Fall demand strong for O.C. Schulz
Demand for red potatoes this fall was almost exceeding supply for O.C. Schulz & Sons Inc., according to Andy Moquist, a salesman for the Crystal, ND-based firm. David and Andrew Moquist of O.C. Schulz & Sons Inc. in Crystal, ND.“Pricing could be better for the farming side,” Moquist added. “Prices are low, which is good for promotion, but it’s not a lot of money.” Consistent with other sources in the Red River Valley, O.C. Schulz is experiencing a high... Read more
Village Farms’ full line of greenhouse produce on display
Creativity beyond some imaginations seems to pour naturally out of Heathrow, FL-based Village Farms, a leading hydroponic producer with greenhouses located in the United States and Canada. Helen L. Aquino, director of brand marketing and communications for Village Farms, said the company is again looking forward to exhibiting at the New York Produce Show and Conference on Dec. 1-3 at booth No. 646. Village Farms’ ‘Heavenly Villagio Marzano’ tomatoes.“We will... Read more
Rice Fruit to showcase new strains of the most popular apple varieties
Few things shine as brightly as fresh apples in autumn and winter, and Rice Fruit Co. in Gardners, PA, has a crop that is in prime condition for the coming year. John Rice, vice president, told The Produce News that the company has enjoyed a good harvest, which wrapped up in late October. “We enjoyed a fairly typical growing season,” said Rice. “A cool, dry and sunny October allowed us to get through the harvest nicely and in good order. Leighton Rice, Maggie... Read more
Cal Giant joins Just Drizzle It winter promo
California Giant Berry Farms is launching a winter holiday promotion and sweepstakes that will showcase a wide variety of freshly made sauces, spreads and dressings, inspiring consumers to “dress up their plates” and dazzle their guests with just a drizzle. The company is part of a group of complementary partners that make this winter holiday promotion a winner with consumers. Partners include Cabot Creamery, Blendtec and Scharffen Berger in a complete seven-course... Read more
New York Apple Sales exclusive marketer of  Honeycrisp apples from Scotian Gold Cooperative
For fortunate companies like New York Apple Sales, headquartered in Castleton, NY, the New York Produce Show and Conference is very accessible by train. “We are lucky this way,” said Kaari Stannard, company president. “The show provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet up with retail chains and wholesalers. In addition, the breakout sessions are very informative and beneficial to attend.” The company has exhibited at the New York Produce Show since... Read more
Customers of Sy Katz Produce Inc., headquartered in Boone, NC, can always rely on delivery of top-quality produce fresh from the field. “We have a glorious history and impeccable customer service,” President Owen Margolis told The Produce News. The company has built a solid business foundation based upon its relationships with its growing partners and ability to maintain a strong supply chain throughout the year. The company grows and markets a host of fresh... Read more
Heathrow, FL-based Village Farms International Inc. is a leading producer, marketer and distributor of premium-quality greenhouse-grown vegetables with numerous growing and distribution operations across North America and beyond. Helen L. Aquino, director of brand marketing and communications for Village Farms, said the company is pleased to announce its introduction of certified organic products into the local Florida market. “Our certified organic line is... Read more
In late October, Calvert Cullen, president of Cheriton, VA-based Northampton Growers, a leading grower and shipper of a wide variety of produce, said that things in Florida were looking upbeat. “Our schedule looks good at this point,” said Cullen. “We don’t really wrap up with cucumbers, squashes, peppers and other items in Florida throughout the winter. We move from one growing region to another, providing seamless supplies. Eventually volumes will start to... Read more
ChuckWeisinger, president of Weis-Buy Inc., provided The Produce News with some insights into the tomato market as of Nov. 10. “It seems that heavy rains on early November tomatoes in southwest Florida affected the size of mature green tomatoes,” Weisinger stated. “The size seemed to be smaller than anticipated with the start of harvesting on Nov. 5.” While weather has cut into production in all areas, he went on to say, “Business was lackluster, even with the... Read more
The Nickey Gregory Co. was founded on the Atlanta State Farmers Market 15 years ago and has since become one of the Southeast’s premier distributors. A second location in Miami opened in 2011 has been a major contributor to that success, giving the company easy access to and control over a steady supply of staples and specialty items that makes sure the Atlanta HQ never comes up short. Gregory hit on the idea for a Miami location when “we were down there working... Read more
