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COMPANY PROFILES

Wada Farms introduces two new potato products
Wada Farms Potatoes Inc. in Pingree, ID, whose potatoes are marketed by Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, ID, has for several years been putting a lot of emphasis on developing innovative potato products, with regard both to potato varieties and value-added packaging. Among the value-added products are the “Easy-Baker” with individual potatoes sealed in a microwave-ready plastic wrap, and the “Microwave in Bag” line with russet, red or yellow potatoes... Read more
Eric Nagelberg of Panorama Produce in Mamaroneck, NY, said the firm’s mango business continues to grow steadily. “Each year we grow, which is a great because it is a very important crop for us,” said Nagelberg, a son of one of Panorama Produce’s founders. Jeff (Eric’s dad) and Rick Nagelberg started Panorama Produce more than 30 years ago. Mangos have grown into one of the firm’s top items. Initially, the company brokered mangos 12 years ago, but now Panorama... Read more
Gourmet’s Finest, which has a strong reputation working with customers in the foodservice sector, is making its entrée into the retail market and plans to roll out new, unique mushroom packaging in September. “We are now entering into the retail sector with a totally unique package and mushroom type,” Vice President of Marketing David Ranscht told The Produce News. “Our new closable, 100 percent recyclable, Heirloom Taste mushrooms are going to be introduced at... Read more
“Our specialty product line includes fresh and peeled shallots, pearl, cipolline and boiler onions, and we pack for both the retail and foodservice sectors,” said Patsy Ross, vice president of marketing for Christopher Ranch headquartered in Gilroy, CA. “And we carry a full line of retail dried chiles as well as a line of sun dried tomatoes. We also grow, pack and sell elephant garlic. Christopher Ranch grows shallots, garlic and elephant garlic and it works with... Read more
As Central American Produce Inc. shifts from its Mexican mango deal to the Ecuadorian deal, it is also continuing its label shift to the more descriptive “CAPCO” brand. Sabine Henry, who is involved in tropical sales for the Pompano Beach, FL-based firm, said it began the shift from the “Mayan Pride” label to “CAPCO” to better identify the company name. CAPCO is an acronym for Central American Produce Co. and can represent all of the firm’s mangos, which it will... Read more
FOREST PARK, GA — Off I -75 highway in Forest Park, GA, is a unique stop: the Atlanta State Farmers Market. Bring your walking shoes as it covers 150 acres and is considered one of the largest of its kind in the world. It features a garden center, wholesale and retail activities, and is a major marketing hub and distribution point for fresh produce in the Southeast and throughout the country. The Atlanta Market never closes. “It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days... Read more
Baldor D.C. off to a strong start and expanding rapidly
Baldor Specialty Foods, headquartered in the Bronx, NY, officially opened its Jessup, MD, distribution facility in February of this year. Bill Hodge, general manager of the facility, told The Produce News that business has been very positive since its start. “We are enjoying a tremendous amount of growth, our product mix is strong and we have the ability to hold inventory,” said Hodge. “Our customers are being satisfied in a timely fashion.” Bill HodgeIn the... Read more
Murakami continues hand-sorting tradition for assured quality
Although technology continues to usher in new automation to the onion industry with rapid-fire regularity, some aspects of customer service are literally best left in the hands of the shippers, according to Grant Kitamura, general manager of Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR. “Our harvest is now primarily automated, but we still hand sort,” Kitamura said in early September. “Nothing beats the human eye in determining size, shape and color of onions. Auto sorting... Read more
Local produce demand is the strength of the fresh cranberry marketing program of Mike Pirrone Produce. The firm, which is based in Capac, MI, sells cranberries to Great Lakes states, noted Joe Pirrone, a salesman for the firm. Pirrone’s cranberry brands are “Michigan Cranberry” and “Great Lakes Cranberry.” “The big thing we are doing is selling local cranberries,” said Pirrone. “Everyone thought cranberries were only sold by big marketers. Now at Thanksgiving time... Read more
Western Fresh waits for ‘proper sugars’ to ensure great-tasting kiwifruit
As with many commodities, the California kiwifruit season is running early this year. But Chris Kragie, deciduous fruit manager at Western Fresh Marketing in Madera, CA, is of the opinion that some shippers are pushing to get the fruit off the vines and in the market before it is really ready. “We are still running Chilean product” and will continue to do so through the month of September, Kragie told The Produce News Sept. 3. “We will start packing California... Read more
