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Gold Coast celebrates 40th anniversary

Though Gold Coast Packing has evolved over the years and added many new products along the way, it has remained true to its roots and is guided by the same principles on which it was founded.

The company was founded by longtime friends Ron Burk and Bob Espinola in 1978 as a western vegetable and strawberry grower-shipper. Today’s product offerings include both conventional and organic vegetables and herbs, and many entrees in the value-added category. Its top priority for the last 40 years has been the needs of its customers, which has led the firm to continually develop and add product lines to meet each customer’s needs.

GC Logo 40year“To have thrived and prospered in business over a 40-year span proves that we have been able to do things right and meet our customers’ expectations,” said Burk, who serves as president of the company. “However, none of this would have been possible without the support of many talented employees and partners over those 40 years.  As I look ahead to our future, I am confident that we are positioned to continue to provide excellent service to our customers with innovative products.  Gold Coast’s success is due to the dedicated people who come to work here every day, sharing the vision to be the best we can be.”

For its first 10 years in business, the company was a commodity grower and shipper, much like many other firms in the industry in that era. But it was also on the front end of change, adding a value-added division in 1989, according to Marketing Coordinator Crystal Chavez.

The company’s first foray into that sector was the development of a washed and ready-to-use cilantro pack developed for food manufacturers. She said the four by one-pound pack is still a staple in the foodservice Industry to this day.

By 1992, Gold Coast added fresh-cut lines of broccoli and cauliflower as well as a “triple wash” process for spinach. In 1998, more innovation was on the way as Gold Coast pioneered a value-added green onion program, and introduced “timesaver” broccoli and cauliflower packs designed to help regional processors minimize the costs involved with processing these products themselves.

In 2013, a new processing facility — co-owned with Babe Farms — was opened to meet the demands created by its ever-expanding list of items. Chavez said a major breakthrough occurred in 2016. “While innovating with cauliflower cuts in our new facility, we stumbled upon the great idea of riced cauliflower! Later that year we won ‘Best Product Promotion’ at PMA Foodservice for Caulifornia Snow.”

Today, Gold Coast is known for its Caulifornia Riced Vegetable products, and also specializes in washed, ready-to -use broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, spinach, cilantro, kale, salad kits and other value-added fresh products.

To celebrate the milestone, the firm introduced a new logo that is being used throughout the 40th Anniversary celebratory year. The company also has a few events to commemorate the milestone planned throughout the year.

But Chavez said the firm is not resting on its laurels. “We just launched our Caulifornia Riced Vegetables Sides with flavor packets in Mariano’s. There are three flavors: Garlic Herb & Butter, Ginger Garlic, & Spanish Rice. This has been a project that our product development and innovation team has been working on for the past two years and we are so excited to see it come to fruition on the shelfs at Mariano’s throughout Illinois.”

Chavez said new product development and innovation “is very organic and conversational at Gold Coast Packing. We take into account that everyone on our team has great ideas, has their own perspective and is a consumer of fresh vegetables. Our sales, product development and marketing team regularly discusses new opportunities and evaluate the feasibility of us growing, processing, and packing those products here in Santa Maria. We canvas all of our customers both B to B (business to business) via telephone and e-mail and B to C (business to consumer) through social media and determine what products we need to create to fulfill our customers ever-growing need for fresh, healthy, produce.

Gold Coast sources all of its product out of Santa Maria Valley, utilizing both its own fields and outside growers.

Chavez said the firm is geographi8cally positioned between Los Angeles with growing conditions and weather suited perfectly for broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, and spinach among various other crops. “Land in such a desirable growing region is always going to be in high demand but we are confident that we can maintain our growing partnerships strong in order to keep up with demand,” she added.