Florida is the dominant domestic supplier of winter strawberries, which are harvested between Thanksgiving and mid-March, and are shipped to locations east of the Mississippi and along the entire East Coast. This market is ideally suited to the Smokey Bones brand, which includes 65 locations in 17 states, most of which are in the same geographic area targeted by Florida winter strawberries.
Smokey Bones' vice president of culinary Jason R. Gronlund, also a founding member of the FSGA Chefs Advisory Board, wanted to further promote Florida-grown strawberries, and suggested the restaurant could boost the berries’ brand exposure through menu items featuring the red, juicy fruit.
Gronlund created a limited-time dessert offering – Florida Strawberries & Cream Cake, which will be available Feb. 10. The restaurant also developed a new strawberry cocktail – Strawberry Blonde – and will offer a strawberry-flavored ale from its bar selections, which will be available starting Jan. 13.
“We are excited to be able to spotlight our winter berries through a popular restaurant brand that is synonymous with great food, drinks and fun. We know our collaboration with Smokey Bones will encourage consumers to purchase and consume more Florida strawberries all winter long,” said Sue Harrell, director of marketing for FSGA.
“Teaming with the people who grow Florida’s winter strawberry crop complements Smokey Bones’ culture of developing menu choices featuring the best quality food, including the freshest produce possible,” added Tiffany Walker, director of marketing for Smokey Bones.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is supporting the “Bones ‘n’ Berries” promotion by lending its "Fresh from Florida" logo, which was created to promote the state's fresh agricultural products. The logo will be placed on collateral material to identify the special menu items.
Local growers and members of the FSGA produce about 15 percent of the nation’s strawberries and most of the domestically grown berries harvested during the winter. The commodity has an economic impact on the local community exceeding $700 million. Hillsborough County, Fla., is known as the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. For more information about FSGA, visit www.flastrawberry.com.
Smokey Bones is a full-service bar and fire-grill restaurant brand based in Orlando, Fla. It is owned by an affiliate of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sun Capital Partners whose portfolio of restaurants also includes Boston Market, Friendly’s, Sweet Tomatoes, Fazoli’s, Bar Louie, and other restaurant brands. For more information on Smokey Bones, visit www.SmokeyBones.com.