Expectations are high for the first-ever Ocean Spray® specialty berry pack which debuts this fall, backed by a trio of partners intent on elevating the category with a unique tabletop strawberry proposition.
New Wave Berry, LLC is a joint venture formed by grower, marketer and distributor Oppy, family-owned agribusiness Red Dog Management and agricultural investment firm Farmers Gate. Its new hydroponic tabletop strawberry line will be grown in a newly-constructed high tunnel facility in Santa Maria, California. Building upon Oppy’s exclusive partnership with Ocean Spray, the agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 farmer families, the venture looks to further advance strawberry production practices and bring a uniquely sustainable item to market.
“With such diversification across categories at Oppy, I couldn’t be more excited for this one in particular,” said President David Smith. “This concept combines care for the planet with care for the people, and is poised to deliver an excellent strawberry experience for our customers and their shoppers. Berries have been an increasingly vital component of our product mix and I’m really proud to see our focus come to fruition with this innovative new line.”
Requiring fewer inputs than field grown strawberries, hydroponics deliver just the right nutrition at the roots of the plants to ensure the use of fewer chemicals and far less water. The lack of required groundwork by growing on tabletops also makes labor less arduous for those tending the plants and harvesting the berries while greenhouse efficiencies enable year-round work and production. The result? Healthy, flavorful, brightly colored berries.
“It’s not every day we get to build something from the absolute ground up, or tabletop up, you might say in this instance,” Oppy’s VP of Categories, Berries and Greenhouse Jason Fung said. “Bringing a new item, a new brand extension and a new way of growing to the market, I think this is an opportunity to change the game really quickly. We certainly see a future on a large scale growing in this way and will be able to do so with such great partners.”
Oppy and Red Dog Management have brought field berries to the market for several years. Fung shared this more environmentally friendly and sustainably sound way of growing is a major driver for all of the partners; it has garnered a lot of enthusiasm amongst the group as they pave a new path in their farm-to-store integration.
Owners of Red Dog Management Greg and Donna France said, “We’ve been talking to Oppy about the prospect of tabletop growing and how it is going to be the future of strawberries for a long time, we’re ecstatic to be moving ahead. These berries will stand out because they will be heartier with a longer shelf life. Coupled with an eye-catching extension of the Ocean Spray line, we’re excited to deliver in a different way for our customers, and consumers will be very happy too.”
Oppy will exclusively market the fruit and reveal its classified packaging in fall 2021.
Growing, marketing and distributing fresh produce from around the globe for more than 160 years, Vancouver, BC-based Oppy discovers and delivers the best of the world’s harvest. With over 50 million boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables grown on every continent moving through its supply chain annually, Oppy offers popular favorites from avocados and berries to apples and oranges year-round, alongside innovative seasonal specialties. Over the years, Oppy has introduced North Americans to a number of items across its diverse produce range, including Granny Smith, JAZZ and Envy apples, as well as green and gold kiwifruit. Go to www.oppy.com to learn more.
About Red Dog Management
Based in Santa Maria, California, Red Dog Management is a family-owned agribusiness, farming organic and conventional strawberries on 700 acres. Growing up with agriculture friends in California’s Imperial Valley, Greg France dreamed of his own farm at a young age. In 2004 he started Red Dog Management with his wife Donna; their son Aaron now manages operations alongside them. Stewards of their land, the France family believes in a harmonic approach between people, planet and prosperity in their commitment to bringing the best strawberries to market.
About Farmers Gate
Farmers Gate, LLC, based in New York, was founded in 2018 with the intent of becoming the preeminent vehicle for long duration capital to invest in a diversified portfolio of specialty crop agricultural assets and operations. Farmers Gate employs a thematic approach directly connecting sustainable specialty crop production assets and related midstream operations with food industry partners. The firm manages a diversified portfolio of economically scalable, efficient, sustainable and difficult-to-replicate platforms and aims to enhance these platforms through implementation of value-add initiatives.
Founded in 1930, Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry farmers in the United States, Canada and Chile who have helped preserve the family farming way of life for generations. The Cooperative’s cranberries are currently featured in more than a thousand great-tasting, nutritious products in over 100 countries worldwide. Leading by purpose, Ocean Spray is committed to the power of good—creating good, nutritious food that has a direct and powerful impact for the health of people and planet. All for good. Good for all. For more information visit: www.oceanspray.com