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SALINAS SCENE: Television crew visits Ocean Mist Farms

The crew of the popular television food show "Bringing It Home with Laura McIntosh" paid a visit to Castroville, CA-based Ocean Mist Farms Oct. 24 to film a segment that features Chef Tony Baker cooking artichokes and asparagus in one of Ocean Mist's fields. The piece is scheduled to air sometime this spring.

Ms. McIntosh's crew visited Ocean Mist's booth at the PMA Fresh Summit in Houston. Kori Tuggle, marketing manager for Ocean Mist, said that the Fresh Summit filming of Ocean Mist is destined for use on "food-oriented web sites."

"Bringing It Home with Laura McIntosh" airs in the California markets of San Francisco, Sacramento, Palm Springs and Chico-Redding, and in Reno, NV.

Former Snokist CEO relocates to Monterey Peninsula
With 27 years of managing experience in the food industry, Valerie Woerner has left her role as president and chief executive officer of Yakima, WA-based Snokist Growers after more than six years and relocated to the Monterey Peninsula.

Now within shouting distance of Salinas, Ms. Woerner hopes to plug into the Salinas Valley and continue working in fresh produce. She counts among her contributions at Snokist helping to save a 100-year-old company with annual sales of $100 million in two divisions -- fresh and processed fruit -- from bankruptcy. In her first year at the helm of the company, expenses were reduced by $9 million and profit-and-loss results increased by $11 million. The company's cash position was boosted by more than $18 million, and Snokist acquired a state-of-the-art apple packingline as well as plastic packingline for the cannery.

Ms. Woerner has been in the trenches in difficult times, including having steered Snokist through an ugly seven-month strike that began in September 2004 and affected the tree fruit industry in Washington state.

Prior to her time at Snokist, Ms. Woerner was president of now defunct Castroville, CA-based Artichoke Industries Inc. ("Cara Mia" brand) from 1991 to 1998. Among her contributions there were the doubling of the company's value achieved in 40 years in her first four years and saving the company by successfully negotiating six years of labor contracts with the Teamsters union that included competitive medical benefit packages that over seven years reduced expenses by $5 million.

Product lines with which Ms. Woerner has been involved are fresh fruit, processed fruit, canned vegetables, thermo-stabilized barrier trays, pouches, freeze-dry, hot-fill, meat and seafood products. She has experience in management of bilingual employees in union and non-union environments.

Ms. Woerner has been a board member of the Washington State Soft Fruit Commission, Northwest Food Processors, 5 A Day Foundation and several non-profit organizations.

When she's not working -- and maybe when she is -- she can often be found dancing. Ms. Woerner is an accomplished ballerina and has been a board member of Ballet Fantasque and Yakima Ballet.

Ms. Woerner said that she "loves deal-making" -- a chief operating officer function -- as well as working with numbers, which falls under chief financial officer responsibilities. She is also interested in "very ethical companies," and can be reached at 509/307-2102 or