Boggiatto rolls out Iceberg Babies at retail

SALINAS, CA -- Boggiatto Produce, based here, has rolled out is Iceberg Babies at retail after a successful introduction in foodservice.

The product was introduced at retail in April and is currently being distributed in the western United States with plans to go national this summer, said Boggiatto Controller Joann Glennon.

For retail customers, Iceberg Babies come two in a bag with 20 bags per carton.

The variety of Iceberg lettuce is about the size of a softball. Iceberg Babies have the same crispness but not the denseness of full-sized Iceberg lettuce and are sweeter, according to the company.

Boggiatto Produce is the only U.S. grower licensed to grow and sell the baby heads of Iceberg lettuce.

Restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas have picked up the Iceberg Babies, and a national restaurant chain has added the item to its menus. Ms. Glennon said that the item "got off to a fantastic start," at foodservice.

Beat Giger, the corporate chef for Pebble Beach Resorts, has created recipes using Iceberg Babies, and Mr. Giger's recipes appear on Boggiatto's web site ( As part of the company's marketing strategy, Mr. Boggiatto has become a sponsor of the DiRona Guide, which puts the company on the radar screen of many restaurateurs.

Garlic: mystical, magical, medicinal and mouthwatering

In ancient times, long before antibiotics and other pharmaceutical products, garlic represented the entire pharmacy to humans because of its broad spectrum of health benefits.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information, the genetic sequence database of the National Institutes of Health, provides a wealth of information compiled at its National Library of Medicine.

There is evidence that garlic is one of the first plants to have been cultivated by man. Indigenous to middle Asia, its exact origin places it specifically in western China. It is believed the Sumerians (from 2600 to 2100 BC) brought it to China, and it later spread to Japan and Korea.

Varying ancient beliefs of the health benefits of garlic have remained unchanged throughout history. It is revered for its medicinal properties in many guises in cultures worldwide, such as Russian penicillin, a natural antibiotic and plant talisman.

Garlic was a valuable commodity as trade evolved across Eastern Europe, and production was quickly adopted in India, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Africa and middle Europe, particularly in Italy and France.

It reached the United Kingdom in the 14th century and was introduced to North America in the 16th century. Its popularity began to increase in the United States in the 1920s.

Throughout history, garlic was used for a nearly endless list of medicinal purposes. Ancient Israelites used garlic as a starvation stimulator, blood pressure enhancer, body heater, parasite-killer and more.

Owing to garlic, in 1720 a thousand inhabitants of Marseille were saved from the spread of plague. In 1858, Louis Pasteur wrote that garlic killed bacteria, even highly resistant strains.

In the early 20th century, medical research confirmed that the antiseptic properties of garlic were beneficial in reducing the spread of cholera, typhoid fever, influenza and diphtheria.

Ongoing scientific research by accredited institutions resulted in the NIH reporting that garlic shows evidence of having a wide range of health benefits. Some reports claim protection from common cold, beneficial effects on LDL cholesterol, decreased blood pressure and more, including that it has proven to be active against sarcoma in laboratory rats.

In conclusion, the NIH states that garlic is the plant necessary in everyday life from past to present days. It contains active compounds that are responsible for its effect on almost every part of the human body. Data compiled to date suggest that garlic should be consumed as much as possible.

Garlic’s use throughout history includes mystical and magical beliefs. People of many Mediterranean countries wove garlic into necklaces and wore them as protection against evil spirits and against enemies. It is listed in nearly every religious text around the world. The Talmud prescribes a meal with garlic every Friday, and the Bible mentions that a meal with garlic and cheese is to be consumed by reapers.

According to the Agriculture Marketing Resource Center, or AGMRC, compiled by Hayley Boriss of the Agriculture Issues Center, University of California, and revised in April 2014 by Shannon Hoyle, AGMRC, Iowa State University, the average garlic consumption per capita per year in the U.S. is two pounds. The report states that the steady increase in demand for garlic is attributed to an increased affinity for its flavor and the promotion of its health benefits.

In 2013 the majority of fresh and processed garlic production was concentrated in California, which harvested 23,000 acres. The value of U.S. garlic production that year was $232 million, an increase from the previous year.

The AGMRC report notes that prices have varied over time, from a low of $24.49 per hundredweight in 2004 to a record high of $71 per hundredweight in 2010. The average price was $60 per hundredweight with an average yield per acre of 162 hundredweight in 2013.

Globally, China remains the largest garlic-producing nation representing two-thirds of the world’s total production. Following behind are India and South Korea. The Unityed States ranks eighth in total global garlic production.

In 2010, the United States exported 18.6 million pounds of fresh garlic valued at $16.4 million, primarily to Canada and Mexico.

The United States is the world’s largest import market for fresh garlic, becoming a net importer of 164.4 million pounds in 2010. China accounted for the majority of total U.S. garlic imports. Other top suppliers of garlic to the United States were Argentina and Mexico.

