How We Grow Our Berries

Driscoll’s research and development teams use natural breeding methods to create patented varieties. Then our conventional and organic berries are grown on family farms. Finally, Driscoll’s food safety program ensures the wholesomeness of our berries and the safety of our consumers, employees, and independent farmers.

Research & Development

Growing only the finest berries in the world begins with Driscoll’s commitment to research and development.

Our experts use natural breeding methods to create our patented varieties. Of course, the first thing we look for is flavor.

We rely on natural cross-pollination techniques to continually improve Driscoll’s berries. We never irradiate or genetically modify our plants.

We naturally breed berry plants to be more resistant to diseases and pests while meeting our quality standards for flavor and appearance. Each year, we study thousands of potential plants 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, we flavor-test more than 500 selected varieties from our 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.

Driscoll’s patented plants are available only to our independent farmers.

Nursery

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 our coolers, where they are kept chilled so that the plants remain in hibernation. Our independent farmers pick up their seedlings just in time for planting.

Growing

Berries aren’t produced in a factory; they’re grown outside in a dynamic biological environment. The farmers’ challenge is to work with nature, using years of experience and know-how to get the very best out of each berry plant. 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. The length of the growing season depends upon the berry type, the plant and the climate of each unique growing region. For example, strawberries take 30 days to mature from flower to fruit. The berries are picked every three days, and the fields must be re-planted every year. Raspberry plants require re-planting every two to three years and blackberry plants require re-planting every five to six years. Blueberries are a deciduous fruiting plant and can live longer than 15 years before re-planting is necessary.

When you meet the farmers who grow berries for Driscoll’s, you can’t help but be impressed by their skill, experience and dedication to farming. Every person who touches these plants shares a passion for growing only the finest berries.

Delivery

At Driscoll’s, we want to deliver your berries to you fresh and ready to eat. Berries are a delicate fruit and are vulnerable to field heat. We build state-of-the-art cooler facilities near all of our farming regions, to get the berries in from the field and chilled to the perfect temperature as quickly as possible.

Hand-picked in the Field

Each morning, our 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.

Brought to Optimal Temperature

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.

Pallet is wrapped for stability in shipping

Trucks are inspected for cleanliness and the fruit is wrapped to ensure quality.

Arrives Fresh at the Store

We ship our berries as soon as possible after harvest, to make sure they arrive at your store fresh, ripe and delicious.