Years ago, we made a commitment to always have a selection of Driscoll's berries in-store, as much of them as were available in the market at the time. We did this because we wanted to assure our customers that we offered both value and quality, as well as freshness, when it came to our produce offerings... And this commitment still holds.
Why we support the Driscoll’s Brand
Driscoll’s research and development teams use natural breeding methods to create patented varieties of berries. The first thing that they look for is flavor. Relying on natural cross-pollination techniques to continually improve Driscoll’s berries, Driscoll’s never irradiates or genetically modifies their plants.
Their plants are naturally bred to be more resistant to diseases and pests while meeting Driscoll’s exacting quality standards for flavor and appearance. Each year, thousands of potential plants are studied so as to choose the top 1% to farm and sell under the Driscoll’s brand name. It takes five to seven years to produce a seedling that is ready for commercial production. Every season, they flavor-test more than 500 selected varieties from test plots around the world. Every Driscoll’s berry must be flavorful, attractive, resistant to disease, and hardy enough to ship well and arrive fresh at the store.
The life of a Driscoll berry.
Every Driscoll’s berry begins life at the nursery. Driscoll’s nursery locations are carefully selected based on their geographic isolation, which keeps the soil free of pests and diseases. Cuttings are taken from an original selected seedling and grown in the germ-free environment of Driscoll’s screen houses. From there, the seedlings are planted and grown in nursery fields, a process that can take several years. After the seedlings are harvested, they are carefully packed and shipped to coolers, where they are kept chilled so that the plants remain in hibernation. Independent farmers pick up their seedlings just in time for planting.
The goal of every Driscoll’s farmer is to shape, rather than control, the biological diversity of their fields, with a minimum amount of agricultural inputs. Planting the berries is a delicate process and the correct timing is critical. Each row must be laid out so that it has exactly the right slope, to ensure that irrigation water will flow smoothly throughout the field.
Hand-picked in the Field
Each morning, Driscoll's independent farmers pick up their clamshell containers at the cooler, hand-pick the berries in the field and return them to a nearby Driscoll’s cooler that same afternoon.
Inspected for Quality
The berries are then tagged, inspected for quality and immediately placed into refrigeration tunnels to bring them to optimal storage temperature.
Berries are a delicate fruit and are vulnerable to field heat, so Driscoll's builds state-of-the-art cooler facilities near all of their farming regions in order to get the berries in from the field and chilled to the perfect temperature as quickly as possible. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2½ hours to cool a pallet of Driscoll’s berries from field temperature to a chilly 33 degrees F. Berries are shipped as soon as possible after harvest to ensure they arrive at our store fresh, ripe and delicious.