Graphic Jam Spreading the Word on Branding
Graphic Jam Spreading the Word on Branding is an E-Newsletter
written for Natural Products and other companies who want to know
how to make their brand matter more to the people they want to reach.
Snapshot: Global Organics

Doing Well by Doing Right.      

A Brand Takes a Stand.

The first time I picked blueberries, I was 10.  My family was renting a small cottage on South Harpswell Bay, Maine for the summer while my

Dad got continuing education credits at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. 

We were just 100 yards down a path through a thicket of wild blueberries from the "beach" (which had kelp and rocks where the sand should be). My brother, sister and I could play there every day -- after we picked a big bowl of blueberries.
 Beach in Maine

I'm amazed I still like to eat them at all, when virtually every meal that summer contained blueberries served any way my mother could think of. Certainly I thought, at least my picking days were over.
Haven at 1

Fast forward to 1996.  My daughter Haven was almost a year old, and I had decided to leave my great job as Retail Services Manager and store designer for Tree of Life so I could get off the road to help my wife Florey raise our family. For the past few years I'd been honing my design skills, so I decided it was time to start my own graphic design business.  I had no clients, but had made a lot of friends and contacts in the industry, helping retailers launch or remodel over 300 stores.


Who Knew?

Graphic Jam & Global

Organics are born

Mitch Blumenthal was my very first client.  We met when his son Sam and Haven were in preschool together, and our wives organized play dates.  Mitch & Colleen were restaurant owners then, but soon sold it to purchase a 10-acre property east of Sarasota.  It had a lake, a home site and 7,000 organic blueberry bushes.    

handful of blueberries

Already passionate about organics,

Mitch instantly became a farmer.  He ran the blueberry farm out of an old mobile home on the property and began buying and reselling a few other organically grown vegetables such as asparagus. 


He wanted to sell his blueberries   to Publix and other retailers.  And, he had the perfect brand name --  Blumenberry Farms -- but he didn't have a logo. Both of us were just starting out and I needed work to build my portfolio, so I agreed to design the logo & label for

all the blueberries I could pick.

Think that was cheap?

Not when you consider that Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University, designed the NIKE logo in 1971 for $35.  (NIKE is now worth more than $40 billion.)
Blumenberry Farms logo
The Blumenberry Farms logo, as part of my early logo collection won an ADDY award for self promotion, which helped open more doors to bigger and better design jobs.

So, how did Mitch do?

And it Grew and Grew and Grew.

The demand for the organic produce that Mitch had begun selling along
with his blueberries just exploded.  He kept adding cold storage where
he could find room on the property, but in just three months he outgrew it.

He went through four buildings in the next three years as the business of selling organics grew faster than the fruits and vegetables themselves.

In July 2002, he bought his current space near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.  Global Organics now has over half a million cubic feet of refrigerated storage in seven separate temperature-controlled zones. The state-of-the-art coolers feature high-efficiency lighting and an environmentally-friendly chill-water system, to reduce their footprint.        14 refrigerated tractor-trailers make deliveries to seven Southern states.
Mitch with turnips
Today, Global Organic Specialty Source supports over 160 farms in the US and twenty other countries - the largest locally-owned supplier of organic produce in the Southeast, with annual sales estimated at
$20-50 million.

How he did it.

Global Organics grows their produce and their company based on the key values Mitch developed that reflected his beliefs and continue to drive Global Organic Specialty Source today:

· Procure the highest-quality organic produce available, in order to make     it as accessible to as many people as possible.
· Work in support of small, sustainable farms and buy locally.
· Grow the company based on honesty, integrity, and hard work.

High standards.  Big heart.

His employees examine every single vegetable or piece of fruit, in every single box, for blemishes, pruning, wrinkling or anything else that would make his customers unhappy with the product.

Only the best is shipped to their restaurant and retail customers.
The rest is donated to All Faiths Food Bank, where Blumenthal has served as chairman - over 50 tons of food each year.


A culture of trust.

Mitch encourages his workers to eat and eat and eat, then bring some of the organic produce home and eat some more.

"We want the employees to eat whatever we sell and package, because we want to get as many people eating organics as possible," Mitch says. "Every morning sales comes through here. They eat. They taste for sweetness. We buy by taste."

Global Organics builds strong relationships with their customers and the local farmers - who especially like the fact that Mitch is a farmer himself.
Their appreciation is evident as you listen to them tell the Global Organics story in this video from the website:
Global Organics video

Back at the farm . . .

It wasn't long before Mitch began to explore heirloom row crops,
blackberries, and other unusual items. Soon, the ten acres of blueberries had evolved into ten acres of diverse, beautiful crops.  Recent harvests have included okra, snow peas, bull's blood beets, baby corn, popcorn, persimmons, herbs, and sugarcane.
Blumenberry Farms Fields

Prized by chefs for the impeccable quality, color, freshness and taste of
the Blumenberry Farms offerings, they are often listed on the menu at the world-class Vernona Restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota:
Vernona at Ritz-Carlton
Third Course
Olive Oil Poached Beef, Blumenberry Farms root vegetables, truffled pomme puree, sauce béarnaise

Branding 2.011

Your brand is your reputation -- how you are known by your customers, suppliers, and everyone you come in contact with.  Today, how you conduct your business can be as important as the quality of the products and services you sell.  Their is no better way to build a loyal following than being proactive and taking a leadership role to do right by your customers and suppliers.

