California: Oppy enters berry JV with Hasegawa family
North American produce marketer The Oppenheimer Group has hailed a new partnership with strawberry farmers the Hasegawa family as ushering in a "new era" for both parties.
In a release, Oppy as the marketer is known, said the joint venture with the family of Camarillo, California would provide the trade with a new year-round fresh strawberry option.
"The joint venture creates a whole new level of integration both for Oppy and the Hasegawa family,” said Chad Ianneo, general manager of Rincon Fresh, the Hasegawa family’s berry label.
"It’s a new business model for the both of us. We’re evolving together in a very positive way, each gaining from the strengths of the other, to the ultimate benefit of our customers—and consumers everywhere who enjoy great tasting strawberries."
Oppy will serve as the partnership’s sales and marketing arm, having started shipping strawberries grown by the Hasegawas earlier this month.
To assure a smooth transition and continuing success of the program, four expert berry sales people, who formerly marketed the Hasegawas’ strawberries as Rincon Fresh, will operate from new Oppy sales offices in Oxnard and Santa Maria.
“Together, we’re vertically integrated from the field to the market, resulting in a distinct advantage for our customers,” said Oppy CEO John Anderson.
"This unique connectivity across the growing and marketing processes enables us to deliver berries—and provide service—that consistently exceeds expectations."
Anderson also noted that the partnership complements Oppy’s strawberry offerings from Salinas and Mexico. The company’s berry portfolio includes import and domestic blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries, as well as Ocean Spray fresh cranberries.
He also pointed to the quality of the Hasegawas’ berry program as another strategic reason for pursuing the joint venture.
"We are impressed by the Hasegawas’ commitment to growing the best possible berries,” he said.
"Together, we’ll bring the market a beautiful strawberry that consistently delivers on flavor and quality, with an eye to future innovations in variety, pack styles and more."
Now poised to energize the berry category even further, Oppy and the Hasegawas are fine-tuning plans for some high impact berry marketing and branding initiatives in early 2017.