Atlanta’s Nickey Gregory Co. heading into SEPC Fall Conference with momentum
More is changing at Atlanta’s Nickey Gregory Co. than the season. Heading into the Southeast Produce Council Fall Conference Sept. 25-28, the company is leveraging a decade of continuous growth for a next-level leap in the region’s produce industry. “Nickey has done extraordinary things in the last decade to build this company and position it for next-level greatness,” said Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Andrew Scott, who recently joined the... Read more
Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo in the process of completing major renovation of L.A. facility
“We will soon be completing a major renovation of our Los Angeles distribution and repacking warehouse to provide better customer service, cold chain management and space utilization,” said Scott Albertson, senior director of sales and marketing for Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo, headquartered in Pescadero, CA. Jacobs Farm was a successful organic farming operation in 1985, when longtime organic farmers and owners of the company, Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin, were confident... Read more
Demand continues on an upward climb  for organics from Phillips Mushroom Farms
Kevin Donovan, national sales manager for Phillips Mushroom Farms in Kennett Square, PA, told The Produce News that the company’s organic line of mushrooms is really gaining ground in demand and that customers are looking for more organic products on retail shelves at their grocery stores. “Consumers are really helping to push this growth,” said Donovan. “In years past — since organics really became better known — retailers felt that the category had to have a... Read more
Wholesum Family Farms Fair Trade products enjoying strong demand
Fair Trade-certified products have become a very positive “hot issue” for Wholesum Family Farms, according to Anthony Totta, a consultant for the firm. “The retailers interested in product like this are accelerating,” he said. “This is very good for us, our farm workers and our customers who are offering this to consumers.” Wholesum Family Farms, which is owned by the Crisantes family, has for many years carried an interest in the environment and its workers.... Read more
“Today, as Village Farms celebrates 25 years in business, it makes us very proud to have built a foundation that will enable future generations to benefit from high-quality, sustainable, safe and fresh premium quality hydroponic vegetables,” Michael DeGiglio, president and chief executive officer of Village Farms LLC, , told The Produce News. Despite having hurdled a major crisis in recent years, the Heathrow, FL-based company’s foundation remains solid. On May... Read more
Val Verde Vegetable Co. Inc., a McAllen, TX-based grower-shipper operation founded more than 25 years ago on land farmed by the Schuster family for 80 years, has returned to an all-Schuster management team. Frank Schuster Sr. came to the Rio Grande Valley from his native Austria in 1935 and quickly developed a prosperous farming and ranching operation as well as becoming a leader in the Texas produce industry. His son, Frank Schuster Jr., took over the company... Read more
Abasto Properties LLC, a sister company of Abasto Corp., which has built and operates five wholesale markets in Mexico and South Texas, broke ground Dec. 31, 2013, on the San Antonio Wholesale Produce Market, and expects phase one to open in the spring of 2015. Fernando Narvaez, director of business development and sales for the company, told The Produce News on Aug. 27 that construction is on schedule and barring any unforeseen circumstances, the new market will... Read more
They do one thing and they do it well. That is the mantra preached by Mike Davis, who is co-owner of Tex-Mex Sales LLC, in Weslaco, TX, with his dad, Marvin Davis. “We have onions from January through August,” said the younger Davis. During that time period the company grows its own onions in Mexico, Texas and New Mexico. “We do source some onions in the fall (from August through December) for several of our customers, but they are not our own.” Davis said the... Read more
It is no secret that the Texas citrus industry has been shrinking over the past couple of decades as decreased acreage and consolidation has led to a smaller industry with fewer players. Lone Star Citrus Growers, headquartered in Mission, TX, is on a trajectory headed in the opposite direction. Vice President of Sales Trent Bishop, one of the founders of the firm in 2007, said that when the company opened its doors it was the first new shipper built from the ground... Read more
Even though the produce office of United Supermarkets is almost 800 miles away from the grapefruit groves of South Texas, the citrus is still a local buy for shoppers, and they love it. Darvel Kirby, director of produce for United Supermarkets, which has 65 stores under five banners, said Texans are very proud of their state and very loyal to the products grown or made there. “For us ‘locally grown’ is anything that comes from Texas and our customers love it,”... Read more