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COMPANY PROFILES

Sunrays helps consumers ‘Snack with an Impact’
Sunrays Mandarin oranges are revolutionizing the produce industry by encouraging consumers to “snack with an impact.” For each bag of these sweet snacks packed, Sunrays makes a donation to Save the Children. Sunrays is part of Jac. Vandenberg Inc., a New York-based, fourth-generation, family-owned produce company. The idea behind launching a new brand of Mandarin oranges was to maintain the friendly, healthy element while going the extra mile and giving back to... Read more
Sixth generation stepping up at Smith’s Farm
With its sights set on expanding its offerings and increasing its foodservice business, the sixth generation of Smith’s Farm Inc. is assuming a larger leadership role at the company. Tara Smith Vighetti, along with sister Emily Smith and cousin Zach Smith, represent the broccoli and cauliflower grower’s sixth generation, which will be taking a more active role in running the company. Smith’s Farm executives (l-r) Greg Smith, Tara Smith Vighetti, Emily Smith, Lance... Read more
Peri & Sons touts uniqueness in onion deal
From its home base to its hand-harvesting methods to its proprietary variety, Peri & Sons Farms Inc. believes its point of differentiation is its uniqueness in the onion business. To start with, it is headquartered in Yerington, NV, not typically referred to as one of the onion capitals of the world, but a location that serves Peri & Sons well. The company’s roots in Nevada date back more than 100 years when Constantino Peri arrived in Nevada with his two... Read more
Fowler Farms continues developing top apples
The family-owned Fowler Farms, located in Wolcott, NY, continues to draw on the success of six generations of Fowlers, and its 20 varieties of apples are currently in 268 stores. “Fowler Farms continues to make strides with new equipment and continuous improvement of growing and packing practices turning out the finest quality apples while navigating an ever-changing consumer base,” said David Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Fowler Farms. “Business... Read more
Nash Produce looks to educate public about sweet potatoes
Millennials are demanding traceability in their foods and Nash Produce, located in Nashville, NC, has installed top equipment so if there’s a problem with any of its sweet potatoes, the company can take it down to the exact farm to find out what the problem was and what needs to be done to correct it. “People need to pay attention to their food and ask questions,” said Tami Long, director of marketing and business development for Nash Produce. That’s just one... Read more
Gem-Pack growing its year-round strawberry program
As a third-generation grower and shipper of Orange County Produce, based in Irvine, CA, Matt Kawamura has a pulse on the California strawberry market and the dynamics that are affecting the entire strawberry industry. The company recently found itself to be the last remaining shipper of California strawberries in Orange County because of land development and regulations. “A while back, we had the big idea to be the locally grown guy, which we tried to be, but... Read more
Two potato powerhouses join forces
Farm Fresh Direct in Monte Vista, CO, and Cal-Ore Produce in Tulelake, CA, have announced they are joining forces to continue to increase both their organic and conventional programs. Farm Fresh will act as the exclusive sales and marketing agent for Cal-Ore and will service the United States with cost-effective, one-stop shopping solutions.Dave Yeager “We have had a strong business relationship with Cal-Ore, but we’re formalizing that partnership with their joining... Read more
Farm Fresh Direct sees uptick in specialty demand
As Millennials continue to move the needle for organics and specialty items, Farm Fresh Direct of Monte Vista, CO, is going into 2018 with a bump in its PotatOH! line with organics now available. The popular Express Bake PotatOH! from Farm Fresh Direct is now available in organic. Dave Yeager, Farm Fresh Direct vice president of new business and sales, said the new product is in response to increased demand for certified convenience items. Dave Yeager, Farm Fresh... Read more
Heritage: One man’s misfortune results in a family legacy
On the Black Gold Farms website, there is a picture of founder A.E. (Hallie) Halverson standing in the middle of a seed potato field wearing a white shirt, tie and suit pants. He looks like a banker, not a farmer. For good reason — he was a banker. Halverson was a rarity when he graduated from business school in 1917 in North Dakota. He took a job as a bank teller in Forest River in the middle of the Red River Valley, which was not known as a potato- producing... Read more
Season steady for Monte Vista Potato Growers
Describing the 2017-18 shipping season as “so far so good,” Monte Vista Potato Growers General Manager Jason Tillman said in January he expects to clean up the current crop in July and start shipping new-crop spuds “around Labor Day.” Jason TillmanIn that respect, the year is going according to plan, he said. “Prices are holding steady, and business has been pretty steady across the board,” Tillman said. “We had a good Thanksgiving push and a pretty good Christmas... Read more
