As Bobalu Berry Farms reflects on their 60-year anniversary coming into the 2022 season, the Jones Family views 2021 as the real milestone year completing the transition to a fully integrated company.
“Last year was the year we did all the heavy lifting with software integration and building a strong team for the future. 2022 will be a year where we are fully established and ready to roll” says RC Jones, managing partner.
Oxnard has always served as the headquarters and anchor to the company. It is the first district we harvest in California each year bringing in the new year with a fresh new crop. “We are very pleased that for the first time, we will have fresh berries all 365 days of 2022 from California”, adds Bobby Jones managing partner. Bobalu, LLC typically relies fully on fresh volume from Mexico during winter months after the Santa Maria fall crop ends, and before the spring crop kicks off in Oxnard. However, for the first time as the 60th anniversary is celebrated in 2022, the company has added a fall Oxnard crop in addition to Santa Maria’s fall program that will come on a bit later carrying fresh California fruit into 2023. Now Oxnard will be the first and the last district harvesting each year for the company within the state. The addition of the crop from Mexico will compliment domestic fruit providing a beneficial overlap during the holidays.
“We have had great feedback from both customers and consumers about our quality and we are so proud of that being our core to build on. In 2022 we are very pleased to support the loyalty of key customers with this increased supply throughout the year due to this acreage expansion in California”, adds RC. This is a direct result of the expanded demand the company has experienced due to quality and service. This added volume will also help to expand their foodservice business in 2022 as the company builds on this very important segment of the industry.
While increasing volume throughout the year working with trading partners, Bobalu Berry Farms is also stepping up their engagement with consumers by expanding the website. The company has added new and exclusive recipes and provided links to save or pin them onto social media platforms while expanding their footprint on social media with influencer support. The focus is on ‘easy’ as consumers look to get out of the kitchen in 2022 and use more hacks to get meals pulled together for the family.
“Consumers are hungry for more simple recipe solutions, tips and hacks, along with information about the brands they align with” says Bobby. The added communication and engagement will support increased purchases and usage of Bobalu berries by their current and new brand followers. Despite increased challenges, Bobalu is excited about celebrating 2022 and new ways to connect with their audience.
“We do see 2022 as a challenging year for us and all of produce with supply chain issues looming ahead.” Says Bobby. The company acknowledges issues with transportation, labor, availability of crop protection tools and packaging. All of those listed come with decreased availability and increased costs. This is not a deterrent for the company leaders after 60 years of dealing with challenges. Managing partners, and the entire staff remains focused on quality, flavor, and partnerships to keep product moving and all are looking to continued expansion beyond 2022.