RECENT HEADLINES

Setting a new record for crop value at $1.76 billion, California’s table grape growers harvested their second-largest crop ever, sending 110 million 19-pound boxes of grapes to consumers worldwide. Export volume and value were also the second highest in history, with 44.5 million 19-pound boxes shipped at a value of $857 million. The top volume export markets... Read more
WASHINGTON — The food industry is throwing its support behind a bill introduced last week that would create a uniform, certification program for labeling foods free of genetically modified ingredients, bypassing state initiatives that would mandate labeling on all GMO foods. Facing staunch consumer group opposition, however, it’s uncertain how far the bill will... Read more
National Mango Board’s referendum right around the corner
The United States Department of Agriculture is required to administer a continuation referendum for the National Mango Board every five years. This referendum will be held April 6-17. Importers and first handlers who handled at least 500,000 pounds of mangos during the 2014 calendar year are eligible to vote, and all those eligible will be receiving a ballot... Read more
The California Fresh Fruit Association kicked off its new fiscal year during its 79th annual meeting in Del Mar, CA. The event featured the election of the board of directors and chairman, as well as industry and committee updates. The board of directors is made up of 47 men and women from operations located from as far south as Coachella Valley with fresh table... Read more
Following the recommendation of the Vidalia Onion Advisory Panel, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black has announced April 27 as the official shipping date for the 2015 Vidalia onion marketing season. The 16-grower panel made the recommendation to the commissioner during a meeting held at the Vidalia Onion & Vegetable Research Center in Lyons,... Read more
Hugh H. Branch president dies at 69
Daniel Shiver, president of Hugh H. Branch Inc., died March 24 following a diagnosis of leukemia in November. He was 69.  Mr. Shiver started his career at Lakeshore Growers, moving on to Gressinger Produce and South Bay Growers before starting his latest stint of 30 years with Hugh H. Branch Inc.    A humble man known for his dry wit and compassionate... Read more
Colorful Harvest's new party tray expected in April
Colorful Harvest is preparing to release its eye-catching new crystal clear 20-ounce party tray that combines Rainbow Crunch carrots with multi-colored cauliflowers and a sweet onion honey Dijon dipping sauce. With more acres of colorful veggies under cultivation for the new party tray, Colorful Harvest anticipates consistent supply year-round. The first party... Read more
Earlier this week Wegmans announced a recall of approximately 12,540 packages of frozen spinach, supplied by Twin City Foods Inc., due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Since then the recall has expanded to other retailers, including Meijer and Target. In addition to the Wegmans product, Twin Cities issued a recall of Meijer Organics Chopped... Read more
Oneonta to have New Zealand Honeycrisp in early May
“We are very excited to bring something special to our customers and to consumers who love the Honeycrisp apple,” Scott Marboe, Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers marketing director, said in a March 26 press release, adding that OSRG will fill a five-week window with Honeycrisp New Zealand apples starting in early May. National Sales Representative Bruce Turner said... Read more
Walmart honors C.H. Robinson with first-ever 3PL Award
Walmart Stores Inc. has recognized C.H. Robinson with its first-ever 3rd Party Logistical Carrier of the Year Award for 2014, noting contributions for outstanding service, effective communication, and providing solutions and innovations in a changing industry. 2014 was a year of challenges in the area of logistics and transportation, with extreme weather conditions... Read more
Chilean Fresh Fruit Association looking ahead to citrus and kiwifruit for spring and summer months
“Chile has a strong citrus program consisting of clementines, Navels, Mandarins and lemons,” said Karen Brux, North America managing director for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. “Citrus used to be considered more of a winter item, but thanks to the growth in the Southern Hemisphere supply, consumers can enjoy high-quality, juicy and sweet citrus on a year-round... Read more
Robert (Bob) Piccinini, the chairman of Save Mart Supermarkets, died Tuesday, March 24 at his Modesto, CA, home. He was 73. Mr. Piccinini purchased Save Mart from the Piccinini and Tocco families in 1985 after working his way up through the ranks, from box boy, truck driver, store manager, vice president of real estate and onto president and chief executive... Read more
The Eastern Produce Council will hold its May meeting at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. This is the third meeting at the state-of-the-art PWPM facility. The first two meetings drew almost 300 attendees each time. This year’s theme will be "Cinco de Mayo in Philadelphia" and feature flavors and beverages from Mexico. The afternoon and evening event... Read more
New Zealand apple harvest under way
It's apple harvest time in New Zealand, and Enza brand owner Turners & Growers, which markets apples and pears via The Oppenheimer Group in North America, is dealing with a unique challenge this season. Cyclone Pam's devastation is gradually being assessed in the Republic of Vanuatu, while over 200 guest workers from that nation focus their efforts on the... Read more
Mann Packing names new marketing and communications manager
Mann Packing has hired Pam Hudson as the manager of marketing and communications. In this role, she will oversee the company’s advertising and promotional programs while engaging in customer and consumer marketing support. Hudson will report to Kim St. George, director of marketing and communications. Hudson has a diverse background in marketing, with experience... Read more
Doug Ranno named president of Harvest Sensations
Produce industry veteran Doug Ranno has been named president of Harvest Sensations, a specialty produce, retail and foodservice distributor with strategically located, state-of-the-art facilities in Los Angeles and Miami. Ranno will lead the company and its growth in all areas, including strategic planning, business development and overall team development.... Read more
WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel flew to the Dominican Republic after the United States released a March 18 federal order restricting imports of certain fruits and vegetables to prevent the introduction of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Importers are likely to feel the effects of the federal order until the issue is resolved. “Effective immediately,... Read more
Consalo Family Farms announces major expansion
Consalo Family Farms, a Vineland, NJ-based grower, packer and shipper of blueberries and mixed vegetables, has added a new $10 million blueberry farming and packing operation located in Egg Harbor City, NJ.   With the addition of new acreage and a state-of the art processing and packaging facilities, Consalo Family Farms expects to market 8.5 million pounds... Read more
BI-LO is giving local entrepreneurs across North Carolina and South Carolina the opportunity to have their products featured on store shelves, including fresh local produce. On April 16, representatives from the grocery chain will host a local sourcing event in Greenville, SC, where chosen entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their products to... Read more
Fresh & Easy is reportedly closing at least 50 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada as it pursues a new business model. Remaining stores will see some changes, as Fresh & Easy is working with ADMI, the firm behind the design of the Apple Store, to design the Fresh & Easy store of the future -- a concept that the company believes represents... Read more