In the News

Uesugi Farms Nearly Doubles Solar Capacity to Meet Growth Needs

Aerial view of Uesugi Farms solar installation.Uesugi Farms, a leading second-generation supplier known for their year-round peppers, Napa cabbage and other fresh produce, expanded their solar farm with an additional capacity of 602kW installed by their longtime partner, Vista Solar. With this recent solar expansion, Uesugi Farms’ combined system of 1.4 megawatts is expected to generate 2,092,939 kW per year, enough to power over 3,750 California homes while eliminating 910,428 pounds of CO2!

Uesugi Farms first went solar in 2013, after five years of exploring the options and searching for the right partner. They found California-based Vista Solar and partnered with them to install a solar array on 12 acres of unfarmable land on their property.

“We tried multiple times – without success – to grow crops in a waterlogged section of our farm. When Vista brought up the possibility of using that fallow patch to farm sunlight instead of crops, we realized we were looking at the future home of our solar farm,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

Uesugi worked with Vista to install 792 kW capacity in 2013, but after continuous business growth, an increase in cooling capacity and the decision to generate ice onsite to cool their sweet corn, they were no longer offsetting 100% of their power consumption. Their recent 602 kW expansion was installed on that same 12 acres and is adjacent to the initial installation.

“It’s rewarding to see smart, sustainable businesses thrive with Vista Solar’s solutions. Since the first project in 2013, Uesugi Farms has experienced substantial growth. This phase two project will help address the facility’s rapidly growing energy needs for years to come. It’s been a pleasure working with Pete and the Santa Clara Farm Bureau, and I’m excited to see what Uesugi Farms will do next with the increased solar savings,” said Brian Brogan, Senior Project Developer at Vista Solar.

“Prior to 2013, we were taking the corn we grow to a third party cooler in Salinas to do the icing and storage for us, but we wanted to ship the corn from our own facility along with our other products and the economics made sense. It takes a lot of electricity to generate 100 tons of ice every day, which is why we needed to expand our solar footprint and harness that energy to remain near 100% offset,” said Aiello.

The energy combined from phases one and two will offset their total electricity usage by 99.5% and electrical bill by 83%. The family-owned company plans to use their annual savings of $236k to invest in the continued expansion of their operations.

“With our growing operation getting bigger we’ll need more trucks, tractors and harvesting equipment. We also have future plans to expand our cold storage, construct another packing line and build a new sales and shipping office, so all of these savings from going solar will help us achieve those goals and improve our overall business,” said Aiello.

Aside from solar usage, other sustainable methods Uesugi practices include drip irrigation and use of organic compounds. They’re also investigating usage of recycled water, once their water district installs a pipeline delivering recycled water to south Santa Clara County.

 


Uesugi Farms Promotes Crystal Melton to Pumpkin Park Manager

Portrait of Chystal MeltonUesugi Farms, leading year-round pepper grower and owner of the Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park in San Martin, California, promoted Crystal Melton to Pumpkin Park Manager last Friday.

Crystal Melton started working at Uesugi Farms 10 years ago as a ticket seller at their renowned, family-friendly Pumpkin Park in south Santa Clara County. As the years went by, her persistence and willingness to take on more responsibility landed her the role of Operations Manager where she managed the scheduling and accounting for Uesugi. Continuing Uesugi’s commitment to employee development and internal hiring, Crystal’s been promoted to Pumpkin Park Manager where she’ll be overseeing the entire Pumpkin Park operation and finding ways to make processes more efficient.

“Since I wasn’t exposed to the prep side of the business in my previous role, I’m beyond excited for this new opportunity as manager of the Pumpkin Park to oversee our planting operations and be there from day one when we plant our marigolds and corn,” said Crystal Melton, Pumpkin Park Manager at Uesugi Farms.

