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Sun Date sees strong demand continuing
DJ Ryan, sales manager for SunDate LLC in Coachella, CA, said the renaissance for dates continues with increasing supplies met by increasing demand. As the industry moves into the fall holiday period, he expects both promotions and sales to increase from what has already been a strong start to the season. The California date crop is divided among two main varieties of dates — the newer Medjools and the more standard Deglet Noors. SunDate sells both. “We... Read more
Hadley Date Gardens Inc. in Thermal, CA, sells a wide assortment of date packs and both of the major varieties of the fruit, but Vice President of Operations Sean Dougherty marvels at the sales he gets with the firm’s two-pound value pack. “IRi [scan] data consistently ranks this pack in the top 10 of dried fruit sales,” he said, noting that many of the other products it is competing against are much larger firms. “Little Hadley Date Garden... Read more
Herndon shipping SuperFit Greens as sweet potato and Peruvian onion seasons roll
L.G. Herndon Jr. Farms Inc. had a banner Vidalia onion season and is in the midst of its annual sweet potato and Peruvian sweet onion programs, but as if things weren’t busy enough at the Lyons, GA, operation, it recently introduced a line of packaged greens to the marketplace as well. While Herndon has long been a well-known grower of Vidalia and Peruvian sweets, sweet corn, sweet potatoes and bunch leafy greens, now its new SuperFit Greens line offers retail-ready... Read more
International Citrus & Produce offers stability to customers
J.B. Cutsinger has seen a lot of changes in his 40 years of selling citrus from Texas and other regions of the country and the world. But even as things change, he and his firm, International Citrus & Produce in Burlingame, CA, offer stability to their customers, most of whom are located in Northern California. Cutsinger, who is the founder and president of ICP, got his start with C.H. Robinson in that company’s Los Angeles office in 1976. A year later,... Read more
History and heritage star at G&R Farms, Vidalia growers for seven decades
Walt and Robert Dasher of G&R Farms have been growing Vidalia onions their entire lives, more than 50 years, following a family tradition that stretches back seven decades in Glennville, GA. The late Walter R. Dasher founded the family farm in Tattnall County, GA, in 1945. From modest beginnings, today the operation his sons and their sons have built includes nearly 5,000 total acres of southeast Georgia farmland producing a variety of crops. G&R Farms... Read more
Uesugi Farms expands retail line with value-added mini sweet peppers
Uesugi Farms, based in Gilroy, CA, is adding a third value-added product, mini sweet peppers, to its retail line. The product will be marketed in convenient one-pound bags. After noticing growing interest in mini sweet peppers, plus strong demand from customers, Uesugi Farms decided to add another pepper variety to its mix. Production of mini sweet peppers started in Mexico a little less than a year ago and is currently happening in Gilroy, CA. “We realized... Read more
MAS anticipating plenty of high-quality Mexican product this season
As weather conditions have allowed for promising production volumes and quality, MAS Melons & Grapes, based in Rio Rico, AZ, is back with a fairly good supply of premium quality honeydew melons from Caborca, Sonora, for its diverse portfolio of customers in the United States, Europe, Oceania and Asia. Peak production was expected by the middle of October, with availability extending to the end of November. Around Nov. 20, supply will come from Hermosillo, Sonora,... Read more
Giant Food Stores and Martin's Food Markets’ customers donated $588,075 during the annual Bag Hunger campaign, held during September in all stores, to support local and regional food banks in four states. This is the second Bag Hunger campaign Giant/Martin's conducted for hunger relief efforts this year. “Giant/Martin's remains committed to the fight against hunger by supporting our local food banks and pantries in their ongoing mission to help feed... Read more
Noting the Aug. 8 season start for shipping new-crop onions was “about normal for us,” Murakami Produce President Grant Kitamura said on Sept. 6 the Ontario, OR, operation was shipping all colors and sizes, although mediums were tight. “The early crop was very large,” Kitamura said. “In fact, we’re having trouble getting mediums. The storage crop has average yields, but it also has very big profiles.” Kitamura said rain... Read more
Bland Farms Vidalia Brands sweet potato deal matures
Bland Farms LLC of Glennville, GA is known far and wide for its sweet onions — especially its annual abundant Vidalia crop — but over the last two years, Bland has sweetened the deal even further with the addition of another traditional Georgia staple, sweet potatoes. “We started digging sweet potatoes in Georgia in mid-August and they’re turning out real good,” said president and owner Delbert Bland. “We started in Florida before... Read more
