Driscoll's

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Driscoll's Berries, Inc.
Private
Founded 1944
Headquarters Watsonville, California, USA
Key people
Kevin Murphy, CEO
Products Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and other berries.
Website www.driscolls.com

Driscoll's is a privately held company that sells fresh strawberries and other berries. Its headquarters is in Watsonville, California, USA and it has been family-owned for over 100 years, the Reiter and Driscoll families begin growing strawberries in California in the late 1800s.[1] It controls roughly a third of the six-billion-dollar U.S. berry market.[2]

History[edit]

The company was founded in 1904, when Joseph "Ed" Reiter and R.O. Driscoll began producing Sweet Briar strawberries[3] in California's Pajaro Valley. Following World War II, Driscoll's recruited Japanese-American former prisoners upon their release from the internment camps to become sharecroppers for the company.[4]

In 2008 Driscoll's was one of the first two California growers to legally ship strawberries to the People's Republic of China under a program negotiated by then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[5] In 2008 the company was also named "business of the year" by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.[6] As of 2014, Driscoll's supports the Indigenous Interpreting+ program at Natividad Medical Center, Salinas, California, which provides medical interpreters for speakers of indigenous languages such as Zapotec, Mixteco, and Triqui.[7] In 2015, Driscoll's announced its involvement in "Connect the Drops," a campaign for changes to California water policy.[8]

In October 2016 as California entered its sixth year of record breaking drought, twenty organizations, including Driscoll’s, announced the formation of the California Water Action Collaborative (CWAC), to work together on water conservation issues.[9]

Labor relations[edit]

In 2015, Driscoll's announced the adoption of global Worker Welfare standards for their independent growers and public commitment to farmworker improvements with third-party audits and assessments. The Worker Welfare Standards are based on the International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions, Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP) Standards, Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) Standards and a collaborative review of agriculture-specific standards from several non-governmental organizations.[10][11]

Driscoll's has been the subject of strikes and boycotts in recent years over labor practices at its supplying farms. In March 2015, produce workers held a demonstration in San Quintin, Mexico, for higher wages and benefits.[12] In June 2015, Baja California farmworker leaders, the Mexican federal government and growers representing the fruit and vegetable industry reached an agreement to achieve better wages and working conditions for local farmworkers.[13] BerryMex, an independent grower of Driscoll’s berries, served as a leader within the larger agriculture community in Baja by increasing wages and earning potential for their workers.[14] However, the boycott of Driscoll's continues over labor practices in Baja where workers are seeking a wage of thirteen dollars a day.[15]

Driscoll’s brand and Sakuma Brothers, an independent Driscoll’s grower, were targeted with secondary boycott by union group, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ). [16] Protesters have claimed there were human rights violations supported by large fruit suppliers such as Sakuma Brothers Farms. [17] In 2014, Sakuma agreed to pay an $850,000 settlement and change employment practices such as accurately tracking hours and ensuring rest breaks. [18][19] In September 2016, Sakuma Brothers farmworkers elected FUJ as their worker representative and reached agreement on fair process. As part Sakuma and FUJ agreement, FUJ ended of the boycott of both Sakuma and Driscoll’s.[20]

In 2016, Driscoll’s announced a pilot program with Fair Trade USA to initially bring to market Fair Trade Certified organic strawberries and organic raspberries that are grown in Baja, Mexico. In 2017, Driscoll’s expanded the program to include organic blackberries and organic blueberries from Baja, Mexico.[21]

By 2016, Driscoll's was working with Spanish technology company Agrobot to develop a robot that would do strawberry picking.[22]

Products[edit]

Driscoll's contracts with various growers to produce strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, both red and yellow. The berries, available in either organic or non-organic varieties, are packed in the field as they are harvested. The company has fields in California, Florida, Mexico,[23] and Australia.[24] The company's organic berries are certified organic by the USDA.[25]

Driscoll's follows good agricultural practices for food safety, which are enforced at all contracting growers' farms, cooling and distribution facilities such as their Santa Maria, California distribution facility. They also have a distribution facility in Dover, Florida.[26]

Currently, Driscoll's maintains the only organic strawberry nursery certified by CCOF. There are no other known commercial organic strawberry start nurseries certified under the USDA National Organic Program.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Driscoll’s Aims to Hook the Berry-Buying Shopper". New York Times. September 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ Goodyear, Dana (14 August 2017). "Strawberry Valley". The New Yorker. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  3. ^ Smith, Dottie (March 3, 2011). "Travelin' in Time: Those sweet Sweetbriar strawberries of long ago". Redding Record Searchlight. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Driscoll’s Growers Gave Former Interned Japanese Americans a Start". Nikkei West. 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  5. ^ "California strawberries clear Olympic hurdle". North County Times. August 6, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Pajaro Valley chamber names man and woman of the year". Santa Cruz Sentinel. December 5, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Indigenous Interpreting+". Indigenous Interpreting+. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  8. ^ Potter, Lisa Marie (March 6, 2015). "Driscoll’s leading charge for change in water policies". The Salinas Californian. 
  9. ^ Labs, Lucas Howell, Timberline. "Water Action Hub - California Water Action Collaborative (CWAC)". wateractionhub.org. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  10. ^ "Driscoll’s Applies Fresh Approach to Ag Labor Relations". Fresh Fruit Portal. February 3, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Driscoll’s Underscores Commitment to Worker Welfare". Fresh Plaza. February 2016. 
  12. ^ Gottesdiener, Laura (May 9, 2016). "Driscoll's Workers Call for Global Boycott over Alleged Abuses at World's Biggest Berry Distributor". Democracy Now!. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  13. ^ Marosi, Richard (June 5, 2015). "Baja farmworkers win raises, benefits in landmark deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 5, 2017. 
  14. ^ "BERRYMEX IS AT 100 PERCENT CAPACITY WITH ITS WORKFORCE". Reiter Affiliated Companies. April 2, 2015. Retrieved April 28, 2017. 
  15. ^ Marosi, Richard (April 10, 2015). "Mexican farmworkers target Driscoll's, a firm with labor-friendly image". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  16. ^ Venice Buhain (September 6, 2016). "Sakuma Brothers workers set union vote, berry boycott ends". Seattle Globalist. Retrieved April 21, 2017. 
  17. ^ Brooke Binkowski (March 21, 2016). "Strawberries Prompt Binational Demonstration at U.S.-Mexico Border". Snopes.Com. Retrieved April 21, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Sakuma Brothers berry growers to pay $850,000 settlement". The Seattle Times. 2014-06-12. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  19. ^ Johnson, Gene (July 16, 2015). "High court: Farmworkers entitled to break pay". Seattle Times. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  20. ^ Venice Buhain (September 6, 2016). "Sakuma Brothers workers set union vote, berry boycott ends". Seattle Globalist. Retrieved April 28, 2016. 
  21. ^ Hornick, Mike. "Driscoll’s to expand Fair Trade berry program". The Packer. 
  22. ^ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-21/the-berry-of-the-future-is-fed-a-specialized-diet-and-picked-by-a-robot The Berry of the Future Is Fed a Specialized Diet and Picked by a Robot
  23. ^ "Strawberry fields forever: Acres of sweeet nostalgia at Driscoll berry factory". Lodi News-Sentinel. July 5, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Coast Lines: March 27, 2013: PV water agency seeks new director". Santa Cruz Sentinel. March 26, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Learn More About Our Organic Berries". driscolls.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Food Safety". driscolls.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  27. ^ Beach, Coral (November 6, 2015). "Driscoll's transitions to organic berry plants". The Packer. Skokie, Illinois. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 

External links[edit]