California Grown gets new chairwoman

By Mike Hornick; The Packer

Cherie Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission, is the new board chairwoman of California Grown, succeeding Kasey Cronquist, chief executive officer of the California Cut Flower Commission.

The Buy California Marketing Agreement manages the California Grown campaign.

Executive committee members on the California Grown board include vice chair Spencer Halsey, associate director of the California Association of Gardens and Nurseries; and secretary treasurer Karla Stockli, chief executive officer of the California Fig Advisory Board.

Before becoming executive director of the California Asparagus Commission, Watte was director of international trade policy at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She was also appointed manager of the department’s agricultural export program by then-Gov. Pete Wilson.

Prior to her CDFA appointment, Watte was the director of national affairs and research for the California Farm Bureau Federation. Other roles included legislative assistant to congressman Tony Coelho on the U.S. House of Representatives committee on agriculture. She is a former member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agricultural trade advisory committee on fruits and vegetables.

“(Cherie) knows firsthand what it takes to be an active farmer in California, since she is the fourth generation of her family to farm in the Imperial Valley,” Nick Matteis, executive director of California Grown, said in a news release.

“We have a lot going on with consumer promotions and newly formed retail and foodservice partnerships,” Watte said. “Farmers and ranchers in California face many challenges, and this program is a bright spot for them.”

Cronquist guided the campaign through the revamping of its promotions program and membership expansion.

California Grown Branding Becomes Available to Farm Bureau Members

Through a new strategic partnership between the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Buy California Marketing Agreement, Farm Bureau members in California now have access to a 50 percent discount on California Grown branding and licensing for their agricultural commodities.

CFBF, a member of the marketing agreement, will help to promote and strengthen its California Grown brand, popularized through use of a blue-and-gold “CA Grown” license plate logo affixed to agricultural products. The joint venture provides a discounted channel for Farm Bureau members to connect with shoppers who enjoy and seek out California-grown foods and farm products.

“Farm Bureau and California Grown each recognize that people are eager to learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “California Grown is a powerful brand that resonates with shoppers, and we look forward to helping widen its reach.”

The purpose of the California Grown brand is to increase awareness and consumption of the state’s agricultural products among California consumers. Established 12 years ago, the California Grown program has been successful in maintaining the integrity behind the California Grown brand.

The California Grown service mark is designed to be used in advertisements, collateral materials, in-store materials and other places to indicate support of the California Grown campaign. Farm Bureau members interested in the program and seeking more information about California Grown branding may visit the California Grown website at or phone 916-441-5302.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 78,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.