Charlie’s Produce's P.J. Cawley and Laura Severance Discuss Growth of Farmer's Own Organic Brand
SEATTLE, WA - To witness the evolution of a fresh produce brand is a gift we trade news writers do not take for granted. One of the suppliers whose strategies we are seeing come to light is Charlie’s Produce. The provider's Farmer’s Own organic brand has recently been bolstered by a creative rebrand, new product additions, and exciting company milestones.
“Charlie’s Produce was ahead of the curve in focusing on organics before it was mainstream,” shares P.J. Cawley, Global Purchasing Manager of Organics and Farmer’s Own, reflecting on the company’s multigenerational legacy in the organic produce sector. “Farmer’s Own is a brand that isn’t specific to one grower—there are multiple growers of all sizes that pack according to our strict standards and specs. Over 40 different growers comprise Farmer’s Own. Roughly 90 percent of those are farming in the Pacific Northwest, but we also work with a handful of California growers to offer some commodities year-round.”
This impressive network includes growers that Charlie’s has aligned with for multiple generations, as well as newer growers that have established themselves as top-quality suppliers of organic produce. The Farmer’s Own brand began as a co-op in the ’80s, which was then acquired by Charlie’s Produce in 1994. The Farmer’s Own program was built to assist growers of all sizes to get their products to market. Today, the brand’s top-selling items include blueberries, potatoes, onions, and sweet potatoes.
Over the past few decades, the brand has seen several key developments, including expanded seasons for its sweet, bicolor corn; green onions; and cranberries, which have now been extended to reach its national customer base. By introducing additional growers to its network, Charlie’s Produce has expanded its organics brand by extending seasons on items that were previously limited. (For example, the brand’s organic corn season is now twice as long!)
Other recent milestones include the company’s first year packing Farmer’s Own celery and Walla Walla onions.
In 2020, Charlie’s Produce introduced refreshed branding for the Farmer’s Own line, including an updated logo, new box and label designs, and eye-catching graphics that creatively represent fresh and organic produce.
“A few years ago, we debuted our brand-new logo, color scheme, and graphics on our Farmer’s Own packaging. The refreshed logo and graphics still retain all the values and the messaging of the brand that has been around since the beginning,” Laura Severance, Marketing Manager, says. “Charlie’s provides a lot of packaging offerings for growers, such as labels, twist ties, PLU stickers, and boxes, which retailers love to utilize in produce displays.”
Farmer’s Own is available through all seven of Charlie’s distribution centers (Seattle and Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Los Angeles, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Anchorage, Alaska), sold to foodservice, retail, and institutions. Charlie’s Produce Trading Company brokerage team sells Farmer’s Own products nationally.
Stay in the know on all things fresh produce with the help of ANUK.