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Colorful Harvest gaining traction as major berry player

by Brian Gaylord | February 17, 2009
SALINAS, CA -- Colorful Harvest LLC has gained visibility in recent years with items such as multi-colored carrots, red corn, multi-colored cauliflower, seasonal green beans, melons and strawberries.

The company, based here, increasingly is becoming a major player on the bushberry scene with its strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries as well as year-round offerings of both conventional and organic berries, according to Chief Operating Officer Doug Ranno.

As such, Colorful Harvest has taken a step toward increased visibility by becoming the lead sponsor of the opening ceremony at Produce Marketing Association's Produce Solutions Conference, scheduled for March 19-21 in Nashville, TN.

"It's our way of letting everyone know we appreciate the trade's support," Mr. Ranno told The Produce News.

In the berry category, Colorful Harvest began several years ago with proprietary strawberries. It grows strawberries in Mexico and Florida as well as in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Watsonville-Salinas in California. In each region in which Colorful Harvest grows strawberries, it considers growing proprietary varieties vs. growing university varieties.

But criteria such as great taste and cutting red throughout the berry are standards that decide which berries are best, Mr. Ranno said.

The company is among the larger shippers of Albion variety strawberries - a popular University of California variety that is grown primarily in Santa Maria and Watsonville-Salinas.

"We've increased our acreage and distribution" with a global presence for its berry patch, Mr. Ranno said. Colorful Harvest exports to Japan, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East.

As a grower-shipper, Colorful Harvest's customer base is increasing, Mr. Ranno said, adding that the company's quality-control staff has worked with its growers to provide better fruit.

Colorful Harvest has a "huge blueberry deal" in California's Central Valley, Mr. Ranno added.

"People are beginning to recognize Colorful Harvest as having year-round, diverse and quality berries," Mr. Ranno said.

In addition to one-, two- and four-pound packs, the company offers an eight-pound bulk box of stem strawberries and an eight-pound box of its small "Kid Candy" strawberries.