“Crystal’s leadership qualities, strong work ethic and positive attitude made her a natural choice for our Pumpkin Park Manager role. She’s been with us for 10 years now, so she’s seen it all and gained a tremendous amount of experience along the way. It’s really special to see one of our own move up the ladder and we’re thrilled she’s made this journey with us,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

The Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park started in 1985, when they only had the pumpkin patch and no attractions. In the late 1980s, the Aiellos began evolving the park into a favorite Bay Area Fall destination experience by adding the popular trains, hayrides, live entertainment, food and other attractions that exist at the park today. The park has been a staple for Californians for years and, with Crystal’s ideas to benefit the park and its patrons with possible new attractions, will continue to be in the future.

“Change may be scary to some people, but for me it’s opportunity knocking at my door. Even though the Pumpkin Park is already an amazing south county icon, I believe there’s always room for improvement. To get the chance to be a fresh face and add my experience to this already wonderful family venue means the world to me. The Aiellos couldn’t be better people to work for, and I’m both excited and honored to take on this new role,” said Crystal.

Just as the Pumpkin Park has seen repeated growth throughout the years, so has Uesugi Farms. The Gilroy-based grower continues to increase acreage to produce an annual variety of bells, mini sweets and hot peppers and just recently expanded their Napa cabbage to a year-round commodity.

 


Uesugi Farms Continues Exponential Growth, Predicts Big Volume in Mexico Pepper Production

Uesugi Farms, a leading year-round producer of peppers and Napa cabbage, recently started their production of bell peppers, hot peppers and squash in Mexico and expect this season to be their biggest in terms of volume and number of loads crossed over the border.

Back in 1998, Uesugi started production of only a couple varieties of hot peppers with only one grower in the Obregón area. After recognizing their grower didn’t have the necessary resources available to him to successfully harvest product, Uesugi decided to strengthen the relationship with their grower and invest in his operation.

“We had a rough start in the beginning, but we didn’t let that stop us. We invested in our grower’s operation by investing in the necessary equipment and resources to properly handle the post-harvest treatment of our products and ensure they stay fresh and valuable upon arrival. By helping our grower secure the right equipment, we were able to turn 10 loads into 1,000 and grow our Mexican program every year,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

Today, Uesugi has expanded to include Napa Cabbage, squash and all varieties of peppers in its repertoire, including bells, and has a total of four growers in Mexico; three in Obregón and one in Culiacán. They’ve also grown from less than 100 acres in 1998 to roughly 2,500 and have plans to continue to increase acreage.

Aside from expanding land, another advantage of growing in Mexico for Uesugi is the weather. With the days being too short and cold in northern California during this time of year to grow peppers, Uesugi moves their operations down to Mexico every November for warmer weather.

“Peppers are a warm season vegetable and need lots of sunshine, heat and lengthy days. You just don’t get that in northern California in January, so we’re lucky to have additional acreage in Mexico to grow peppers in their optimal environment on a year-round basis,” said Aiello.

With this season’s production being a success so far, Uesugi expects to produce more peppers than ever before this season in Mexico. Once their Mexico harvest comes to a close in June, they’re estimating roughly 3,000 loads crossing the border.

 


Uesugi Farms Officially Makes Napa Cabbage a Year-Round Commodity

Studio shot of Uesugi Farms Napa Cabbage.Uesugi Farms, one of the largest growers of Napa cabbage in the country, is officially able to offer the cruciferous vegetable year-round thanks to a partnership with one of their growers in Mexico.

George Uesugi, long-time farmer and mentor to the Aiello family, had been growing Napa cabbage since the 1950s. Ever since Joe Aiello purchased the farm in 1979, they’ve been continuing what George started, growing Napa cabbage in a few different California districts. However, 2017 will be the first year that Uesugi Farms will have a year-round program for Napa cabbage.