CMI re-releases cherry display for retailers

With the main cherry-selling season under way, CMI is re-releasing its proprietary free standing, secondary display for supermarkets. The self-contained shipping unit is designed to help retailers leverage the unique impulse purchase power of cherries by adding incremental displays in supermarkets.CMI-Cherry-Shipper

“Secondary displays sell cherries,” Steve Castleman, senior vice president of sales at CMI, said in a press release. “Our supermarket sales data consistently shows us that when retailers add secondary displays of cherries there is an immediate impact on sales.”

According to Castleman, the industry promotion agency Northwest Cherry Growers conducted extensive store testing which reinforced the effects of adding secondary displays. “The industry research revealed a sales lift of up to 30 percent with secondary displays in test stores," he said. "It shows that a lot of quick-trip shoppers dashing through supermarkets often miss cherry displays in the produce department but are enticed to buy when they see cherries in unexpected locations in the store.”

Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, described the display as “wonderfully unique” because it is one of the few fully contained secondary display units for cherries that can be shipped directly to stores packed with product.

“What retailers like about this display is the beautiful graphic header card with two cases of cherries shipped together in one unit,” Lutz said in the release. “This eliminates any worries about how to get both product and graphics out to stores since everything required for the display is shipped together.

“Secondary displays like this flat outsell cherries so the time is now,” said Lutz. “With the re-release of our window box display we’re able pack these units for retailers at no incremental up charge. It’s a solid opportunity for everyone.”

Mann's adds Kalettes to retail lineup

Mann-Kalettes-6oz-bag-smMann Packing is adding Kalettes to its lineup of washed and ready-to-eat fresh vegetables. The retail offering is in a six-ounce bag.

Mann’s is one of six U.S. companies licensed to grow and sell Kalettes. The company started offering Kalettes to its foodservice customers in 2014, with expansion to retail in June.

Kalettes are a non-GMO vegetable developed through traditional hybridization. They have a great taste by combining the best flavors from kale and Brussels sprouts, resulting in a fresh fusion of sweet and nutty.

"With an appearance of a tiny cabbage with green frilly leaves and hints of purple, they are a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed steamed, sautéed, roasted, grilled or eaten raw," Kim St. George, director of marketing and communications, said in a press release.

 “The retail demand for Kalettes is incredible with the increased popularity on restaurant menus, so the timing is right to offer this hot new vegetable to consumers so they can enjoy at home,” St. George said in the release.

NatureSweet unveils new tomato variety

CHICAGO — In the tomato category, there is a penchant to go big — with larger varieties, such as Beefsteak types — or go small — with the ever-growing grape and cherry types that have found a niche as a snack item. But there are few options in between.

NatureSweet believes it will fill a void with its new mid-sized Jubilee tomato.

Mike Joergensen, vice president of marketing at NatureSweet, based in San Antonio, TX, said each Jubilee tomato yields several slices, making it the perfect sandwich tomato.

“When you slice a Beefsteak for a sandwich, you have at least half of the tomato left over,” he said. “That gets put into the refrigerator and it eventually gets thrown out. With the Jubilee, you use the whole tomato for a sandwich, so there is no waste.”

IMG 5415Mike Joergensen and Olivia Zaleski of NatureSweet promoted (l-r) Glory, Jubilee and Constellation tomato packs at United Fresh.Joergensen said fear of waste is one of the leading impediments to produce purchases among consumers. The size of the Jubilee is one way to alleviate some concern about waste, but the Jubilee packs also carry a “best by” date, with a guarantee of 21 days of shelf life.

“We know of no other tomatoes with a ‘best by’ date, so I believe this is a first for the category,” said Joergensen.

In addition to good shelf life, the Jubilee variety carries a high Brix level of at least 5.8, according to Joergensen.

Jubilee is available in a five-count retail pack as well as a 12-count club pack, which made its debut in May. Current marketing efforts are concentrated in the West, but Joergensen said he expects availability will be nationwide in six to 12 months.

“We’re very excited about this,” said Joergensen. “As a company, we’ve been working on this for the last seven years. While we are continuing to refine it, we feel we have a very good start.”

Also at the United Fresh expo, NatureSweet unveiled a new pack for its “Glory” brand cherry tomatoes and introduced its “Constellation” brand tomato medley pack.

“Glory is the same red cherry tomato variety we have had for the last 15 years, but we are now packing it in a new clamshell that is round instead of square,” he said. “The new pack gives the fruit better visibility and better ventilation.”

Regarding the Constellation tomato medley, Joergensen said it offers “a tomato for every occasion,” with various sizes and varieties available.

“There are a lot of tomato medleys out there, but this one gives a consistency not available in others. We found that consumers liked knowing what they were going to get.”

He said there are currently four different tomatoes available in Constellation, but that it would be available with up to six varieties.