Fruit World Discusses Mission and Vision; Prepares for California Grape Season
- by Jordan Okumura
REEDLEY, CA - One of my favorite stories to tell is the one that speaks to legacies; that speaks to revitalizing the family farmer’s connection to the soil. Fruit World Co. is one of those companies determined to realize this vision and create a space for the next generation of growers to not only excel but thrive. Owned and operated by CJ Buxman and Bianca Kaprielian, third- and fourth-generation, respectively, this company seeks to produce the most flavorful fruit in California and connect with customers who share the passion for quality and peak seasonality that Fruit World so inspiringly brings to market each day.
“I love the idea of reinvigorating the public's relationship with produce and ensuring the sustainability of agriculture,” Bianca shares with me. “When we say ‘the sustainability of agriculture,’ it's really about sustainability in terms of the land but it is also answering the question: How do we make this a viable career path for our peers and our children and future generations?”
The Fruit World team cares deeply for each other, honors its growers, stewards the land, and jumps over drip tape for their buyers, Bianca adds. And the goal for that legacy is a huge part of the dynamic that drives that team.
“When founding Fruit World, we asked ourselves, ‘Is there a way that we can continue our family's agricultural legacy and then be able to help make it viable for the folks we grew up with or other families of Central Valley farmers? Is there a way for us to help make that sustainable for them?’” she adds.
This family and the multi-generational element are not something that Bianca and CJ pulled out of thin air. In 2017, CJ and Bianca founded Fruit World to celebrate and carry on their families’ legacies of sustainable farming practices and good stewardship of the land because it was not just in their hearts, but in their blood.
‘We really are living entities of that storyline, because both of our families were in the stonefruit business,” CJ tells me. “We even lived in the same small town and did some trading together, back in the day. Now, we grow and sell organic and conventional citrus and organic stonefruit, grapes, pomegranates, and other specialty commodities. It has been such a wonderful journey for us. We both took separate paths and just when we were both desiring to keep our family legacies going, we thought, 'Hey, let's join forces and do this together.’ So really it’s been a story of keeping our families’ legacies alive—that is truly what it feels like for me.”
These two are definitely a rare breed of human—bringing a fresh perspective and youthful wonder to a story that could have been one of loss.
But growth is where Bianca and CJ focus their energy and passion now. Their histories have built their foundations, and now their vision will take them into the next era of produce leaders.
And as a California company, we all know that one huge area of growth and impact is the state’s table grape category. As we move toward July, the company is ramping up its California grape program in the San Joaquin Valley, bringing heritage varieties across red, black, and green categories that offer full flavor and aroma attributes that have been developed and perfected over years and years of care and cultivation.
With grapes available from July through October, Fruit World is partnering with customers to bring value and a rich history to its California grape destinations through partnerships with well-respected growers like Pete Wolf, who was one of the first organic growers in California. His organic certification number is 002 if that tells you nothing else. But that is another story to tell.
So, stay tuned for more rich history and rich vision from Fruit World and the companies that drive our industry forward in new and exciting ways.