Keeping it Green  commitment continues  at Kurt Zuhlke & Associates
Care and concern for the environment, and all other issues related to sustainability, justify Kurt Zuhlke & Associates Inc.’s “Keeping it Green” motto. The company’s commitment to recycling, combined with its extensive PETE packaging line that is designed to protect produce while providing excellent visibility, make it a hard to top, leading designer and developer of produce packaging. Kurt Zuhlke, president of Kurt Zuhlke & Associates.Kurt Zuhlke Jr.,... Read more
Labor-solving inspiration is literally in the can
Looking for labor-solving inspiration for your fresh produce or floral company? Business futurist and technology trends spotter Patrick Schwerdtfeger said to look no further than the trash cans in his home town of Walnut Creek, CA. Schwerdtfeger is an entrepreneur turned analyst, speaker, YouTube blog host and founder of one of the nation's largest entrepreneur communities. He has been tapped to keynote two industry technology events in the months ahead. Produce... Read more
Kwik Lok’s genius  survives the test of time
Sometimes you can’t improve on perfection. There is not always a better mousetrap. That appears to be the case with the little plastic doohickey that is used every day in every corner of the world to close bags of fruit and loaves of bread. The Kwik Lok, as it is called, is the genius of Floyd Paxton, who invented it specifically for apple bags in 1952. At the time, polyethylene bags were being introduced as a packaging alternative to wooden crates. Paxton called... Read more
As Cool-Pak Solutions motors toward its fifth anniversary, the company can boast of some impressive statistics including moving about 200 million pounds of produce through its Southern California facility on an annual basis. The company, which opened its Carson, CA, facility near the joint ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in 2013, handled about 140,000 pallets of produce in 2017. About 98 percent of that was involved in international trade, either as an incoming... Read more
Thermal Tech to spotlight TarpLess Ripening Room System at Fruit Logistica
With thousands of installations across North America and around the world, the TarpLess Ripening Room from Thermal Technologies is the system of choice for many of the industry’s leading retailers, wholesalers and growers. This year, Thermal Tech will be spotlighting the benefits and features of this groundbreaking system at Fruit Logistica for the very first time. “We are very excited to be exhibiting in Berlin,” said company president Jim Lentz. “Global demand... Read more
Dearth of transportation  options a headache for  Associated Potato Growers
There is a lot more to the potato business than potatoes. Amid North Dakota’s winter freeze, the growing, packing and shipping of potatoes was going great for Associated Potato growers. It was getting spuds to customers that is plaguing Paul Dolan, manager of the Grand Forks firm. He said that this large challenge is widespread in the Red River Valley and around the nation. Paul Dolan As to shipping potato volume, “We are behind from where we’d like to be,” Dolan... Read more
Industry needs to collectively address truck shortage
The entire North American produce industry is suffering from a lack of truck transportation. In order to solve the problem, Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director for Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, based in East Grand Forks, MN, suggested that it would take a massive effort by the entire industry.  Ted Kreis “This is real,” Kreis said of the national problem. The national truck driver pool is retiring — or aging. It seems younger... Read more
Wilson Produce completes transition to organic production
Wilson Produce, a fourth-generation grower-packer-shipper of fresh fruits and vegetables from Mexico located in Nogales, AZ, successfully completed the required three-year transition to 100 percent USDA certified organic at its family-farm in Bamoa, Sinaloa, Mexico. Mini peppers with a companion crop. “We are ecstatic,” said Alicia Martin, co-chief executive officer of Wilson Produce. “The whole team from production to sales has come together to make this possible.” “This... Read more
Cultivares realizing growth by expanding offshore markets
Cultivares, a 40-year old family produce business, is expanding its markets offshore. Francisco Villegas, director, works from the firm’s Mazatlan sales office. In November, he entered a second two-year term as the president of EMEX, which is the association of packers of Mexican export mangos. Francisco Villegas, director of Cultivares, in his Mazatlan office. Twenty-five years ago, Villegas’ family began exporting mangos. Villages said Cultivares ships all major... Read more
Agricola Campaña moves forward without beloved Cesar Campaña
The first anniversary of the death of Cesar Campaña has now passed. Yet the presence of a man who left a highly positive influence on his company — Agricola Campaña — and in Mexico’s produce industry, is very much alive. Campaña’s brother, Francisco Campaña, carries on in the business. However, whenever he talks about the business there are frequent references to Cesar, whose photo hangs over the boardroom table. Francisco Campaña in the boardroom of Agricola Campaña... Read more