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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on March 13th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 1 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 1

Spotlight on: The Berry Stop

Kathy McPike, owner

BY COLIN PATRICK HODGES

When fruit industry leaders California Giant first approached Kathy McPike about opening a fruit stand on its property, she was nervous about accepting. For seven years, McPike had managed a fruit stand on the very same land, but this was the first time she’d ever contemplated leasing a stand of her own.


Berry, berry good!
Kathy McPike and her bush-berry supplier Alyson Chavez stand in front of the rather quaint looking “The Berry Stop.”
PHOTO BY COLIN PATRICK HODGES

“The community’s been so supportive. When California Giant first came to me, it was certainly an overwhelming idea, but as I began pursuing the opportunity, the community really rallied around me and gave me the courage and motivation I needed to make it happen,” she said.

The Berry Stop has now been open since March 1, and McPike is ecstatic about her decision to lease the stand. In fact, she said she’s never been more excited about the opportunity to bring quality fruit and a family-friendly business to the Santa Maria Valley.

“It’s so fun; the people who come out to the stand are good people, and we’re going to do our very best to supply delicious fruit,” she said. “I love the stand, and I’m pleased with how it’s turned out. I haven’t had a feeling like this in a long time.”

The stand, at Stowell Road and U.S. Highway 101, is an attraction for people from the community as well as travelers from all around California.

“We meet a lot of customers from the Los Angeles area, as well as Sacramento and the Bay Area. It’s a convenient location and very customer friendly,” she said.

Perhaps the reason McPike sees such a variety of customers come through her stand is because her supplier, California Giant, has a solid reputation for growing a variety of quality fruits. And also because the fruit she offers is a healthy alternative for people seeking to maintain a balanced diet.

“I have a very good relationship with the growers at California Giant, and we are in constant communication about the quality of fruit we are selling,” she said. “And I think what keeps people coming back is the positive experience they have with our business; the fruit is delicious and a natural source of vitamins and anti-oxidants that people need.”

McPike said customers can rely on the Berry Stand to supply them with a quality of fruit that’s hard to find anywhere else.

 “It’s fresh fruit, picked straight from the field and brought to the stand,” she said. “The fruit doesn’t sit on a truck or in a refrigerator for weeks at a time; it’s picked and delivered daily for people to purchase and enjoy.”

The Berry Stand offers a variety of fresh fruit, including Albion strawberries, local avocados, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Interested customers should contact McPike at 714-6933 or stop by the stand, which is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Highlights

• Tired of green beer and corned beef? Spend this St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, at the Buellton Wine and Chili Festival, where some of the Santa Ynez Valley’s best local chefs will compete to take home cash prizes for best red chili, chile verde, and homemade salsa. The wining and dining will take place at Flying Flags RV Resort from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are still available for purchase at BuelltonWineandChiliFestival.com. Cost is $30 for adults and $10 for people younger than 21.

Intern Colin Patrick Hodges wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Managing Editor Amy Asman compiled this week’s Highlights. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.