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Bova Fresh welcomes two as part of berry growth initiative

With more than 20 years of experience behind it, Bova Fresh is a grower and marketer of both organic and conventional strawberries out of Florida. 

Robert Wilhelm, president of the Boca Raton, FL-based company, said to be a success in the industry you need a great grower/partner and a loyal and long-term crew in the field committed to only packing the right product — both of which, the company has.

“Without these two components, we could not do it,” he said. bova-2

The upcoming strawberry crop has looked great and Wilhelm expects a strong season. “The recent cool weather has given us a little white shoulder, but overall the berries are sizing up nice and quality has been outstanding,” he said. “This all comes back to our picking crew out at the farm. We count on them to put up an outstanding box of fruit that we are proud to put our name on.”

Bova Fresh has recently begun an outreach program to help expand the berry category by visiting with local schools and educating the younger generation on the health benefits of all fresh produce, with a focus on strawberries and blueberries. It is also working in different school districts on various items that it is growing and importing. 

The grower-marketer has also added to its team, welcoming Steve San Filippo (Wilhelm’s cousin) as a partner in late summer. “Steve has been in the produce business and was one of the pioneers in the importing of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries 28 years ago,” Wilhelm said. “He brings 28 years of import knowledge and of course will be heading up our import division. For years Steve has imported asparagus, avocados, berries, cherries, citrus and other items and I could not be happier to be partners with family.”

In September, Bova Fresh brought in Julio Ortuzar as part of its import and sales team. “Julio grew up in the produce business in Chile and brings with him a vast knowledge of the South American import deal,” Wilhelm said. “Julio will head up our sales department and of course will be a strategic part of our procurement department for all deals both import and domestic.”

Looking ahead to 2018, Bova Fresh plans to continue with its growth initiatives. The company will look to expand its import offerings with the addition of both San Filippo and Ortuzar.

“We will also be partnering with at least three new domestic blueberry growers this spring and summer in order to offer our customers a year-round supplies of blueberries,” Wilhelm said. “We will continue to expand our Florida strawberry acreage — both organic and conventional — and will continue with our organic bell pepper and organic grape tomatoes with increased acreage already planned for next season on all these items.”