4Earth Farms' Mark Munger Discusses Bolstering Its Year-Round Brussels Sprouts Programs
- by Anne Allen
COMMERCE, CA - Brussels sprouts needn’t be kept in the corner of fall and holiday recipes. In fact, they shine as a summertime staple. Don’t believe me? I spoke with Mark Munger, 4Earth Farms' Vice President of Sales and Marketing, to learn more about how this veg is faring.
“Fortunately, our Brussels sprouts program is now year round,” he began. “Although we see an increase in demand during the winter holiday season, Brussels sprouts have become a steady year round in-demand vegetable. We grow Brussels sprouts all year along both the Baja and California coasts, but a vast majority of our summer crop comes from California (Oxnard, Santa Maria, and Salinas). We will move back to our Baja fields in the winter. We work hard to select the optimal varieties for each specific region and season where we grow, but our two major varieties are Confidant and Gustus.”
A mild coastal summer has equaled consistently excellent quality, which Mark believes will last throughout the season.
“As an industry, we had a very challenging spring,” he said. “The El Nino rains this past winter prevented pretty much all growers from planting their spring crop, so volumes in May and early June were nearly non-existent. We worked hard to navigate this challenge and were able to fill our most critical orders and escape much of the severe quality issues. We are now into new fields and the industry is back to ‘normal’ volumes. The current market is very stable. Demand has been strong all summer and we feel we are set for a fantastic late summer and early fall season.”
As Brussels sprouts continue to be a hit with consumers, consumption and demand are rising exponentially.
“In the summer, consumers are always looking for healthy high-flavor veggie options and Brussels sprouts are the perfect choice. They are so versatile and easy, consumers can grill, steam, bake, or simply shave them into salads…they are truly one of the most versatile veggies,” Mark shared.
He also gave insight on how retailers can take advantage of this all-purpose veg.
“Consumers now view Brussels sprouts as a year-round, versatile vegetable, not merely a seasonal item. Retailers should capitalize on this year-round demand by promoting Brussels sprouts and building big displays to keep them front and center with consumers. Summer ads that promote grilling Brussels sprouts help tie into barbecue and backyard themes. Offering Brussels sprouts in multiple pack sizes and options helps appeal to a broader customer base and significantly increases sales. Options can be a bulk display, one-pound net bags, steam-in-bag Brussels sprouts, and even halved or shaved Brussels sprouts.”
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