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Weather delays Hearty Fresh production this season

Nick Huizinga, general manager of Hearty Fresh Inc., said weather conditions will affect commodity production during the 2013 season. “We did not get into our fields until the third week of May, which is abnormally late,” he told The Produce News. “Weather has been very unpredictable. So it’s hard to say what quality, sizing, yields, etc. will look like compared to years past. We had a very wet, cold spring, and a lot can change from now until harvest.”

The company is a grower and shipper of fresh produce located in Byron Center, MI, in the heart of prime Michigan farmland. “We currently sell celery, radishes, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, apples and onions during the Michigan growing season,” Huizinga said.

He does not anticipate any problems with the 2013 apple crop. “Apples seem to have not been hurt from the cooler weather,” Huizinga stated. “We did see temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, but haven’t heard of any potential issues stemming from that.”

Commodities are primarily marketed to retailers in the Midwest and East Coast under the “Hearty Fresh” label.

On the food-safety front, Huizinga said, “This year, we upgraded to the Primus GFS audit and scored 95.17 percent. We are PTI compliant and have been case labeling since April 1 [of this year].”