Strawberry Field – Field Trip
My name is Nancy, and I am the most recent addition to the Purchasing Team at the Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. office. One of our latest endeavors was to find a new purveyor of strawberry puree which is used in our popular Strawberry Lemonade. Our goal was to find a vendor that we could partner with that would meet our stringent Food Safety requirements as well as maintain or enhance the flavor profile that our guests have come to love. After an extensive search, we found that Frozsun would be the best candidate to meet our goals.
Frozsun has been in the strawberry business since 1987. They process over 100 million pounds of California strawberries per year. Some of their key customers are: Costco, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and Coca Cola. They are the market leaders in frozen strawberries because they focus on food safety and their ability to build and maintain long term business partners.
I recently had the opportunity to visit their processing plants in Oxnard and Santa Maria, California as well as their fields. I was very impressed by the strategic locations of the plants, the cleanliness and functional layout of the facilities, and the state of the art equipment. Additionally, they have innovative methods to extend the shelf life of the fruit by cooling down the strawberries within hours of being harvested and received and using ozone water to help reduce the growth of yeast and mold. However, what impressed me the most was the collaborative foresight and resolve that everyone at Frozsun shares in helping protect American strawberry growers from losing business to emerging markets, like China. Frozsun realizes that in order to stay ahead of the curve they must work together with other local growers to discover ways to offset the continuing loss of acreage used for strawberry farming. This includes cultivating plants that yield more strawberries as well as creating new technologies to irrigate the plants more economically while helping conserve water. I was very encouraged to see that, like us, there are other American companies persevering during tough times by working together towards a common goal and by using good old fashion American ingenuity.