Frey Farms' Renee Goodwin Talks Current Watermelon Projections
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
FLORIDA - Few can bring a market perspective like the purveyors behind the expanding Sarah’s Homegrown brand by Frey Farms. With feet firmly planted in both the fresh beverage business as well as growing the fruit that makes those beverages fresh, awareness of where to get ample volumes of flavorful watermelons is key.
“Sarah’s Homegrown is an all-encompassing label that doesn’t just speak to the beverage side of our business, but the produce as well,” Renee Goodwin, Director of Sales, shares with me. “While our production does go toward the base ingredients in our beverage business, much of it comes out of what we grow in the U.S., making it necessary for us to monitor the market and ensure that we have consistent supply.”
Currently, Frey Farms is looking to the Florida chapter of its harvest calendar, where the grower rotates from the south upward as the state warms up.
“We are probably three to four weeks out from the expected Florida harvest date, and things are looking really good for our crop specifically,” Renee says, sharing that, so long as Mother Nature continues to cooperate, the company will remain aligned with harvest projections.
While there has been some concern in the area brought on by white fly pressure, Renee says that, thankfully because of a remote location, Frey Farms has been lucky not to have been affected thus far.
“We should have good volume, in South Florida and beyond. We are a bit unique from domestic providers in that, rather than harvesting all the way up the East Coast, we transition out of Georgia into southern Missouri. The result is that we have excellent distribution opportunities for those in the central U.S. and midwest, with lower freight rates than those trucking out from further east,” Renee explains.
And with volume trending with the numbers necessary to fulfill retail commitments for Sarah’s Homegrown line, no shortfalls are currently on the horizon. Great news, as Renee adds that the team is already seeing demand for watermelon supply.
“We work with some beverage industry staples that are already reaching out to ask about their first loads of watermelon for beverages of all kinds. I see watermelon becoming a lot more in demand for a base ingredient to that market as a whole, and so for retailers with watermelon product interest I highly recommend you book early and often,” she chuckles.
While weather could still turn up the heat—speeding up the watermelon harvest by up to seven to ten days—it remains too soon to tell for certain if that will be the case this spring. As that time gets nearer, however, be sure that AndNowUKnow will keep you briefed on all the latest.