California Giant's Anthony Gallino Discusses Tour de Fresh Growth
- by Melissa De Leon
CHICAGO, IL - My produce career is about the same age as the Tour de Fresh, so it’s difficult to imagine there was a time produce members might not know what that is.
As the fourth annual ride to put salad bars in schools approaches, VP of Sales for California Giant Berry Farms, and half of the duo that started the Tour de Fresh, Anthony Gallino tells me that the growth the program has seen since its inception is astronomical.
“We started out with 25 riders and a goal to raise $50,000,” Anthony laughs at the wide gap from then until now. With double the riders and triple the revenue, it’s safe to say the program has seen some success.
This year though, as is often true in produce, Mother Nature has thrown the ride some hurdles. While she came through in spades to California’s need for water, the state’s wettest winter forced riders to reroute their trek into PMA Foodservice 2017.
“Mother Nature messed with our route a bit around Big Sur, pushing us to detour inland before finishing the circuit in Monterey,” Anthony shares of the almost 300 mile ride. “We will be moving from the southern part of the coast up to the north for the first time in our history, with the second day offering quite a challenge for our riders.”
If you’re not on a bicycle, or do not have your logo on a kit, fear not. You can still help foster fresh produce consumption for the next generation.
As many of the riders for this tour come in as return members, Anthony explains that the opportunities for growth in sponsorship and involvement continue to pop up.
“We continue to realize opportunities, everything from sponsored meals and food trucks from the foodservice industries, to bringing out your chefs to make your product for our riders, a number of chances present a stronger brand opportunity,” Anthony tells me. “In short, there are other areas besides riding a bike or sponsoring riders to raise money and get everyone involved.”
Another area for growth that could be on the table is the timing of the ride.
“Other associations have inquired after the ride coming into shows, and while we may not increase the number of rides, we are open to changing the show,” Anthony says. “Riders love to ride different roads, so long as we are raising money for salad bars, so that could be a great opportunity to change things up.”
So throw your hat in the ring now if you want the Tour de Fresh to ride for you, and as AndNowUKnow counts down to covering the 300-mile road of the fourth annual Tour de Fresh, keep checking in for the inside scoop.