. “This new facility will allow us to further improve product quality and shelf life as well as food safety and security.”
In addition to improving efficiencies, product quality and customer service, the expansion of the Coachella cooler will strategically position Ocean Mist Farms for future growth, Boutonnet said.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – March 9, 2015 – March marks the beginning of peak Heirloom artichoke season and Ocean Mist Farms is supporting sales with multiple activities designed to generate sales and consumer awareness for this special variety of fresh artichokes.
The family farmers of Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of artichokes in North America, have been growing Heirloom artichokes for more than 90 years.
As it stands, Artichokes are produced and readily accessible year-round; though peak harvesting season for our Heirloom variety is during spring — more specifically, during the months of March, April, and May. An artichoke thrives in foggy, cool-coastal climates and requires regular nutrients through watering and feeding. About 99% of the North American Artichokes are harvested in California, with Ocean Mist Farms being the largest grower. Ocean Mist proprietary Globe variety produces during the times of year that the Heirloom variety is not in peak production: May through the following March. The season for Artichoke is in a sense, all seasons.
The Heirloom artichoke variety is a perennial plant that grows from original rootstock that dates back to the start of Ocean Mist Farms in 1924. The formal classification of an Heirloom fresh fruit or vegetable is any distinct variety that grows and has been in trade for more than 50 years using the same lineage.
Like a family recipe, this unique variety of artichoke grows from the same rootstock that has been passed down to each generation of Ocean Mist family farmers for more than 90 years — never from seed. Artichokes have such a strong legacy in California that they were named the Official State Vegetable of California.
Ocean Mist Farms’ Heirloom variety is also the variety that chefs prefer. Many chefs refer to the Heirloom variety as the ‘red label’ referring to the red font color on the Ocean Mist Farms carton.
Peak volume of the Castroville Heirloom crop is expected in April, said Diana McClean, director of marketing. All the Heirloom artichokes will carry a red PLU/UPC sticker to help shoppers find the Ocean Mist Farms’ Heirloom variety in stores.
“During spring’s Heirloom artichoke season, we activate a multi-faceted promotional strategy that includes retail contests, radio ads in Northern California, a consumer sweepstakes, custom in-store point of sale, display bins and petal inserts,” McClean said.
The consumer sweepstakes will run in April and the theme is “Easy as 1-2-3.”
“Artichokes can be made in countless ways, but many people use the same cooking method and dip the petals in their favorite sauce,” McClean said.
For the Easy as 1-2-3 sweepstakes the players, who must be members of the Ocean Mist Farms’ Artichoke Club, can enter each day by selecting their favorite base, mixer and herb to create a unique artichoke dip. Daily prizes will be awarded and unique dip names will be generated to share across social media platforms.
The sweepstakes dipping game details will be communicated via social media channels and petal inserts in stores across the country. The petal inserts will be placed in every other artichoke for stores that agree to carry the item and labels will be added to the clamshell packages, which is a new packaging option for the spring season.
Daily winners will be entered in chance to win a grand prize of $1,000.
“We want to use the Easy as 1-2-3 theme to demystify the artichoke eating experience and add a fun engaging element to the process,” McClean said. “We like that it gets people thinking creatively about cooking with artichokes.”
Ocean Mist Farms will also activate geo-marketing with its email Arti-Alerts sent to members of its Artichoke Club when retailers have Heirloom artichokes on sale-specific in their market. The same message is also shared via Ocean Mist Farms’ Facebook page and other social media channels.
The culmination of peak season will be the Annual Castroville Artichoke Festival held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds May 30-31. The festival features Arti the Artichoke, Agro Art, chef demos, artichoke field tours, wine tasting and assorted activities for artichoke lovers of all ages.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (Feb. 23, 2015) – Ocean Mist Farms will feature new-to-the-world vegetable Kalettes™ at the Southeast Produce Council Expo this week, along with its Heirloom artichokes and Season and Steam Brussels sprouts line.
All items will be on display in Ocean Mist Farms booth 300.
Ocean Mist Farms is one of six companies growing Kalettes™ in the United States; the company plans to add Kalettes™ to its award-winning line of Season and Steam vegetables later this year.
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (Feb. 16, 2015) – Reggie Griffin, former vice president of produce and floral at The Kroger Co., was elected by the shareholders of Ocean Mist Farms as an outside director.
Mr. Griffin retired from The Kroger Co., the largest operator of supermarkets in the United States, in 2011 and has been working since then as a business consultant. He is the second outside director to join Ocean Mist Farms’ board; Dr. Roberta Cook of the University of California, Davis, was the first.
“I am honored to join the Ocean Mist Farms board,” Mr. Griffin said. “I’ve worked with the company for several years and have long respected the professional culture and the quality of excellence the company delivers. I look forward to moving into a productive future together.”
Ocean Mist Farms is a family-owned business that celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2014.
Company President and CEO Ed Boutonnet said, “We are extremely excited about Mr. Griffin’s recent election to the board and look forward to benefitting from his knowledge and expertise in the produce industry. His insight and passion for the business will help guide and direct the future growth of Ocean Mist Farms.”