Homegrown Organic Farms Kicks Off California Stonefruit Season
- by Peggy Packer
PORTERVILLE, CA - Just as no two people are exactly alike, the same is true for fresh produce, as every fruit has its own valuable and unique characteristics. This is a lesson I learn very early on in my conversation with Homegrown Organic Farms’ Blueberry and Stonefruit Category Director Stephen Paul as the supplier kicks off its California stonefruit season.
“Homegrown is a true one-stop shop for organics year-round, and all of the commodities that we represent are growing,” Stephen tells me. “Opportunities to build with Homegrown are abundant because we’re committed to organic and what we do, and we have a passion to do that at a high level for our customers.”
Homegrown Organic’s stonefruit program is 100 percent EFI certified, and the grower is expecting a full crop of its stonefruit varieties this season, with yellow nectarines becoming available this week, and yellow peaches filtering in shortly after. The stonefruit market is currently steady, and demand remains strong across all categories, aligning perfectly with the heightened volumes expected mid-May through mid-June.
“By the end of May, we should be firing through all cylinders, and we’ll be seeing some good volume as we approach Memorial Day weekend,” Stephen adds. “Overall, quality looks pretty good, and the fruit is looking very clean.”
For retailers looking to tap into this unique category this season, all it takes is creativity at the merchandising level and an extended knowledge of the varieties found in your produce department—that and Homegrown Organic’s stonefruit, of course.
“Fruit is passionate. You have to have a feel and touch to what you’re doing,” Stephen explains. “Get engaged with the varieties and ask about their characteristics and flavors so you can be aware and pass it on to your customers. Get to know your grower, because that’s really the source of the passion. If you know who your growers are and understand their commitments, it really contributes to the quality of the fruit.”
It is through building relationships like these that Homegrown Organic has managed to set itself apart as a supplier partner, as the company’s collective network of growers prioritizes communication and, as Stephen puts it, “keeping it real, with no fluff.”
“We just don’t talk about it, we dedicate ourselves to it,” continues Stephen. “Good communication is pertinent, and it helps build long-term relationships. If we plan properly, get ahead of things, and ask the right questions, together we can achieve great service. After all, that is what we do; we serve.”
I couldn’t have put it into better words myself. If you’re looking to make stonefruit sales soar, Homegrown Organic might be just the partner you’re looking for.