It was great to catch up with Scott Kumar, Senior Vice-President of Global Research & Design at Driscoll’s today. After several weeks of rain battered California, it was good to introduce a bit of New Zealand summer sunshine and warmth to the region!

As we prepare for June’s 2023 Salinas Biological Summit, meeting and talking to grower organisations across the Western Grower network is critical. Driscoll’s is a major seller of fresh strawberries and other berries. It is a fourth-generation family business that has been in the Reiter and Driscoll families since the late 1800s. In 2017, it controlled roughly one-third of the $6 billion U.S. berry market. Headquartered in Watsonville, Driscoll’s develops proprietary breeds of berries and then licenses them exclusively through approved growers.

Over the coming days, Dennis Donohue, Director of the Western Growers Innovation & Technology Center and I will be visiting growers and other key players across the State. Understanding their concerns and their motivations will help us develop the Summit program for June. The really good news is that interest is high, and we anticipate announcing a stellar line-up of speakers in early February. Today’s meeting with Scott was evident of that.

If you have not already registered your interest in the Summit, you can do so today by visiting the Summit portal.