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CASTROVILLE, Calif. -- Ocean Mist Farms, based here, a leading grower of artichokes and other fresh vegetables, has created a new staff position dedicated to environmental stewardship. Afreen Malik, currently food safety manager, will take on additional responsibilities for managing the company's environmental activities.
"We see a need for this new position because it is important to us and to our customers," said Joe Pezzini, v.p./operations. "We fully realize this will only grow in importance with time."
A leader in green initiatives, 90 percent of Ocean Mist's farmed acreage currently employs drip irrigation to reduce water consumption and fertilizer usage. The company also uses energy-efficient lighting in its offices and implements conservation measures in its cooling facilities through lighting, variable-speed evaporator fans, electronic forklifts, and a cardboard recycling program.
The company has also long been a proponent of integrated pest management practices to reduce pesticide use, and farms artichokes organically.
Malik has been with Ocean Mist since 2004. As manager of food safety, she has been integrally involved in directing the company's farm-to-fork food safety program, as well as enhancing product traceability and recall protocols. Prior to joining Ocean Mist, Malik worked with Frozsun Foods/Sunrise Growers.
The family-owned Ocean Mist Farms is the largest grower of fresh artichokes in the United States, with locations in Castroville, Oxnard and Coachella, Calif.