all those outside factors—water, labor, regulations—“that keep you up at night.” Drew doesn’t believe those issues are going away, but he does believe that mechanization can offer tools that alter the cost structure to allow California to continue to be the major player in fruit and vegetable production. “California will always play a role,” he said. “Maybe we will produce a little less, but we will still be an important producer.” He does offer that controlled environment agriculture that allows for production closer to population centers definitely deserves his attention. The cost of shipping product across the country continues to rise, which makes greenhouse farming closer to the end user a viable option. “Sure, we’re looking at it,” said the 46-year-old CEO, noting the key to long term survival is to be nimble and adapt to change very quickly. “We’ve seen consumption of fresh vegetables decline a bit in recent years. We have to look at consumer trends.” Consumers want their vegetables delivered in new ways that are easier and take less time to prepare. Many consumers are no longer looking for a head of lettuce or three romaine hearts packed in a sleeve. More and more consumers want their vegetables delivered in a value-added option and Drew said the industry must meet that demand. He

believes the snacking trend is also here to stay and new products must be developed to fill that need. While California is still where Ocean Mist sources most of its production, the company does grow in Mexico. And Drew said the state’s water situation has also caused the grower-shipper to switch its shoulder season lettuce production from Huron in the San Joaquin Valley to the Oxnard district in Ventura County. For most of its 75 year history, Ocean Mist Farms and its leaders have been closely involved with Western Growers. Drew indicated that during this year of transitioning to CEO he wasn’t able to get involved with the organization as much as he would like to in the future. But Ocean Mist is a strong supporter of the association, as well as the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology. Drew is convinced that the agtech movement will offer solutions to some of the most vexing issues. “We are at a turning point in our industry, and we do need to be more collaborative to solve some of our problems.” He said the Pacific Ocean, which is not too far from the Ocean Mist Farms corporate office, is a great reservoir that should be tapped to help water our crops. He noted that Monterey County has a program in which treated water is used to irrigate crops and he believes desalinization of ocean water also offers potential.

WESTERN GROWERS OFFICERS – 2022 ALBERT KECK, Chair STUART WOOLF, Vice Chair NEILL CALLIS, Treasurer DON CAMERON, Executive Secretary DAVE PUGLIA, President & CEO DIRECTORS – 2022 GEORGE J. ADAM Innovative Produce, Santa Maria, California ALEXANDRA ALLEN Main Street Produce, Santa Maria, California KEVIN S. ANDREW Illume Agriculture, Bakersfield, California ROBERT K. BARKLEY Barkley Ag Enterprises LLP, Yuma, Arizona STEPHEN J. BARNARD Mission Produce, Inc., Oxnard, California BARDIN E. BENGARD Bengard Ranch, Salinas, California LOREN BOOTH Booth Ranches, Orange Cove, California GEORGE BOSKOVICH III Boskovich Farms, Oxnard, California RODNEY BRAGA Braga Ranch, Soledad, California NEILL CALLIS Turlock Fruit Company, Turlock, California DON CAMERON Terranova Ranch, Inc., Helm, California EDWIN A. CAMP D. M. Camp & Sons, Bakersfield, California CAROL CHANDLER Chandler Farms LP, Selma, California LAWRENCE W. COX Lawrence Cox Ranches, Brawley, California STEPHEN F. DANNA Danna Farms, Inc., Yuba City, California JOHN C. D’ARRIGO D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, Salinas, California THOMAS DEARDORFF II Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard, California SAMUEL D. DUDA Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Inc., Salinas, California CATHERINE A. FANUCCHI Tri-Fanucchi Farms Inc., Bakersfield, California DAVID L. GILL Rio Farms, King City, California BRANDON A. GRIMM Grimmway Farms, Arvin, California JOHN JACKSON Beachside Produce, LLC, Nipomo, California A. G. KAWAMURA Orange County Produce, LLC, Fullerton, California ALBERT KECK Hadley Date Gardens, Thermal, California J.P. LABRUCHERIE LaBrucherie Produce, El Centro, California FRANK MACONACHY Ramsay Highlander, Inc., Gonzales, California JOHN S. MANFRE Frank Capurro and Son, Moss Landing, California STEPHEN MARTORI III Martori Farms, Scottsdale, Arizona HAROLD MCCLARTY HMC Farms, Kingsburg, California TOM MULHOLLAND Mulholland Citrus, Orange Cove, California ALEXANDER T. MULLER Pasquinelli Produce Co., Yuma, Arizona DOMINIC J. MUZZI, JR. Muzzi Family Farms, LLC, Moss Landing, California THOMAS M. NUNES The Nunes Company, Inc., Salinas, California STEPHEN F. PATRICIO Westside Produce, Firebaugh, California JOHN POWELL JR. Peter Rabbit Farms, Coachella, California RON RATTO Ratto Bros. Inc., Modesto, California CRAIG A. READE Bonipak Produce, Inc., Santa Maria, California ERIC T. REITER Reiter Affiliated Companies, Oxnard, California JOSEPH A. RODRIGUEZ The Growers Company, Inc., Somerton, Arizona WILL ROUSSEAU Rousseau Farming Company, Tolleson, Arizona RYAN TALLEY Talley Farms, Arroyo Grande, California BRUCE C. TAYLOR Taylor Farms California, Salinas, California MIKE WAY Prime Time International, Coachella, California STUART WOOLF Woolf Farming & Processing, Fresno, California ROB YRACEBURU Wonderful Orchards, Shafter, California

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2022 Chris Drew, President & CEO Ocean Mist Farms


Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com

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