From the beginning -- take a stand and live by it.

Mitch's rise from a by-chance organic blueberry farmer to a multimillion-dollar business owner in less than a decade can be traced to his
passion for organics and the passion he looks for and instills in his employees.


It's your business, make it personal.  

He's proud to be an organic farmer, and his mission is to make organic produce available to everyone he can reach.

Empower. Encourage.  If they buy in, they'll sell more. 

He empowers his employees to inspect every piece of produce and ship only the best to their customers. He encourages them to eat the produce they sell.


Leadership & support yields cooperation & loyalty.

Global Organics supports a number of small farms, acting as their Growers Agent, to insure that they are able to successfully sell the yield from their fields when it is fresh and at its best.

Educate. Smarter customers are better customers.  

They educate their retail customers on the best ways to display their products to maximize sales, share tips on how to best maintain freshness and quality, as well as general information about how to reduce shrink and encourage customers to try new kinds of produce. 

I make it my business to help people find the story in their brand, then design it into their products and services, to make it matter more to the people they want to reach.  Mitch already knew his, and built his business around it. 


This didn't start out to be an email just about Global Organics.  But the more I dug into it, the more I had to tell it. The story is that good.


Only one thing left to say: Eat organic. You'll thank Mitch for it.


The End



Graphic Jam helps Natural Products and other companies find the story in their brand, then design it into their products and services so they can matter more to the people they want to reach.

For help finding the story in your brand,
Call me: 941 | 752-3121
Email me:
Visit our website:

Graphic Jam provides a wide range of creative services:
Brand Development  |  Identity  |  Logo Design  |  Name Generation      Package & Label Design  |  Brochures  |  Stationery                       Creative Advertising  |  Postcards  |  Invitations  |  Mailers    
Publication Design  |  Cover Design  |  Exhibits  |  POP  |  Posters        Trade Show & Event Marketing  |  Art & Creative Direction                   Custom Typography  |  Photo Enhancement

I'll talk to you next month with more on branding and natural products.

TJ signature
TJ Miller
Graphic Jam
(941) 752-3121
Graphic Jam Website
From the Source's Mouth:
Vermont Asks: "Where's the Maple?"
They Wrote the Book:

Quick Links

Graphic Jam


BranditBrand It.

And they will come. 

Brand it logo

What makes your business special?

Why should I shop at your store, buy your products instead of your competitors?

You know the reasons, but do your customers?


You might not realize it, but if you're in business, you have a brand.

More importantly that brand, your brand, has a value and that value can

be more than all of your other assets combined.


Join TJ Miller, natural products brand specialist and Creative Director of Graphic Jam,

and Debby Swoboda, industry marketing expert ( as we explore:


What is a brand? (hint: it's not your logo or name)


Find the story in your brand: "then spend as much time as you can living it

and telling other people about it."


Building a charismatic brand: you don't have to be cheap if you're good.


Private Label: building loyalty and profits at the same time.


Claiming Local: finding the niches that separate you from the chains & supermarkets.


Taking your brand online: staying relevant in a connected world.

Download the Presentation Slides from TJ and Debby Swoboda's recent seminar: "Brand It. And they will come" on Friday, Dec 3rd, 2010 at the Southeast Natural Products Association's SOHO EXPO.


From the Source's Mouth:

"My vision for 15 years

from now?

I guess it  would be that

conventional farmers have  to explain why

they use chemicals

instead of organic farmers having to

explain why they don't."

-- Mitch Blumenthal

Founder & Owner

Global Organic

Specialty Source Inc.


Vermont Asks: "Where's   the Maple?"
McDonald's has seen its share of controversy lately, mostly focused on its marketing of not-so-healthy-meals to kids to kids. The city of San Francisco even banned its Happy Meals....
McDonalds Fruit and Maple
Now another local US government is getting in on the action, but this time it's over the brand's new healthy breakfast item: its new Fruit & Maple Oatmeal.            The problem?         It seems the oatmeal, featured    on McDonald's  homepage, doesn't actually have any real maple in it - and Vermont is serious (downright sappy, you might say) about its maple.

Introduced last month, McDonald's doesn't even mention maple as an ingredient.......
Click Here
to read more about Vermont vs. McDonald's Fruit & Maple.

They Wrote the Book:
What Consumers Really Want:
by James H. Gilmore and           B. Joseph Pine II

Authenticity Book Cover
"Futurist Rolf Jensen notes that eggs from free-range chickens have conquered over 50% of the market in his native Denmark because consumers do not want hens to live their lives in small, confining cages; they want hens to have access to earth and sky.  Consumers are happy to pay an additional 15 to 20% for the story behind the egg.  What we consume says who we are, not just to others, but to ourselves. We are what we eat and drink."

"As reality is qualified, altered &  commercialized, consumers respond to what is engaging, personal, memorable -- and above all, authentic. By defining how you can appeal to this emerging consumer mind-set, Authenticity provides the key to identifying your business with consumer perceptions of what's personal, valuable -- and real."