“We’ve always grown Napa here in California, but we were missing coverage for the late winter and early spring. With a goal to transform as many of our commodities as we can to year-round status, we took the initiative and partnered with one of our growers in Mexico that could cover that timeframe,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

This isn’t Uesugi’s first achievement converting commodities to year-round status. They have already been offering a year-round supply of green, red and yellow bells, mini sweets and hot peppers. Napa cabbage is their second product that will be grown year-round, with hopes of making sweet corn their third.

“We already grow our bells, minis and hot peppers down in Mexico, so this is nothing new for us. With our knowledge and experience, we’re confident our Napa harvest will turn out successful, our yield will be strong and the program with our Mexican grower will be long-lasting,” said Pete.

Napa cabbage is very popular in Asian cuisine and is used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stir-frys to kimchi and spring rolls. With the Chinese New Year approaching on January 28th, Uesugi expects to see an increase in demand for their Napa and is happy to report they’ll have plenty to offer for the widely-celebrated festival.Uesugi Farms Napa Cabbage harvesting in the field.

Uesugi’s Northern California production of Napa cabbage, located in Gilroy, California, is from April through November. From there, they move their operations down to the Imperial Valley in Holtville, California from November through February. To complete their year-round cycle, they will now ship their Mexican product from Nogales, Arizona from January through April.

In addition to Napa cabbage and pepper varieties, Uesugi Farms is a leading supplier of sweet corn, pumpkins, beans, strawberries and squash.

 

 


California’s Largest Pumpkin Weighs In at Uesugi Farms 26th Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off

Uesugi Farms 1st place pumpkin for 2016 on display.Uesugi Farms hosted their 26th annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off last Saturday, October 8th, at their family-run Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park in San Martin, California, where the heaviest 2016 pumpkin in California weighed in at 1,937 lbs. and won first place.

Uesugi Farms’ annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off is where pumpkin-growing contestants from all over the West Coast compete for the biggest, heaviest pumpkin in hopes to win over $25,000 in prize money. This year, Leonardo Urena’s 1,937 lb pumpkin put all the others to shame, stressing the scale in all its gigantic gourd glory.

Aside from winning $13,559 in champion prize money, which is $7 per pound of pumpkin, Leonardo gets the satisfaction of growing this year’s largest pumpkin weighed in California. This isn’t his first pumpkin weigh-off competition though, as he has competed in Uesugi’s weigh-off event for several years and finished in 2nd place with a 1,710 lb pumpkin in last year’s competition.

The remainder of the prize money awarded at the weigh-off ranges from $2,500 for 2nd place to $75 to 20th place. If the pumpkin ends up being a world record-breaking pumpkin, the winner receives additional prize money to increase their total winnings to a whopping $30,000.

“When you’re weighing and presenting several pumpkins at this event, it’s bound to get a little competitive between growers and even between pumpkin festivals. Uesugi Farms is proud to be a part of this competition every year and award contestants for the size and weight of their pumpkins entered, but we’re especially proud to have weighed the heaviest pumpkin in California in 2016,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

In addition to winnings awarded to contestants, Uesugi Farms also makes donations to the Michael Aiello Memorial Agricultural Scholarship Fund, a fund they started to help provide financial assistance to students interested in agriculture. $1 per pound is donated for the 1st place winner, $.50 for 2nd and $.25 for 3rd.

The Uesugi Farms Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off is sanctioned by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, a nonprofit organization that establishes required standards and regulations for all participating growers of giant pumpkins that compete at international weigh-off events.

“While this year’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off was more than successful, we hope that next year everyone brings the same competitive spirit, and a world record” said Aiello.

 


Uesugi Farms expands retail line with value-added mini sweet peppers

Individually packages Uesugi Farms mini sweet peppers.Uesugi Farms brings their third value-added product, mini sweet peppers, to retail grocery stores in convenient, 1 lb. bags.

After noticing growing interest in mini sweet peppers, plus strong demand from customers, Uesugi Farms decided to add another pepper variety to their mix. Their production of mini sweet peppers started in Mexico a little less than a year ago and is currently happening in Gilroy, CA.

