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Classic Salads, a supplier of gourmet baby leaf salads and specialty vegetables, launched a new organic salad line for retail customers at the recent Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL.

Established in 2000 by longtime Salinas Valley farmer Lance Batistich, the Watsonville, CA-based company has become one of the faster-growing salad processors in the industry, with 100 percent of its products grown in the United States.

Historically focused on serving the foodservice category, Classic Salads said that it is bringing proven farming expertise and dedication to customer service to the retail marketplace.

In an Oct. 11 press release, Classic Salads said that a key element of entering the retail segment has been the leadership of its new vice president of sales and marketing, John Burge, a 20-year industry veteran who previously held executive positions at Fresh Express, Earthbound Farm and Taylor Farms before joining Classic Salads.

"With my years of experience in the salad category, I know that Classic Salads is uniquely positioned for success with our new organic line," Mr. Burge said in the press release. “'The Classic Difference’ is all about our ability to create individualized programs for our customers as a grower, processor and shipper. From custom salad blends to private-label packaging, we ensure our value-driven products exceed consumer expectations to achieve retailer success.”

The Classic Salads organic retail line features five-ounce clamshells of spring mix, sweet baby lettuces, baby spinach, baby Romaine, baby arugula, a fresh herb mix and a seven-ounce clamshell of Romaine heart whole leaves, in addition to one-pound clamshells of baby spinach and spring mix. Retail bags of all these varieties are also available, as are three chopped Romaine blends. All gourmet varieties are packed under the “Classic Salads Organic” brand or private-label packaging.