The calendar flips to December so it must be winter, but for Boskovich Farms, which is located in the coastal Southern California community of Oxnard, there is not much that separates one season from the next.
“This is a 12 months of the year deal,” said Russell Widerburg, who is the company’s sales manager.
Green onions are the firm’s signature crop all year long, and can be sourced from the local area throughout the year. Of course, the weather does get colder and the seasons longer when the sun drops in the sky in the winter months so Boskovich increases its production at the time of the year in Mexico. But Mexico also provides it with some items year-round as well, such as the company’s artichoke deal from Ensenada in Baja California. “Artichokes are our newest item,” said Mr. Widerburg.
It is proving to be a very good crop. The firm grows annual varieties and is able to have it on its product list every day of the year. Among its artichoke offerings is a microwavable retail pack.
Another trend for Boskovich is increased production and expansion of its organic line. The firm launched the line in a modest way about half dozen years ago, but has been adding to it every year. It now has a robust offering of its core bunched products and some of the staples including radishes and cabbage, as well as several of the trendy items such as kale and chard. The line has done so well that Boskovich added salesman Peter Oill to concentrate specifically on organic sales this year. While all the firm’s sales people do handle the category, the creating of a specialized department is indicative of its growth.
“It is the main stream supermarkets that are responsible for our increased sales,” said Mr. Widerburg. “It seems that many of them are making a push again for organics and adding shelf space.”
Boskovich is happy to comply by increasing its acreage and adding items to the line. Long term, he said the company would like to offer every item it sells both in conventional and organic packs.
Mr. Widerburg said kale and Brussels sprouts, two of the darlings of the cable food shows, continue to show strong growth. Speaking specifically of Brussels sprouts, he said in mid-November that demand was excellent and he expected the f.o.b. price to continue to increase throughout the month. “It’s very good right now at $15 to $16, but I think it will continue to rise and be in the mid-$20s by the end of the month.”
Kale has been an industry-wide success story and the Boskovich executive said it does not appear to be letting up. “There was a time that you’d never get more than $6-8 for kale, but in the last six months a couple of times the market has spiked as high as $12-14. Usage has definitely increased.”
Cilantro is another item he mentioned as having registered great growth in recent years. Cilantro, an herb used extensively in Mexican cooking, has certainly enjoyed the growing popularity of that cuisine.