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COMPANY PROFILES

Focus at McDaniel will be on fruit from California and Peru May-September
The supply of California avocados in the marketplace this spring and summer “is going to be significantly less than it was last year,” said Larry McDaniel, vice president of McDaniel Fruit Co. in Fallbrook, CA, in an interview with The Produce News March 24. At the same time, “demand for California avocados and for our ‘Linda-Vista’ brand is going to be extremely strong. This light crop out of California is just not going to be able to keep up with the demand for... Read more
Henry Avocado’s California harvest to peak at ideal time for customers
For year-round avocado distributor Phil Henry, there’s little distinction between the oncoming domestic harvest and the winding down of the offshore supply. His commitment to consistently provide customers with superior quality fresh avocados and great service is never seasonal. It’s the perennial purpose of Henry Avocado, according to a company press release. Whether the California crop is 515 million pounds, as it was last year, or the approximately 300 million... Read more
Eco Farms expects fairly steady volume of Calif. avocados April through August
A smaller California avocado crop for 2014 does not necessarily mean less fruit going into the market on a weekly basis but rather a more condensed marketing window, with good supplies available each week during that window, according to Steve Taft, president of Eco Farms Avocados Inc. in Temecula, CA. In contrast to last year, when California had a large avocado crop and the shipping season started earlier and ran long, this year “the season is going to be compressed”... Read more
Calavo’s California program targets Western markets
Although the California contribution to aggregate avocado volume in the United States will be a bit under 20 percent this year compared to nearly 30 percent last year, the marketing strategies for California fruit at Calavo Growers Inc. in Santa Paula, CA, are “fairly similar” to what they were in 2013, according to Rob Wedin, vice president of fresh sales and marketing. “With California, we are definitely focusing on the West,” he said. “We tend to split the country... Read more
West Pak relies on key relationships to keep avocados moving
The California avocado industry as a whole is expecting a lighter crop this year following two heavier crop years in 2013 and 2012. Not all avocado trees are on the same alternate fruit-bearing cycle, and even though this is in an off-crop year as a whole, “some of our key growers are experiencing on-crop years,” said Scott Bauwens, vice president of sourcing for West Pak Avocados Inc. in Murrieta, CA. So even though overall industry volume will be down, “going... Read more
In its California cherry program, Morada Produce Co. LP in Stockton, CA, is “fortunate” to have “a good solid grower base in every major growing district” throughout the state, according to Michael Jameson, who handles export sales for the company. That provides the benefit of assuring a steady supply of fruit throughout the season. For the early part of the California cherry season, “we have a lot of our own tonnage” from company orchards in the Bakersfield-Arvin-Shafter... Read more
It was too early to know for sure, but as of the beginning of April, Grower Direct Marketing LLC in Stockton, CA, exclusive sales agent for O-G Packing Co., was hoping for “a full, promotable crop” of Bing cherries out of the Linden-Lodi area in the northern San Joaquin Valley of California, according to Jim Hanson, managing partner of Grower Direct. “From all indications at this point, it looks like a nice full crop,” he said April 1. “I don’t think anybody is... Read more
For a successful season, watermelon growers need to be in the market for the summer holidays, according to Mike Meyer, watermelon salesman for Keith Connell, Inc., in Stillwell, KS. “If you’re late or don’t hit peak demand, it really messes you up,” he said. This spring, as usual, Keith Connell is planning to be in the market for the coming Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays. In the early spring, Keith Connell’s Nogales office was shipping seedless watermelons.... Read more
NOGALES, AZ — The operations of longtime watermelon specialist Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc., moved a step forward this spring. Chuy Lopez, Jr., the general manager of the firm, indicated that three of his Mexican shippers this spring are operating new state-of-the-art watermelon packing sheds. “This will make it easier with sizing and weighing,” Lopez said. Big Chuy will handle the same volume of seedless and mini-sized watermelons as last year, he indicated. Mexico’s... Read more
Midwest Best Produce, which this year has already begun shipping watermelons produced offshore, as well as shipping Mexican watermelons, is expecting to begin its Florida and Texas watermelon deals the first week of May. Dan Pupillo Jr., president of the firm, which is based on the St. Louis Produce Market, said his Florida deal will be followed by Georgia and Missouri. Missouri will begin about June 25 if the weather goes as expected, Pupillo added. Midwest... Read more
