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RECENT HEADLINES

Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in New York, northern Pennsylvania, western Vermont and north-central Massachusetts announced its 2017 Produce Managers of the Year. Nominees from each district were evaluated on several criteria, including sales growth, overall department conditions, and development of associates, customer interaction,... Read more
Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and health at the United Fresh Produce Association, will be the honoree and featured speaker at the Reception Honoring Women in Produce, Wednesday, June 14, at United Fresh 2017 in Chicago. Prior to her decade of service to the industry at United Fresh, DiSogra was the director of the National 5 A Day Program at the... Read more
Fairway Georgetowne LLC, operating out of Brooklyn, NY, has posted a $25,000 surety bond with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to obtain a license to operate in the produce industry. Under the regulations of the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the company was required to post a bond following its prior involvement in bankruptcy. USDA will hold the... Read more
Doc’s Food Stores, a Bixby, OK-based supermarket chain that operates as Country Mart, JB’s Market and Apple Market, launched the Mushroom Council’s successful Blend model in the deli, meat and produce departments at all its retail stores and experienced sales gains in all three departments. The Blend is a method of mixing finely diced mushrooms... Read more
2017 New Jersey produce outlook
The 2017 season is under way and should be highlighted by good quantities of high-quality produce. Weather professionals say that 2016 was the warmest year on record for the third year in a row. A mild winter followed by a mild spring allowed many New Jersey farmers, especially those on heavier soils, to get their tilling and planting started early this season.... Read more
Other than a mild February, which forced apricots and some plum varieties to bloom early, most New Jersey peaches experienced a cool and relatively normal winter, with growers expecting a large crop in 2017. "While our peaches and nectarines bloomed about 10 days early, we have not had sub-freezing temperatures to injure peach flowers and fruit," said Santo... Read more
Recent heavy rains in the Coquimbo region in northern Chile are filling up reservoirs and providing much-needed relief for an industry that has been under pressure from years of drought. In week 19, an average of 99.28 millimeters of rain fell in the Coquimbo region, where Chilean clementines are currently being harvested. According to the Chilean Citrus Committee,... Read more
Lidl readying to flood the East Coast
Lidl, one of the world’s largest retailers, will open its first stores in the United States on Thursday, June 15, the first of 20 stores that will open during the summer of 2017. By next summer, Lidl plans to open up to 100 stores on the East Coast, creating a total of 5,000 U.S. jobs. “We are excited to open our first stores in the United States... Read more
Northwest Cherries estimates nearly 22 million boxes in 2017
Northwest Cherries’ field estimate team has projected that this year’s crop will hit nearly 21.8 million 20-pound equivalent boxes. “Over a series of four rounds of projections during the fruit’s early development, this 22-person estimation team looks at the volume dynamics across all Northwest growing districts, with each member submitting... Read more
Kingdom Fresh utilizing social media to reach buyers, consumers
DONNA, TX — Capitalizing on social media to educate consumers on its tomato products, Kingdom Fresh Farms has recently released a series of fun videos. Kingdom Fresh General Manager Guillermo Martinez worked with a Mexican production company to create the concepts and generate the final piece. When The Produce News met with Martinez in mid-May, the firm... Read more
Ahold Delhaize will close its remaining Martin’s Food Markets this summer. The nine stores operating under that banner are located in the greater Richmond, VA, and Williamsburg, VA, communities. “Throughout this difficult process, our top concern has been to take care of our associates and treat them fairly and with respect,” Tom Lenkevich,... Read more
Apio shaking up single-serve salads
Single-serve salads are increasingly on the shopping list, and consumers who crave them continually look for tempting new flavors and added convenience. Apio Inc., a leading producer of fresh-cut vegetables and salads for the United States and Canada under the Eat Smart brand, is answering the call with its new Salad Shake Ups salad bowls. The line’s... Read more
Organic fresh produce comprising 10 percent of all produce sales
Organic fresh produce sales are robust and growing throughout the country, accounting for more than 10 percent of all whole produce dollars through the first quarter of 2017, according to the Organic Produce Network. Organic packaged salads remain the category driver, responsible for 20 percent of all organic fresh produce sales. Behind packaged salad sales,... Read more
Chilean fresh fruit featured at ASOEX-sponsored Passport D.C.
Chile opened the doors of its U.S. embassy in Washington, DC, May 6 to more than 4,000 visitors and guests, joining the annual Around the World Embassy Tour. With fresh fruit being one of Chile’s key exports, Fruits from Chile representatives were on hand to showcase and sample the wide variety of fruits available from Chile. The Around the World Embassy... Read more
Shipment of Bell peppers contains 13,700 pounds of marijuana
U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers at the Port of Nogales recently seized $6.85 million of marijuana commingled with a shipment of Bell peppers. Officers at the Mariposa Commercial Facility referred a tractor-trailer carrying the peppers, and the 46-year-old Mexican male driver, for further inspection. When the commodity was off-loaded, a CBP narcotics... Read more
Fresh Solutions Network announced the launch of its Side Delights celebration of summer promotional program with three promotions, one for each month of the season: Meet Your New Flame (June), Star Spangled Steamables (July) and Grill Potatoes (August). Each month-long promotion includes themed in-store merchandiser displays and colorful, coordinating point-of-purchase... Read more
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to kick off Dec. 22
The 21st annual Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will kick off on Friday, Dec. 22 at at Boise State University’s Albertsons Stadium and will be aired live on ESPN. In its seventh year as the naming sponsor of the premier cold-weather college football bowl game, the Idaho Potato Commission is looking forward to another exciting matchup between the Mountain West... Read more
J&J Family of Farms forms partnership with Little River Produce
J&J Family of Farms has announced a new partnership with Lake Park, GA-based Little River Produce. The strategic alliance will allow J&J Family of Farms to continue working with recognized and dedicated farmers to facilitate their expanded distribution across North America.   Little River Produce is a family-owned farm that has been with the Ritter... Read more
In the Trenches: Merchandising berries — past, present, future
There was a time in the past when strawberries were the only dominant berry available in a supermarket. In fact, they were primarily seasonal during spring and summer. Blueberries were also seasonable in the spring and summer. Raspberries were rarely handled by supermarkets mainly because of low supply, high cost and very short shelf life. But those days are... Read more
Dan Johnson retires after more than 40 years with Kroger
Dan Johnson’s produce industry career is both a very familiar story and a testament to the way employer-employee relationships used to be revered. He began his career as a bag boy at the tender age of 16 at the local Kroger in his hometown of Marietta, GA. He worked his way through high school and college, made it a career and then moved up through the... Read more