This past summer Ali Sesnovich, a pastry chef from Michigan, wrote a song about Driscoll's berries. In return, Driscoll's invited her out to California to see where the berries she adores so much are grown. This is her story about her trip and experience at the Driscoll's ranch.
I really love Driscoll's berries. How much do you ask? Enough to write a love song to the company telling them how great I think they are. I love to sing and play ukulele so when I got the idea to write them a song while I was at work, the ideas started flowing instantly. I am a pastry chef at an upscale restaurant and use Driscoll's berries all the time. Driscoll's berries are always far better, bigger and tastier than any other brand.
It is such a struggle getting any of the berries into the desserts instead of just eating them all when a shipment of Driscoll's comes in. So one day when I was eating blackberries instead of making blackberry cobbler, I grabbed a long piece of receipt paper and started to write. I sent the finished product to their website and to their Facebook page and hoped to put a smile on a few employees' faces.
A week later, I got a voicemail from an unknown number while I was at work. Unknown numbers never leave voicemails so I suspiciously checked it assuming it was a telemarketer that had gone to the next level of obnoxiousness. Instead, to my utter shock and awe, it was Driscoll's saying they loved my song and wanted to know if I was interested in seeing where they grow their berries! I let out a high pitched squeal when I heard it and scared the pants off of some poor woman who was at the counter I was hiding under. I then proceeded to run frantically around the restaurant yelling the great news out to anyone who would listen.
From the moment I got to California to the moment I left I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. There was so much to do and see as well as a constant flow of awesome friendly people. Meeting all these people who already knew me from my video was so surreal. I felt like a celebrity! I got to meet Dane Scurich, a Driscoll's grower, and we interviewed each other which was fascinating and delicious, seeing as it was filmed in a raspberry field. It was remarkable to meet someone who directly makes my blackberry cobblers possible. From there we went to record my song in a studio in Santa Cruz, California.
The next couple days were spent learning about where my berries came from; every step of the way from creating the seed to shipping the berries out. The most interesting part for me was the trip to the tissue cultures lab, where they create and begin to grow the perfect seed. I also enjoyed the pathology lab where they diagnose sick plants. I was surprised and thrilled to see that all the picked berries go directly from the plant into the clamshell packs we see in the supermarket. Now that's fresh! It's such a culture shock to really see what goes into the berries we all grab at the market and don't think twice about.
The amount of care and true passion that the employees have for their product is palpable. It makes me want to be even more brand loyal (if that's possible). My perception of the berry growing process completely changed after this trip. I'm sure I will never eat a berry the same way again. Next time you eat a Driscoll's berry think about the amount of people that made it possible. Consider the fantastic, friendly, kind people that truly care about the berry you are about to eat.
Get Ali's signature Blackberry Cobbler recipe here, and watch Ali's experience in the video below!