Black Gold reinforces roasting red potatoes
“Don’t just bake a potato, roast red potatoes.” This is the fall merchandising theme of a “mini-campaign” presented by Black Gold Farms. Leah Brakke, director of marketing, said that roasting is the most common use of red potatoes and the company wants to accentuate that. “We think red potatoes are more interesting than the typical baked potato,” Brakke said. “Shoppers are in a rut” and this promotion can bring... Read more
2016 creates record challenges  for NoKota leader and his industry
“In my 37 years in this business, I have never been so up in the air about tonnage and quality,” said Red River Valley potato shipper Steve Tweten. “We could have a 30-40 percent loss in some areas in the Red River Valley. And there are individual operations that could have up to 50 percent loss.” Steve Tweten and Mike Rerick, with Dan Chin and Ken Rutledge from Wong Potatoes.He hastened to add: “But, I don’t know! No one can... Read more
Dolan hopeful that drier fields will bring good news
“We are wet. Extremely wet. No one is harvesting,” Paul Dolan indicated on Sept. 9. “We were in good shape in the south” end of the Red River Valley, said Dolan, who manages Associated Potato Growers Inc., which is located in Grand Forks, ND. It was potato growers in the north end of the valley that had suffered very significant rain damage through the summer. “The Grafton area lost a substantial acreage. Thirty or 40 percent of the... Read more
Fort Boise moves into storage onions early October
As of mid-September Fort Boise Produce, located between Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, on the Idaho side of the Snake River, was shipping fresh onions from its 2016 harvest, and Sales Agent Ryan Stewart said storage onions were just a week or two away. Stewart, who is part of the fourth generation of Fort Boise’s founding Farmer family, said yields from the new season were “looking good so far.” Ryan Stewart, part of the sales staff at Fort Boise... Read more
Four Rivers Packing Co. has ‘plenty of colors  and large jumbos’
This year’s onion crop for Four Rivers Packing Co. in Weiser, ID, was described by Ken Stewart, sales/operation manager, as one of “really good quality” with “plenty of colossals and large jumbos.” Along with company President Sean Swanson, Stewart expressed optimism that the season will be a good one. Management at Four Rivers Onion Packing In Weiser, ID: Jan Stewart, Brian Bachelder, Sean Swanson and Ken Stewart. Tracy Fowler is... Read more
The economic power of produce in NYC
D’Arrigo Bros. has just enlisted as a member of the Association for a Better New York, a coalition of corporations and institutions whose common goal is strengthening the city’s economic fabric and quality of life. For generations, the nearly exclusive focus of D’Arrigo Bros. has been to efficiently serve hundreds of clients with a daily supply of fresh produce.Gabriela D'Arrigo Playing a significant role at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in... Read more
Baker Packing: ‘So far, so good’ with 2016 crop
Early September saw Ontario, OR-based Baker Packing running field onions in advance of the storage crop that company President Steve Baker said would start mid-month, and Baker noted, “So far, so good. The onions we’ve been running look very nice, and we expect that quality to continue.” Sizes were, as with virtually all Treasure Valley shippers, heavy to jumbos, colossals and super colossals in September. Steve BakerBaker said the Aug. 8 start,... Read more
Shasta Produce leading the San Francisco Bay area market in wholesale produce distribution
Founded in 1986, Shasta Produce has grown to become one of the largest wholesale distributors of fruits and vegetables in the San Francisco Bay area. Founded as Andrighetto Produce Inc., the family-owned-and-operated company is run by Chief Executive Officer David Andrighetto, who, along with his two brothers and sister, got his start selling citrus out of two vacant produce bays in the city’s Golden Gate Produce Market. As a member of California Certified... Read more
Recchiuti says the mighty mushroom now an American staple
It would be virtually impossible to find anyone associated with the mushroom industry who isn’t praising the great work of the Mushroom Council in its efforts to increase consumer consumption at both the retail and foodservice levels. Fred Recchiuti, general manager of Basciani Mushroom Farms in Avondale, PA, said with all of the media buzz and the Mushroom Council’s excellent campaigns touting all of the health benefits, the mighty mushroom has graduated... Read more
Oakes Farms’ new facility ups its cold storage space by 52 loads
Things continue to move quickly at Immokalee, FL-based Oakes Farms. On Sept. 13, Steve Veneziano, vice president of sales and operations, told The Produce News the company had just taken occupancy of its new cold-storage facility in Immokalee. “The facility is located at the Immokalee State Farmers Market,” said Veneziano. “The building was previously owned by another company, and we acquired it on September 1.”Oakes Farms’ new facility... Read more