“We realized that mini sweets are a popular item in the pepper category gaining more and more momentum and attention from consumers. Since we specialize in peppers, we wanted to jump on this opportunity,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

While mini sweet peppers are a new item for Uesugi Farms, this isn’t their first time releasing a value-added product. “Strawberries were first in 1 lb clamshells, followed by ghost peppers in half pint clamshells. Mini sweet peppers are the third value-added product we’re bringing to retail,” said Aiello.

Uesugi Farms has big plans to increase acreage and production of mini sweet peppers in the coming seasons, even though the current crop in Gilroy may be small. “The Gilroy acreage is basically a trial period for us to learn the ins and outs of mini sweets. We’re positive that with the experience we’ve gained growing and harvesting them, Uesugi will expand acreage and ramp up for year round supply in the future,” said Aiello.

Uesugi Farms’ branded and bagged mini sweet peppers stand out on grocery store shelves with their bright red, orange and yellow colors and sleek packaging design. As opposed to traditional bell peppers that are often chopped and added to dishes to enhance flavor, mini sweet peppers can be eaten as a standalone snack item, which makes them more versatile and convenient.

“With mini sweets, you can pop them right out of the bag, wash and snack away. They’re also labeled with weight and nutritional information, so there’s no guessing or hesitancy. You grab the bag, put it in your cart and have peace of mind. Aesthetics play a part too though, which is why it’s necessary to get creative with packaging design. Retailers like to showcase attractive products on their shelves and we like grabbing customers’ attention, so it’s a win-win,” said Aiello.

After harvesting in Gilroy, Uesugi Farms plans to move the production of mini sweet peppers down to Coachella Valley.


Uesugi Farms Continues Strong Year-Round Pepper Business, Heads to Coachella

Collage of colorful peppers with Uesugi Farms logo on top.Uesugi Farms, a leading year-round supplier of a variety of peppers, including green, red and yellow bells, mini sweets and hot peppers, is transitioning to harvesting premium quality peppers from Northern California to Southern California.

With the Northern California pepper harvest coming to a close in the next few weeks, the next location for growing peppers on Uesugi Farms’ calendar is the Coachella Valley, where the plants are strong and the peppers are maturing nicely. Starting in November, Uesugi Farms moves their operations down to Mexico to grow green, red and yellow bell peppers, mini sweets and hot peppers.

“Being a year-round pepper supplier, the cycle just comes naturally. Right now we’re getting ready to start the Coachella harvest, where we’ll grow bells and minis. In November, we head to Mexico to grow the full gamut of peppers, which includes all the bells, minis and hot varieties. The Coachella harvest starts again from May through July where we’ll continue growing our bells and minis. Some overlapping will happen, since we also grow all our varieties in Bakersfield and Oxnard in June, July and part of August. We then move to Hollister, Morgan Hill, Brentwood, Lodi and Gilroy for the Northern California harvest, which starts in July and could run all the way into November if the weather cooperates,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

Growing, harvesting and shipping peppers year-round is nothing new for Uesugi Farms, since they’ve been on a 365-day schedule since 1998. Thanks to adding more farms throughout the years to increase acreage and harvest new varieties, Uesugi Farms supplies a wide, annual variety of peppers, which include green, red and yellow bells, mini sweets, Anaheim, Caribe, Fresno, Ghost, Habanero, Hungarian, Jalapeño, Poblano, Serrano and Shishito.

Uesugi Farms expects another successful harvest in Southern California. Once Uesugi Farms completes their harvest in Coachella Valley, they’ll begin growing peppers again in Mexico.

In addition to peppers, Uesugi Farms grows and sells tomatillos, white and yellow sweet corn, Napa cabbage, strawberries, pumpkins, squash and beans.

 


Uesugi Farms Starts Successful Annual Harvest of Pumpkin Varieties

Colorful field shot of Uesugi Farms pumpkin ready for harvest..Uesugi Farms, known for growing a variety of peppers, Napa cabbage, sweet corn, strawberries and beans, is off to a successful start of their annual pumpkin harvest, offering plenty of varieties of everyone’s favorite fall staple.