Omar Cabrera has worked in the Nogales produce industry for 25 years. Over the years, he has worked with a broad base of the industry. Cabrera owns two firms: Agri Packing Supply, Inc., which provides packing supplies to Mexican growers, and Agri Packing Distributors, which is a cold storage and logistics company. Through this, Cabrera said he works with virtually all of the Nogales produce distributors. Beyond four Nogales cold warehouses, Cabrera also owns... Read more
A complete line of organic vegetables is on tap this year for TruFresh. Rafael Roiz, the chief executive officer and a partner in TruFresh, said that the firm will increase its organic packages to 800,000 this Nogales season. In 2014-15, the firm shipped 150,000 organic packages. The organic list involves hard and soft squash, grape and Roma tomatoes, cantaloupe, mini-watermelons and seedless watermelons, slicer and European cucumbers, jalapeno and green, red,... Read more
Grower Alliance, LLC will at least double the volume of its organic vegetable deal this fall, according to Jorge Quintero, Jr., managing partner. The organic program “will be up and running in the first week of December,” with squash, Romas, eggplant, cucumbers and green beans leading the organic offerings. Quintero added that all of Culiacan’s crops will be shipped in full volume this December. Green beans, colored bell peppers, Roma tomatoes, Euro-cucumbers,... Read more
As Hurricane Patricia, one of the strongest hurricanes ever witnessed, bore down on his grower’s staked Roma planting in Colima, Emilio Maldonado chose to fly there, rather than to the PMA convention in Atlanta.   The storm made landfall at 5 p.m. on Oct. 22. About the same time, Maldonado’s commercial flight to Guadalajara had landed and the grower had driven through two hours of pouring rain to the farm near Tecoman, Colima. Tecoman is just miles... Read more
Rains in Sonora and Jalisco earlier this fall have lowered Mexico’s watermelon volume. Jesus “Chuy” Lopez, Jr., the general manager of Big Chuy Distributors & Sons, Inc. in Nogales, added, “We have not had the same volume as the last couple of years.” But reduced supply was leading to a strong mid-November market in the range of 24 to 25 cents per pound. “There is still decent movement.” Big Chuy Distributors ships watermelons 12 months a year. The firm’s... Read more
Sabrina Hallman was contentedly following her career path as a school principal in Tucson. She had been in education for 27 years. An hour to the south in Nogales, her father, Rodney Hallman, who was retired military, owned and successfully operated Sierra Seed Co. LLLP, which he had founded in 1989. Sierra sells to Mexican growers the seed bred by various seed companies. In 2007, she suddenly received a phone call that her father was suffering from dementia.... Read more
“The Vision Cos. have expanded its exposure in Nogales this season by moving into a larger warehouse to accommodate our increasing grower direct deals,” said Donald Souther, vice president of marketing and sales development for the Vision Cos. The Vision Cos. is comprised of both Vision Import Group, headquartered in Hackensack, NJ, and Vision Produce Co., headquartered in Los Angeles. Both companies market the “Van Gogh” brand mangos, as well as “Mojito,” “Havana”... Read more
Tomatoes have traditionally been the largest-volume Mexican item for Thomas Produce Sales, Inc., according to owner Chuck Thomas. The firm is based in Rio Rico, AZ. But vegetables are gaining in the firm’s sales percentages because of the tomato suspension agreement, he said. Thomas Produce customers tend to be located from East Texas into the Southeast and up to New York. Thus, his tomato deal runs into the teeth of Florida tomato competition. “We’ve got to... Read more
A produce family rooted in Toronto but transplanted to Rio Rico, AZ, uses its Toronto connection as a key to ongoing business success. Family patriarch Frank Franzone on March 15 celebrated 60 years in the produce business. He moved his family to the Nogales area in 1995 and started Vibo Produce. The full service produce brokerage was renamed Arizona Sky Produce in 2010 by Franzone’s sons, Roberto Franzone and John Frank Franzone. John Frank works from Toronto... Read more
Hurricane Patricia set back, by one week, the Colima honeydew harvest that was scheduled to be marketed by MAS Melons & Grapes, LLC, located here. There is an irony in the schedule, because these melons were planted a week earlier than normal to push a late-December harvest, said Miguel (Miky) Suarez, who is the company’s 52-percent owner. “So, we’re back to normal in the first week of January.” The honeydews were planted a week before Hurricane Patricia... Read more