“Our growing areas are highly diversified which enables us to offer a diverse menu of specialty products to our customers,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Southern Specialties, headquartered in Pompano Beach, FL. “We believe that it’s important to work from the ground up, and as a grower, importer, processor and shipper of specialty products we can bring these high quality items to our customers year-round.” Its wide variety of packaging... Read more
“Babé Farms grows a year-round variety of specialty vegetables including a spectrum of baby carrots, beets, specialty radishes, baby cauliflower, Romanesco, organic kales, specialty salads and a variety of specialty root vegetables,” said Ande Manos, marketing and new business development director for the Santa Maria, CA-based grower and shipper. Babé Farms has been a premier grower, packer and shipper of specialty vegetables and gourmet salad blends for more than... Read more
Since 1989, Southern Corporate Packers, headquartered in Immokalee, FL, has worked to bolster its reputation in the fresh produce arena. Originally operating as a broker, President Brian Arrigo said the company is solidly entrenched in its current activity as a grower/packer/shipper of mixed vegetables and melons. The company moves melons grown in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Nicaragua, giving Southern Corporate Packers a year-round reach with distribution.... Read more
Jackson Farming Co., one of the premiere grower/packer/shippers of quality fruits and vegetables in North Carolina, is gearing up for a successful watermelon harvest. The company’s manifest includes both seeded and seedless watermelons, honeydews and Sprites. “We have added Caribbean Gold cantaloupes to the mix with Athena cantaloupes,” Vice President of Operations/Supply Chain Matt Solana told The Produce News. Jackson Farming, which is headquartered in Fayetteville,... Read more
Mission Produce Inc., based in Oxnard, CA, will hold its third annual charity golf tournament April 24 at Moorpark Country Club. There are 188 participants in this year's event, and the day includes golf, lunch, dinner, a silent auction and raffle. Proceeds will benefit local county charitable organizations. Last year's tournament raised over $20,000 for Ventura County Food Share. Platinum sponsors ($2,500 sponsorship each) are Rock Tenn and NLFL. Other sponsors... Read more
Business is booming for Scotlynn Sweet Pac Growers
Bryan Biederman, an owner of Scotlynn Sweet Pac Growers LLC in Belle Glade, FL, said business continues to boom since the company opened its doors two years ago. “We’re very thankful for the support we’ve received, and very optimistic about our future,” he told The Produce News. Biederman and fellow Owner J.D. Poole are industry veterans who formed a partnership with Scott Biddle, president/owner of Ontario-based Scotlynn Investments. Scotlynn Sweet Pac Growers... Read more
To-Jo participates in mushroom 'Blendability' session
To-Jo Mushrooms recently participated in a joint education session at the annual Research Chefs Associations Conference held in Portland, OR. To-Jo — along with the Southwest Minnesota State University Culinology Department, the Mushroom Council and Iron Chef Jehangir Mehta — gave an in-depth review as to the progress the mushroom industry is making on the “Blendability” concept and its applications across various foodservice and manufacturing platforms. The attendees... Read more
The road to and from Paradise is paved with more than good intentions. Joel Silverman, owner of Paradise Produce Distributors in Lakeland, FL, said the company is always pushing the envelope to meet and exceed customer expectations. “Our job is to make it easy for our customers to make one call and allow us to fill their entire order with a mix, which sometimes includes 20 items or more,” he told The Produce News. “We will source whatever our customers desire.... Read more
Vision Import Group draws attention with alligator at SUPERVALU Eastern Region Expo
Vision Import Group LLC, headquartered in River Edge, NJ, hired Bruce Letchworth as its sales manager of the company’s newly opened Lakeland, FL facility when it opened last August. At this year's SUPERVALU expo event, he used a unique skill to draw attention to the company’s booth.Vision Import Group adorned its booth at the SUPERVALU Eastern Region Expo with a mounted alligator head, a catch by the company’s Florida sales manager, Bruce Letchworth. Letchworth... Read more
The Perishable Specialist helps customers deal with Chilean fumigation protocol
Frank Ramos and his wife and partner, Ana, of The Perishable Specialist Inc., a leading customs broker headquartered in Miami, FL, said that the company is available to its customers seven days a week, 24-hours a day, every day of the year. “Delivering perishables to their destination in the best possible condition means that they must move as quickly and efficiently as humanly possible — and that’s what we mean to accomplish every day of the year,” said Ramos. The... Read more