CASTROVILLE, Calif. (November 20, 2023) – Ocean Mist Farms, BB #:111742 the leading grower and marketer of fresh artichokes in North America, mourns the passing of beloved former President and CEO, visionary and industry titan, Ed Boutonnet.
Ed was a devoted grower/owner of the industry-leading company for over forty years, where his vision as President and CEO from 1990 – 2015 helped develop the company into a strategically focused industry leader. The Boutonnet family, who first started consolidating acreage with one of Ocean Mist’s original founding family members, Hugo Tottino, back in 1970 remain actively involved as valued grower/owners of the company.
In 1972 the Boutonnet family joined forces with Sea Mist Farms (an Ocean Mist Farms affiliate) to bring artichokes – and eventually mixed vegetables – into the offering, helping to bolster and diversify the company’s product line. A decade later, in 1982, the Boutonnet family became partners in the California Artichoke and Vegetable Growers Corporation (Ocean Mist Farms formal company name).
For the next couple decades, the Boutonnet family continued to add to their farming roster, adding leaf lettuces in the early 1980s. By 1990 Boutonnet was named President and CEO and began evolving the company into the largest grower/shipper of artichokes in North America. Under Boutonnet’s leadership Ocean Mist expanded its acreage, facilities, and product offering. Ed’s unwavering commitment and focus lead sales to grow exponentially during his tenure.
As a farmer he was a proud and steadfast steward of the land and understood the many facets of farming and the inherent challenges that exist in this extremely demanding, and honorable, profession. As a leader, Ed’s passion for farming, this community, and developing and mentoring next generations of Ocean Mist employees into future leaders was unrivaled. Ed had an uncanny ability to connect with all employees – from field workers to senior management. When making long-term strategic business decisions, Ed’s first and final consideration was always the welfare of Ocean Mist Farm employees.
Ocean Mist President and CEO, Chris Drew, remembers Ed with great respect and reverence and a deep sense of appreciation for his mentorship and guidance when Chris first joined Sea Mist Farms in 2004.
Chris reflects on early words of wisdom Ed shared with him, which Chris notes Ed also regularly emulated in his relentless pursuit of excellence.
“There is no such thing as luck. Luck should be defined as when good preparation and opportunity meet. Pay attention to the details – opportunity lies behind the smallest details. And if you don’t make a mistake every now and again, you’re not trying hard enough – just don’t make the same mistake twice.”
Possibly one of the most noteworthy things Ed championed while at the Ocean Mist helm was positioning the company to be a major player in a very competitive landscape of grower/shippers. Creating an organizational structure and working with the leadership to identify, create and implement a strategic plan, mission, vision, and values laid the groundwork for what was to come. His commitment, efforts and perseverance left an indelible mark on Ocean Mist Farms to this day.
Over the years Ed served on multiple Boards sharing his time, passion, insights, and expertise to support and further worthy causes that were near and dear to his heart. He rightfully received several awards, honors, accolades, and recognition for his many contributions to, and accomplishments in, the agriculture industry.
The Ocean Mist Farms corporate headquarters office in Castroville has a reserved sign in its parking lot that has been for the exclusive use of Mr. Boutonnet since 2010. He was always a welcome friend and colleague here, and his memory will live on as we near our centennial year in 2024 which Ed was so excited to celebrate with us.
The Boutonnet family is now into its fourth generation of proud farmers.
About Ocean Mist Farms
Ocean Mist Farms, a fourth-generation family-owned business in Castroville, Calif., the largest grower of fresh artichokes in North America, is committed to delivering the highest standards in the industry for food safety, product quality, customer service, innovation, and sustainability. The company’s full line of 30+ fresh vegetable commodities include their premium coveted green and purple artichokes, as well as their valued-added line and Season & Steam products. To learn more about Ocean Mist Farms, visit oceanmist.com or follow them on their socials on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
For Additional Information:
Lori Bigras, Communications Manager