In addition to the popular orange jack-o’-lantern types, like the Howden, Howden Biggie and Racer, Uesugi Farms grows and sells a wide variety of pumpkins, the majority of which are used for decorative purposes. Some of their specialty pumpkins include the Orange Munchkin, White Munchkin, Striped Munchkin, Cinderella, Fairytale, Jarrahdale, Porcelain Doll, Monster Smash, as well as several ornamental gourds.

“The Howden, Howden Biggie and Racer are all popular varieties for our pumpkin patches, as well as other pumpkin patches we supply. Racers, however, remain the biggest variety we grow for retailers. Howdens can get tall and oblong, while Racers have a spherical shape that attracts more supermarket shoppers,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

Close to 100% of Uesugi Farms’ crop is used for display, but several of their varieties are edible, making their pumpkins versatile and convenient for consumers. Uesugi Farms is also trialing a couple of new varieties, which have the potential to be produced in larger volume in the near future.

Uesugi begins planting pumpkin seeds in late May across several of their crop fields, which stretch from the Coyote Valley down to Gilroy. The end of planting ranges from late June to early July, to ensure their harvest is pumpkin-plentiful in time for Halloween.

“We have some ideal growing conditions here in the Santa Clara Valley… not only for our pumpkins, but for every crop we grow. The moderate climate affords us strong yield, meaning more production with less acreage, which is great because every acre is important when you’re growing multiple crops and ground is scarce,” said Aiello.

So far, the first two fields harvested have provided Uesugi Farms quality pumpkins that are beautifully uniform with dark green stems. Come October once harvesting is complete, Uesugi is confident the crop will display a strong yield to match its quality.


Uesugi Farms Expects Successful 2016 Northern California Pepper Harvest

Collage of colorful peppers with Uesugi Farms logo on top.Uesugi Farms’ 2016 northern California pepper harvest, which includes green, red and yellow bell peppers as well as mini-sweets and several varieties of hot peppers, started strong in early July. While green bell peppers and hot peppers were on time, mini-sweets, red bell peppers and yellow bell peppers were about a week late.

Heat ended the Bakersfield harvest early, while at the same time, unseasonably cool weather in Northern California pushed back the harvesting of reds, yellows and mini-sweets there by a week, resulting in a short-term gap.

“Even though the cooler weather last week slowed us down a bit, we’re expecting pepper production to speed up thanks to a warmer forecast this week,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.

Not only is northern California an important location for Uesugi Farms since it’s where the company is headquartered, it’s also ideal because of the moderate climate and long growing season. Uesugi has the most crop acreage, volume and variety supporting its year-round supply of peppers coming out of Northern California. Some of the northern locations in which Uesugi grows and harvests include Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Hollister, Brentwood and Lodi, California.

“It’s one thing to manage your production from various locations in and out of state, but when it’s right in your own backyard, you’ve got better control of the growing and harvest, and that’s one of the things we look forward to during the northern California season,” said Aiello.

Uesugi Farms also expects increased pepper production compared to last year due to expanded acreage, which means even more tasty and refreshing peppers for its customers.

The Northern California pepper harvest is expected to last through October or early November, at which time Uesugi Farms will move its operations down to the Coachella Valley to continue its production there. Uesugi Farms is a year-round supplier of a variety of peppers, sweet corn and Napa cabbage. It also produces pumpkins and beans on a seasonal basis.

 


Uesugi Farms Launches New Look, New Website

Screenshot of the home page of the new Uesugi Farms New Website.From 50 acres in 1979, Uesugi Farms has grown into a year-round, multi-regional operation spread over 5,000 acres in California, Arizona and Mexico. While Uesugi grows over 20 crops, including napa cabbage, sweet corn, pumpkins, strawberries and beans, they are a powerhouse pepper grower, and that helps explain their new brand and logo.

