Ocean Mist Farms Member since 1947 Ocean Mist Farms Focused on the Future By Tim Linden It is telling that Castroville’s Ocean Mist Farms, which is the leading producer of artichokes in the United States, does not rank that crop on the top of its list in terms of volume.

Chris Drew, who was named president and CEO of the company in October 2021, is laser focused on strategic planning and aligning the company’s production with consumption trends. He is not content to have Ocean Mist rest on its laurels nor be wedded to its past successes. Artichokes are, of course, still an important fresh produce item for the company but consumers are trending toward value- added vegetables and those that are easy to prepare and to eat. Ocean Mist’s product line is reflective of that, and Drew is certain it will continue to evolve to keep up with consumer trends. Drew began his ag career with Headstart Nursery, while going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as a crop science major. Following graduation, he stayed with the company, moving to the Coachella Valley working in the nursery’s desert operation. It was there that he became familiar with Ocean Mist Farms, which has its winter production program

there. It was in the early 2000s when Drew joined Sea Mist Farms, a production affiliate of Ocean Mist Farms. There he learned about farming by doing it. He was educated in every aspect of crop production, with a focus on the importance of producing that crop at a very efficient cost. Drew stayed in production for about a dozen years before becoming Vice President of Operations in 2016. Today, he admits that he loves the operations side of the business where the emphasis is on finding better and more cost-efficient ways to accomplish all the tasks associated with producing a crop. As he completed his first year as CEO, he noted that it is a much different role with strategic planning being his main focus. “I am looking five, 10, 15 years into the future to make the business better,” he said. “I am an operations-based guy, but I love the challenges associated with this job.” He notes at the top of the list of the challenges are



Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online