Posts Tagged “Gem Pack”

Merger Allows Strawberry Shippers More Volume

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Gem-Pack Berries LLC of Irvine, CA and and Red Blossom Sales Inc. of Salinas, CA merged last October and combined the companies now has about 5,000 acres of strawberries in Florida, Mexico and California, as well as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. 

Gem-Pack reports the expansion now allows year around shipments of berries with the ability to continue growing.

During the next three months, strawberry shipments will be heavy, creating more opportunities to work on branding with retailers.  

The company is a major shipper of strawberries. It will increase strawberry volume by 15 percent this year. Although, it has a few new items.

It is shipping pineberries out of Florida, as well as new blackberry varieties from Mexico. The company also added raspberries to its product line.

The company also offers organic strawberries out of Baja, Mexico, and Watsonville, CA.

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GEM-Pack Merges with Red Blossom Berries

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IRVINE, CA — GEM-Pack Berries, LLC and Red Blossom Sales, Inc. are combining forces.

GEM-Pack and Red Blossom build on more than 150 years of berry farming experience and collective acreage of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in nine berry growing regions throughout California, Mexico, Florida and South America.

“We believe the industry is changing and proactive consolidation will benefit our customers with consistency of supply, balanced production curves, improved quality and increased order fill rates for the entire spectrum of berries and seasons,” Director of Sales, Paul Kawamura.

After four years of quietly collaborating on cultivation and sales partnerships, GEM-Pack and Red Blossom realized their common philosophies and shared production priorities created a productive and powerful team.

The consolidation will combine GEM-Pack’s partnership with Healthy Harvest in Watsonville, and GEM-Pack’s continued operations in Oxnard, Irvine, Baja and Central Mexico, with Red Blossom Farm’s acreage in Santa Maria.

Included in the consolidation will be Red Blossom’s production from the Parkesdale Group in Florida, as well as Red Blossom’s long term, exclusive partnership with Mainland Farms in Central Mexico. Mainland Farms has grown to be Central Mexico’s second largest strawberry shipper, while also offering a full-spectrum berry program with blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

GEM-Pack’s blueberry and bushberry programs in Mexico and South America will round out the company’s now year-round berry production.

Red Blossom and GEM-Pack complement each other’s strengths, adding deeper access to services in all departments. “As the overall produce industry continues to consolidate, we wanted to stay proactive and flexible. The merger facilitates continued growth and allows us to not only meet, but exceed customer expectations,” Mike Etchandy, CEO.

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Strawberry Growers form Gem Pack Marketing Company

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aIRVINE, Calif. — Gem Pack LLC is a new company that will be marketing strawberries the year around and has been formed by three Irvine-based family strawberry growers.

The fruit will be shipped by Orange County Produce LLC, Fujishige Farms Inc. and Mike Etchandy Farms Inc. under the Gem Pack label.  All sales and shipping for the three companies are now being handled by Gem Pack.

However, Orange County Produce, Fujishige Farms and Mike Etchandy Farms will retain their own identities as they continue their strawberry growing operations.  The move is a matter of survival.  For example, Orange County Produce was launched as a small company, but has grown and has made the change to become more competitive in the marketplace.

Gem Pack sources from 1,000 acres in central Mexico, 500 acres in Watsonville, 800 acres in Oxnard (200 summer-planted and 600 winter-planted) and 200 acres in Orange County.  The company also has 100 acres of organic strawberries in Watsonville and Orange County.

The father’s of the three operations have a long history of cooperation, since the growers’ dads were partners.  Each family owned business is in its third generation.

Gem Pack will market all the berry brands from the three companies as well as the Healthy Harvest label from the Gonzales family in Watsonville.  Labels include Orange County Produce, Ventura County and Opus/Frosun out of Mexico.

Eventually, the company may consolidate into a single label, but for now, the local labels will remain intact for the benefit of retailers who prefer to emphasize locally grown strawberries.

The Gem Pack label was created for the benefit of retail customers who prefer an exclusive label year-round.  Many customers such as retailers, wholesalers and foodservice operations are seeking suppliers to provide product 12 months out of the year.

Orange County Produce will continue to grow and market vegetables and green beans under its own label.


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