“We wanted a bold look that is steeped in the Uesugi history and reflects our core business,” said Pete Aiello, general manager and owner of Uesugi Farms. The new mark, which includes a sassy red chili pepper, conveys a fresh spirit and artisan style. Incidentally, this is just how Uesugi likes their top-selling products to be described and enjoyed.

In addition to the rebrand, the nationally recognized grower has also launched their first official website. That’s right – 2016 and Uesugi is just now developing an online presence for their core produce business. While the company has always been at the forefront of cutting edge technology and sustainable growing practices, their priorities have been focused on farming.

“Since our early years, we’ve been able to partner with some of the largest food service providers, processors, and retailers in the world, but as we continue to grow, farm more acres and enter new markets, we needed a website to better tell our story and build brand equity,” Aiello added.

The new website, www.uesugifarms.com, highlights product availability, Uesugi’s emphasis on sustainability and food service, and their involvement in the ag community. “We’re bringing the same level of sophistication to our marketing efforts, as we’ve devoted to the growing side of the business,” Aiello concluded.

 


Uesugi Farms Hires New Talent,
Prepares for Company Expansion

Gilroy-based Uesugi Farms is proud to announce four new hires that have the company poised for major growth this summer. General Manager Pete Aiello welcomed the following employees to the Uesugi family: Johnny Spina Jr., Farm Manager; Joe Martins, Raw Product Procurement Manager; Joe Gularte, Production Supervisor; and Jerritt Barr, Sales Representative.

“We tend to be pretty aggressive about our growth. We’ve taken on more acreage each year,” said Aiello. “Having these folks on board will make it easier to achieve that growth, and also manage the growth wisely.”

Portriati of Uesugi Farms Johnny Spina Jr outside of facility.Johnny Spina Jr. spent many years managing his family’s operation, Spina Farms. The Spina family has been farming in Santa Clara Valley for several decades, and Johnny grew up in the business. Uesugi Farms recently negotiated a deal to purchase Spina Farms and add Johnny to the company payroll.

He manages all of Uesugi’s growing operations in the Northern California region, which consist of roughly 1,200 acres from Hollister all the way up to South San Jose. Johnny fills a critical need. Previously, the farm manager role was piecemealed between Pete, his dad and a handful of other Uesugi Farms managers.

“We were doing it by committee,” said Aiello. “Now we have a true leader for our growing operation. Johnny’s really passionate about growing vegetable crops. He’s excited about the challenge and he’s hit the ground running,” said Aiello.

Joe Martins is out in the field coming up with harvest schedule projections, arranging schedules with growers, selling product, and more. Contract negotiations are also on deck for Martins, who handled and developed product procurement in the Central Valley prior to joining Uesugi Farms.Portrait of Uesugi Farms Joe Martins outside of their facility

“This is stuff my dad has done for 40 years,” said Aiello. “That’s a full-time job. My dad was trying to do that and manage the company at the same time, which I helped with, but our company really needs both of us on board at all times, with the flexibility to help where we’re needed on any given day. Joe’s another guy we think really highly of, and he allows my dad to have that flexibility. Not to mention he greatly increases our production management capacity.”

Joe Gularte will run the packing facility at Uesugi’s headquarters. He’ll manage production, maintenance and a 40-person crew. Gularte’s oversight ensures Uesugi Farms’ product is graded, packed and ready for delivery. He previously worked as a forklift mechanic for Toyota and routinely serviced Uesugi Farms’ forklift fleet.

“This packing line has a lot of moving parts. Joe has the mechanical wherewithal to run it. There are a lot of nuances about the product he’s going to have to learn, but that’s the easy part. We can train him for that. The mechanical details are the hard part, and Joe’s got a lot of experience with a wrench,” said Aiello.

