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RECENT HEADLINES

In its Dec. 9 edition, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is having difficulty monitoring the more than 25,000 farms and other organizations that sell organic crops and livestock because of the tripling in the size of that sector over the past decade. WSJ noted that there are currently 81 accredited agents or groups that... Read more
California Giant event helps Salvation Army, families in need
For the fifth year in a row, California Giant Berry Farms has participated in the local NBC Affiliate KSBW holiday event called ‘Share Your Holiday.’ Each year the station has a telethon-style event throughout the central coast of California over an eight-hour time period encouraging the community to donate food, clothing, toys and cash to support the local chapters... Read more
RIO RICO, AZ — Mexican vegetable volume is building this December for Ciruli Bros. LLC, based here. Chris Ciruli, the firm’s chief operating officer, indicated Dec. 9 that the Los Mochis, Sinaloa, green bean deal had just begun. Ciruli was also receiving hot peppers and green, yellow and Mexican gray squash. Slightly farther to the south, Culiacan was shipping... Read more
Second annual ShopRite Sprouts Awards
The ShopRite Sprouts program, an eight-week incentive program designed to encourage children to try new fruits and vegetables, held a special awards ceremony earlier this month. In this year’s program, participating children tried more than 104 varieties of fruits and veggies combined, including varieties of fresh, frozen, canned and dried product, as well as... Read more
USApple reporting 2014 apple crop is one of the largest on record
On Dec. 1, this year’s fresh apple holdings totaled 122.2 million bushels, a 16 percent increase from the same time last year, according to the December 2014 edition of the U.S. Apple Association’s Market News. “Processing holdings totaled 44.6 million bushels, 3 percent above last year on Dec. 1,” said Mark W. Seetin, director, regulatory and industry affairs... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture ruled that organic farmers and handlers are exempt from paying into conventional commodity check-off programs, saying that it is an important step that recognizes the organic industry’s unique needs and lets the industry decide where the dollars are best spent. “OTA has worked very hard to get this exemption on the books, and... Read more
WASHINGTON -- Fruit and vegetable companies will continue to sell to schools that must meet improved nutrition standards thanks to a deal cut in the FY 2015 omnibus spending bill signed Dec. 16 by President Obama. The appropriations bill that funds U.S. Department of Agriculture programs hit a roadblock when an amendment passed that would have allowed schools... Read more
Weather conditions in Chile have been favorable for this season’s crops
Apart from some recent rains that affected cherry volumes, weather conditions have been favorable for this season. “We expect to see volume increases across all commodities, even cherries,” said Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, North America, based in San Carlos, CA. The news is especially good because Chile saw large volume... Read more
North Bay Produce partners with the Produce Mom
The Produce Mom announced the addition of North Bay Produce Inc. to her family of trusted partners. North Bay offers its customers a year-round supply of a variety of fresh produce, thanks to its network of domestic and Latin American growers. “There’s so much culture represented in this company,” Lori Taylor, The Produce Mom, said in a press release. “Together... Read more
J&J Family of Farms hires new president
J&J Family of Farms has hired industry veteran Chris Coffman to serve as its president and chief operating officer. In this new position Coffman will be leading the day-to-day operations for the company. Coffman, who has 24 years of experience in the produce industry, will be responsible for overseeing all J&J operation locations in Florida, Georgia,... Read more
adidas Group North America President Mark King will share insights on leadership during his upcoming session at the 2015 PMA Foundation Executive Leadership Symposium Jan. 21-23 Dallas. The program, held in partnership with Cornell University, offers senior executives the chance to harness new strategies and ideas to position their company for success in 2015.... Read more
SunFed backing up 'Perfect Produce'
EMPALME, SONORA — “Perfect Produce” is gracefully emblazoned on a towering black marble foyer wall at SunFed’s headquarters. The company’s stylish new black consumer packaging and corresponding industry t-shirts promote “Perfect Produce.” And promotions and packaging push “Perfect Cucumbers,” “Perfect Squash” or “Perfect Melons.”Showing SunFed’s new 'Perfect... Read more
Vision Produce expands chili pepper program
Vision Produce Co. has expanded its chili pepper program and announced the debut of its own grower direct deals that encompasses a year-round program with fields in Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja Mexico in addition to Southern California.  The first harvest was shipped the week of Dec. 8 and included Jalapeños, Pasilla, Serrano, Caribe and Tomatillo. In the... Read more
Watermelon supplies to pick up in January
NOGALES, AZ — A year ago in December there were plenty of watermelons to ship from northern Mexico. But the fall 2014 crop has run short because two August hurricanes struck Mexico’s west coast. “There will be a gap from now until the deal begins in Jalisco. This is projected for January,” said Chuy Lopez, president of Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc. “I... Read more
McClean named marketing director at Ocean Mist
Diana McClean, who formerly was in marketing at Tanimura & Antle in Salinas, CA, has joined Ocean Mist Farms as director of marketing. She will be based in the company's headquarters in Castroville, CA, and will report to Joe Feldman, vice president of sales and marketing.Diana McClean She replaces Kori Tuggle, who left Ocean Mist last month to join Church... Read more
Braga Fresh adds cauliflower to Josie’s Organics line
Organic cauliflower is the newest fresh vegetable Braga Fresh Family Farms has added to its sustainable, premium-quality, certified USDA organic line of produce: Josie’s Organics. Josie’s Organics cauliflower is currently available, both wrapped and naked. The wrapped product will allow retailers to take full advantage of the popular and award-winning Josie’s... Read more
National Mango Board gears up for its new era in 2015
As the year comes to an end, the National Mango Board is getting ready for its new era of development and transitions with Executive Director William Watson handing over the reins to Manuel Michel, the new executive director. The NMB is also armed with a new director of marketing, a new strategic plan, a new vision and new projects. Michel has been on board... Read more
Cub Foods donates to Susan G. Komen through Robinson Fresh program
Longtime Twin Cities grocer Cub Foods recently presented Susan G. Komen Minnesota with $30,134, which was raised through participation in Robinson Fresh’s MelonUp! Pink Ribbon watermelon program. The MelonUp! Pink Ribbon Watermelon program is a cause-marketing program that offers retailers, such as Cub Foods, the chance to give back to their local communities... Read more
Though the wet weather that has drenched California over the past week has snarled traffic and created flooding issues in some low-lying areas, it is basically all good for agriculture. From the Central Valley to the Central Coast to Southern California, growers have been smiling as the skies have opened up for the first time in seemingly years. “It’s pure water... Read more
Industry veteran Suzanne Wolter leaves Rainier Fruit Co.
Longtime Washington tree fruit marketer Suzanne Wolter has left Rainier Fruit Co. Dec. 3 after nearly 13 years as director of marketing. “It would have been 13 years in January,” Wolter told The Produce News Dec. 15. “I came on board shortly before the Washington Apple Commission dissolved its domestic marketing efforts, and I feel as though I built Rainier's... Read more