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Homegrown Organic Farms introducing organic clementines

Homegrown Organic Farms in Porterville, CA, will be offering organic clementines from Bakersville, CA, in the South San Joaquin Valley for the first time this year.

“This is a new block that we planted, and the fruit is coming into production this year,” said Scott Mabs, director of marketing. “There are only a few organic clementines on the market today, so we’re very excited to have this program.”

The organic clementines will run from the end of November through early January. They are offered in 2- and 3-pound bags, 4-pound display boxes and in bulk.

Homegrown Organic’s citrus program, including Navel oranges, continues to grow every year.

“We’re also excited about our new Smith variety pomegranate,” said Mr. Mabs. “It’s an early variety, and it has better color. It is a larger piece of fruit and the seeds are softer than early foothill varieties. We won’t have a large amount this year, but we will have some for our customers.”

He added that the company’s pomegranate program also increases every year, and that it plans to continue to grow and develop its supply base. Pomegranates from Homegrown Organic start in late September and run through the end of the year.

Mr. Mabs mentioned that both the citrus and pomegranate crops would be running somewhat late this year due to weather conditions in the spring and summer in California.

In April 2011, Homegrown Organic Farms announced the spinoff of its organic vegetable and melon operations to Creekside Organics Inc. in Bakersfield, CA.

Mr. Mabs said that the company turned its organic-vegetable program over to Creekside.

“The row crops represented a small percent of Homegrown Organic’s overall business,” said Mr. Mabs. “This enables us to focus specifically on our fruit program, which is expanding rapidly.”

Brenda Haught, owner and president of Creekside Organics, is a former employee of Homegrown Organics. Mr. Mabs said that the company helped her move forward on starting her own deal.

John France, president of Homegrown, said, “As an organic-fruit grower myself, I have always been concerned about how to get the best return back to the grower. With Homegrown’s primary focus on the current expansion of our citrus, blueberry, tree fruit and grape programs, we have reached the point where the needed considerations of our vegetable and melon growers could not be given the level of attention that I would want as a grower. Brenda and I have the same belief in that the grower must be served with the proper amount of attention in order to survive.”

Creekside Organics began marketing organic bell peppers farmed in Thermal, CA, in late April.

Mr. Mabs also announced two new staff members at Homegrown Organics. Chad Hansen, sales representative, joined the company in late 2010.

“Chad is new to the produce industry,” he said. “He was previously in banking.

Cherie France, daughter of John France, joined the company in February this year as sales and marketing assistant. (See The Produce News, Generation Next: “World traveler Cherie France,” July 11, 2011 edition, pg. 1).

“It’s great to have these young people with us,” said Mr. Mabs. “It takes a bit of extra training to teach them about the business, but it gives us the advantage of having them learn to do things the way our company wants them done.”