Portrait of Uesugi Farms Jerritt Barr outside their faciliy.Barr buffs up Uesugi Farms’ fresh market sales team. Barr has more than 20 years in the produce industry, most recently working for the Harold Crawford Company.

“With a legitimate year-round operation, we just needed to bolster our sales staff, to keep up with the volume and year-round production and give our other sales reps some time to breathe. That’s how Jerritt is contributing to our operation,” said Aiello.

The new hires put Uesugi Farms in position to continue their expansion in full stride.

“The new guys will increase our capacity, our flexibility, and our efficiency. They’re going to make our operations stronger and give us the ability to handle increases in acreage and volume. It’s a good move for us,” said Aiello.

 


Uesugi Farms gears up for great Gilroy yields

Studio photograph of Napa Cabbage.
Gilroy, CA — One of the country’s largest growers and shippers of rare Napa Cabbage, Uesugi Farms anticipates plenty of nature’s gifts in Gilroy. With more than seven decades of experience growing Napa Cabbage, Uesugi Farms proudly maintains an impeccable industry reputation with its product.

Uesugi grows Napa Cabbage year-round in four regions — Coachella, Holtville, Mexico and Gilroy.

“Right now, there is a short supply of Napa in the marketplace – especially product that is free of quality issues. We are therefore enjoying a nice market,” said Pete Aiello, Uesugi Farms General Manager. “Uesugi Farms has been growing Napa since the 1950s. It is deeply rooted in our company’s tradition.”

Harvest runs April to November at its Gilroy farm, November to February in Coachella/Holtville, and February to April in Mexico. The upcoming Gilroy crop is expected to once again yield high quality product. The moderate Mediterranean climate and clay/loam soils typically lead to great quality and high yields.

Napa Cabbage is a niche product grown for and marketed primarily to Asian consumers. A staple of Asian cuisine, it is served in kimchi, wrap and stir-fry recipes. The product has recently evolved beyond that market, whether as a replacement for regular cabbage and crisp greens or for such adventurous culinary fair as braised Napa Cabbage.

Uesugi Farms founder George Uesugi began growing and harvesting Napa Cabbage in the 1950s. The product was so attached to the brand that Napa Cabbage was displayed in the company logo. Napa Cabbage continued to be a featured product when the Aiello family took over the farm in 1979.

With 250 acres, Uesugi Farms is one of the largest shippers of the product in the entire country. There are few other growers who can match Uesugi Farms’ growing experience or product acreage.

 


Uesugi Farms’ Coachella Peppers harvest hits the ground running in May

Colorful bell peppers from the Coachella Valley.Gilroy, CA — Uesugi Farms 2016 Coachella harvest got off to a great start last month. The company is shipping green, red and yellow peppers out of its Coachella Valley farms at a brisk pace. Uesugi is also doing red, orange and yellow mini-bells — not to be confused with mini-sweets — on a trial basis.

Coachella, located in the southern California desert, provides unique growing conditions that allows for superior pepper production during months that normally can’t be covered elsewhere in California, generally April to June and October to December.

With more than seven decades of farming experience, Uesugi Farms has established itself as one of the leading pepper grower/packer/shippers in the country. Uesugi Farms has expanded its pepper farming to nine regions — six in California, one in Arizona, and two in Mexico. Prospects are promising for the company’s year-round pepper operation.

“In Coachella, the weather is a little more harsh and unpredictable, hence the shorter growing season than that of Gilroy and our other northern areas,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager of Uesugi Farms. “But the weather during the two aforementioned windows is good, and the soils are very light – mostly sand. While these Coachella soils aren’t packed with as many nutrients as soils up here are, their light nature means better drainage and less disease. And these are good things.”

The Coachella Valley/Southern California pepper harvest season began in April and runs through July. Central Valley and South Coast harvests kick off in June, and Northern California harvest starts in July. That means delicious peppers a plenty for satisfied consumers. Uesugi is proud to provide year-round supplies with great quality and exceptional service.