Over the last several years, two of Prime Time International’s founding partners have been turning the reins over to new managing partners Mike Way and Jeff Taylor. “It has been a very gradual transition as Jeff and Mike take on more responsibilities and assume day to day responsibilities, and Carl Sam Maggio and Mark Nickerson take a step back a bit,” said Mike Aiton, longtime director of marketing for the Coachella, CA-based firm. He noted... Read more
Weis-Buy Inc. remains strong in Florida
Chuck Weisinger, president of Weis-Buy Farms Inc. in Fort Meyers, FL, has been in and around produce for the last 54 years and has been involved both nationally with the United Fruit & Vegetable Association and with the Produce Marketing Association, as well as peripherally with the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s tomato committee. One thing his experience has taught him: You never know what to truly expect from a season because weather changes... Read more
Calling it the “latest start in many years,” Robin Froerer with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, told The Produce News asparagus harvest started on April 14. “It was light cuttings even then,” she said. Owyhee has 120 acres of asparagus for 2017, and Froerer said the late start could mean a longer season. “We usually run until the third week of June, but we are hoping we can go a little later this year.” The company ships about... Read more
Short Easter watermelon supplies marked this season
For the second consecutive April in the Mexican watermelon business it was a good time to be neither optimistic nor aggressive. Watermelon salesman James Neal of Epic Produce Sales LLC said last year he believed predictions of abundant watermelon supplies for early April. He joined the parade in creating promotions to move a mountain of melons. The mountain proved to be a molehill and Neal learned to temper his future enthusiasm. So, despite Mexican grower expectations... Read more
Grapeman Farms continues with new varieties of grapes
Grapeman Farms, which previously was Stevco Inc., in Los Angeles, is looking forward to a better season for Sonoran spring grapes this year, according to Jared Lane, vice president of marketing for the company. “We’ve been in the marketing of Mexican table grapes for 18 seasons now and we’ve seen it grow to where it is today,” Lane said. “It seems like the industry has revolutionized newer varieties four years ago when the industry... Read more
Divine Flavor’s Bon declares ‘greatest production year, ever’
“A lot of people are talking about 20 million boxes” of Sonoran fresh table grapes being shipped this spring, Carlos Bon said of the upcoming grape deal. “We’ve been on the threshold of getting there lately. This year we have the potential to surpass there.”   “This looks like a very large crop. It looks like a huge crop,” said Bon, the fruit category manager of Divine Flavor LLC, which is among Mexico’s... Read more
Giumarra Cos. excited for Sonoran spring grape deal
The Sonoran spring grape deal is hugely important to the Los Angeles-based Giumarra Cos.’ annual grape program, as it represents a high volume of product in a relatively short time frame. “During peak season, dozens of loads of grapes from Mexico are crossing the border each day,” said Megan Schulz, marketing and communications manager for Giumarra. “The spring timing is good for generating excitement around the grape category with consumers.... Read more
Triple H enters lime and grape sectors
Limes and table grapes are part of an expanding product line for Triple H Produce LLC. In an April 3 telephone interview, Octavio Garcia, the firm’s new retail and food service sales manager, said that this is the first month for the firm to ship limes. “Our grape partners from Sonora are producing around 3 million packages of grapes annually.” This spring Triple H will be handling a portion of that total volume. “Our partners grow in the... Read more
WestRock on the importance of corrugated packaging
Corrugated packaging provides real contributions to addressing some of the most pressing produce concerns facing growers today — food safety, product protection and longevity, speed of product to shelf and meeting customer needs — which is why WestRock, based in Norcross, GA, is helping produce companies find winning solutions for their goods. “Choosing the right packaging solutions is paramount to finding success in all these areas of concern,... Read more
Top Brass Produce continues to grow
Following a year where Top Brass kicked off its organic program with Sugraone, Thompson, Scarlet Royal, and Flame organic grapes, the Bakersfield, CA-based company continues to invest in acreage for its fruits and vegetables as the business continues to grow.   “We have also made very good strides with our sustainability efforts and our objective to be good stewards of the land we farm here in California,” said Brett Dixon, president of Top Brass.... Read more
Vision Import Group has solid foot in Texas and at Viva Fresh
