Nov 21, 2023
Boutonnet Farms and Ocean Mist CEO dies
Ed Boutonnet, the former president and chief executive officer of Ocean Mist Farms, has died.
The company, which grows and ships conventional and organic artichokes and other vegetables from Castroville, California, characterized Boutonnet as a “visionary and industry titan,” according to a news release.
“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,” company officials said in the release.
In 1990, Boutonnet was named Ocean Mist president and CEO and began developing the company into one of the largest grower/shippers of artichokes in North America. Under Boutonnet’s leadership, Ocean Mist expanded its acreage, facilities and product offerings. “Ed’s unwavering commitment and focus lead sales to grow exponentially during his tenure,” Ocean Mist said in the release.
“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,” according to the release. “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.”
In 1966, Ed Boutonnet began working with his father George at Boutonnet Farms which began growing potatoes and rhubarb in 1939. Troy Boutonnet, Ocean Mist grower/owner, is Ed’s son. Rosa Boutonnet, Ed’s wife, is an Ocean Mist accounting manager.
The Boutonnet family first began consolidating acreage in 1970 with Hugo Tottino, one of Ocean Mist’s original founding family members. The Boutonnets remain actively involved as valued grower/owners of Ocean Mist, according to the release.
In 1972, the Boutonnet family joined Ocean Mist affiliate Sea Mist Farms to bring artichokes – and eventually mixed vegetables – into the company, helping to bolster and diversify Ocean Mist’s product line.
In 1982, the Boutonnet family became partners in the California Artichoke and Vegetable Growers Corporation, Ocean Mist’s 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.
Chris Drew, Ocean Mist’s president and CEO, remembers Ed Boutonnet with great respect and reverence and a deep sense of appreciation for his mentorship and guidance when Drew first joined Sea Mist Farms in 2004.
Drew reflected on Boutonnet’s early words of wisdom he shared with him, which Drew noted Boutonnet also regularly emulated in his relentless pursuit of excellence.
“There is no such thing as luck,” according to the release. “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.”
Over the years, Boutonnet served on multiple regional boards, sharing his time, passion, insights and expertise to support and further community causes, according to the release. He received awards, honors, accolades and recognition for his many contributions to, and accomplishments in, the agriculture industry, according to the release.
“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,” according to the release. “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.”
Ocean Mist grows a full line of vegetables year-round in California, Arizona and Mexico.