RECENT HEADLINES

WASHINGTON — While Food & Drug Administration leaders say inspectors will undergo a culture change before enforcing the Food Safety Modernization Act and “educate before regulate,” the produce industry is looking for assurances inspectors will be well trained and apply the law consistently across the diverse industry. FDA shared some details of a plan to... Read more
United Fresh Start Foundation to host Tip Murphy Legacy Golf Tournament
For the second consecutive year, the United Fresh Start Foundation will host the Tip Murphy Legacy Golf Tournament. This year the tournament will take place Monday, Aug. 17 at the Oasis Golf Club near Cincinnati. “Last year’s event saw record attendance and was an excellent opportunity for networking with industry and retail colleagues,” Tom Stenzel, president... Read more
Dayka & Hackett expands Disney offerings
Dayka & Hackett LLC, based in Reedley, CA, announced its release of new citrus packaging featuring Disney’s Frozen. The Mandarin and Navel orange bags are available at grocery retailers nationwide starting this spring. The Frozen-themed poly and mesh bags feature beloved characters Anna and Elsa, along with fun film facts. “We look forward to encouraging... Read more
Vidalia Onion Committee announces start date, marketing campaign
The Vidalia onion season official start date is set for April 27 and the committee is continuing the V is for Vidalia marketing campaign after its successful debut last year.  The campaign focuses on promoting the versatility and benefits of Vidalia onions to a younger consumer base. The promotion features increased digital and social media activities with... Read more
After several years of bad markets, California stone fruit growers began pulling out trees in the mid-2000s, which has created a new normal of lighter supplies and better markets. A very significant amount of trees were pulled with the acreage shifted to other crops. Bill Purewal, owner of PureFresh Sales in Selma, CA, said most estimates conclude that about... Read more
PFK and Meijer use rock and roll to bring nutrition education to schools
Jump with Jill, a rock and roll nutrition show, is visiting schools across the Midwest thanks to the fall 2014 Produce for Kids campaign that took place across all Meijer stores Aug. 31 to Sept. 27. The donations made by participating produce suppliers during the fall campaign totaled $60,000 and allowed the Jump with Jill program to take place in 27 schools... Read more
Western Growers and Silicon Valley Global Partners have entered into an exclusive strategic alliance agreement to accelerate the advancement of technology in the ag space. WG, which represents fresh produce growers in the West, and SVG, a venture capital group, have begun a collaboration that will include promoting, vetting and investing in potential new technologies... Read more
Martori's Kandy Lemondrop melons back for third season
Martori Farms announced its exclusive Kandy Lemondrop Melon will begin shipping June 1. This year marks the third season the Arizona-based grower and shipper of premium melons will distribute the specialty Lemondrop variety. According to Martori, Kandy Lemondrop Melons have a signature sweet tartness of lemon and subtle hints of honeydew and watermelon that... Read more
New leadership announced at EPC dinner meeting
PATERSON, NJ — The April dinner meeting of the Eastern Produce Council has long been noted for two key components: new leadership is announced, and it is hosted by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. Those two components were in full force at the EPC dinner meeting held Tuesday evening, April 21, here at The Brownstone. EPC President Paul Kneeland... Read more
Salinas, CA-based Taylor Farms has notified foodservice companies of a spinach recall after Michigan inspectors detected pathogens in foodservice product during routine testing. The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development’s Geagley Laboratory tested spinach that was pre-packaged and ready for institutional use and stored in a food warehouse... Read more
San Luis Valley preps for 2015-16 potato season
Monte Vista, CO — With an ongoing drought a major factor in the San Luis Valley's potato industry, planting this coming season could be down between 8 and 10 percent from last year's 55,000 acres. Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee based on Monte Vista, told The Produce News in mid-April he had “no way of knowing”... Read more
Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools announced that salad bars have been donated to more than 1,000 California schools. The salad bars benefit more than 700,000 students every day by increasing their access to fresh fruits and vegetables at school lunch. The Golden State leads the nation with the most salad bars in schools.   The announcement was made at an... Read more
Del Monte expands global environmental sustainability programs
Del Monte Fresh Produce announced that the its banana operations in Costa Rica (33 farms and 41 packinghouses, totaling 26,324 acres) achieved carbon neutrality certification by SCS earlier this year. The company also celebrated Earth Day by stating its continued commitment to conservation through its reforestation and conservation programs in all its farming... Read more
Tomorrow, April 22, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case pitting two California raisin growers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the federal marketing order regulating raisins. At issue is a provision of the California Raisin Marketing Order that allows the administrative committee of that order to take a percentage of raisins off... Read more
Ready Pac introduces hemp to salad kit, Bistro Bowl
Ready Pac Foods' newest products, which feature hemp as a key ingredient, hit Safeway's store shelves April 20. The company said its Hemp Caesar Salad Kit and Bistro Bowl Jamaican Style Jerk Hemp Seed Salad are the first mass-produced, ready-to-eat salad products to feature hemp. The Ready Pac Hemp Caesar Salad Kit is a chopped kit that features hemp seeds,... Read more
Domestic watermelon production is set to kick in high gear for the summer months according to data gathered by the National Watermelon Promotion Board. “Most folks realize that watermelon is the king of Independence Day,” Jason Hanselman, industry affairs associate, told The Produce News. “But our second most important time of the year is the lead up to Memorial... Read more
The future of Mexico’s grape industry “is very strong,” in the view of Jerry Havel, the director of sales and marketing for Fresh Farms, in his office in Rio Rico, AZ.   Mexico consistently produces grapes that are “very sweet and large in size year in and year out.  The grape quality is outstanding.” Specifically of the coming season, he said, “I... Read more
Publix Super Markets Inc. and Lowes Foods LLC have announced the companies have entered into an agreement under which Publix is expected to purchase two closed and vacant Lowes Foods stores in North Carolina. The transaction is projected to close later in April. “We’ve opened eight stores in North Carolina within the past year, solidifying our commitment... Read more
Vision Produce's Phoenix facility goes solar
This April, Vision Produce Co. is installing a solar power generation system at its produce distribution center in Phoenix, which also includes offices for its Arizona sales and operational staff. It is expected to supply 59 percent of the electricity Vision Produce consumes in Phoenix every year. The new system will include 1,930 solar panels... Read more
Frieda’s Angelcot season set for mid-June
Frieda’s Specialty Produce’s exclusive Angelcots, which it describes as “heavenly white apricots,” are only available for three weeks starting in mid-June. This specialty hybrid of Moroccan and Iranian apricot varieties is grown in Northern California and packed in 16/one-pound clamshells. Angelcots’ pale-yellow skin — with a pale-peach blush — is covered with... Read more