With south Texas as its main port of entry, The Vision Cos. considers the Viva Fresh Produce Expo an imperative event for it as well as for its supplier and customer partners This year, the expo, hosted by the Texas International Produce Association and subtitled Gateway to the Americas, will be held on April 20-22, at the Hilton Austin & Convention Center in Austin, TX. Allan Napolitano, sales and partneship development director for Vision Import GroupThe... Read more
Westmoreland Sales-TopLine Farms to have strong presence at CPMA Convention
Leamington, Ontario-based Westmoreland Sales-TopLine Farms will once again have a strong presence at the 92nd Annual 2017 Canadian Produce Marketing Convention & Tradeshow on May 9-11 in Toronto, Ontario. The company will have its wide selection of high-quality greenhouse produce on display at Booth No. 1309. “Westmoreland Sales’ representation at the show will be Dino DiLaudo, Max Mastronardi, Lisa Sirizzotti, Tony Cappelli and myself,”... Read more
Duda showcasing popular fresh-cut items and more at Viva Fresh
Oviedo, FL-based Duda Farm Fresh Foods finds value in all of the trade shows in which it participates. Regional Sales Manager Bob Sloate said the company is always dedicated to meeting new customers and introducing new items and packaging to current customers. Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ hospitality extends to visitors alike at the Viva Fresh Produce Expo-Gateway to the Americas, being held on April 20-22, at the Hilton Austin & Convention Center in Austin,... Read more
Giorgio Fresh placing emphasis on specialty and organic mushroom lines
According to Temple, PA- based Giorgio Fresh, specialty mushrooms are gaining more traction nationally. Senior Business Analyst Mark Hartwell said the reasons are the greater awareness of the range of specialty mushroom products, and they have enormous health benefits with unique taste profiles. “Giorgio Fresh offers the full gamut of specialty mushrooms, including whole and sliced Shiitake, Oyster, Royal Trumpet, Maitake, Beech, Pom Pom, Enoki and other... Read more
Baldor Specialty Foods always growing, evolving and experimenting
hunts point, bronx, NY — Baldor Specialty Foods New York, located at Hunts Point in the Bronx, NY, is always growing, evolving, multiplying, experimenting and planning for the future. Today, the company is well into the construction of its new facility addition which will add 100,000 square feet, for a total of 270,000 square feet of refrigerated space. Phase 1 will be completed in the near future. “We will then move the existing warehouse to the completed... Read more
Ratto Bros: Diversification gives relevance for a century
In 1889, Antone L. Ratto, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began farming at the tender age of 16 on Bay Farm Island near Oakland. His grandson, Frank Ratto, who is in charge of sales and marketing for Ratto Bros., the firm that grew out of that operation, said, “Antone was a heck of a salesman. He would take his horse and wagon and go from Italian farm to Italian farm picking up product and then selling it. At... Read more
M&R Co. happy to see a ‘normal’ cherry crop
Bruce Hinchman, sales manager for M&R Co., headquartered in Lodi, CA, is seeing a “normal” cherry crop for 2017 — and in his mind, “normal” is just great. “This is the first time in four or five years where it’s been normal,” he said. “We had good bloom weather and enough rain during the off season, and cherries are coming out of their pollination stage looking like there’s a good crop. Some areas... Read more
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. was honored with a Fruits & Veggies–More Matters Industry Role Model Award at the Produce for Better Health’s 2017 Annual Conference: The Consumer Connection held last week. This represents the third consecutive year of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters recognition, with OSF’s designation as an Industry Champion in each of the previous two years.   “Okanagan Specialty Fruits is proud to be a... Read more
Eagle Packaging Machinery creates new XL tray forming solution
Miami-based Eagle Packaging Machinery has recently introduced the Vassoyo Air XL for forming extra-large produce trays (up to 60x60 inches) with or without a lid. The robust tray former boasts unparalleled simplicity and uses a Nordson glue system to efficiently erect die-cut trays. The new Vassoyo Air XL includes features like a pre-load station to stage up to 36 inches of corrugate, a powered mechanical lift to index tray blanks one at a time, and a vacuum blank... Read more
Tropicals key to Unity Groves
As a family owned grower, packer and shipping operation doing business out of Homestead, FL, tropicals is of utmost importance to Unity Groves, with its produce offerings representing the bulk of its business. “It’s our main product. Something about us is that we’re really focused on growing in Florida, with very little imports,” said Louie Carricarte, president and owner of the company. “Our goal at Unity is to provide top-quality... Read more