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GloriAnn Farms donates to Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

After a two-year success, GloriAnn Farms and its partner, Five Crowns Marketing, are once again featuring their "Support Our Troops" campaign. glorFor every retail case of corn sold to participating retailers in August, GloriAnn Farms will make a donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which contributes to the families of military personnel lost or injured in duty.

"This marks a third exciting year partnering with the Fallen Heroes Fund," Mark Bacchetti, one of the principals of GloriAnn Farms, said in a press release. "We are so fortunate to be involved with a prominent organization that supports the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. We have been able to consistently contribute approximately $18,000 to the fund and are eager to make a larger contribution this year."

The GloriAnn tray packs for the month of August will include a sticker highlighting the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. According to Daren Van Dyke, director of sales and marketing for Five Crowns, "The sticker is an insignia to promote a worthy cause, which is also a unique merchandising opportunity for customers.” 

For promotion details, customers can contact their sales representative and visit for any additional information.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

Peru a key asparagus supplier to the U.S. market

The Peruvian Asparagus Importer’s Association has released its 2014-15 category management plan outline for fresh Peruvian asparagus. It noted that fresh asparagus continues to be a high-volume U.S. import, with over 403 million pounds imported into the U.S. and consumed throughout the United States, according to the Department of Commerce. Peru remains to be a key supplier to the U.S. market, representing over 47 percent of the import supply and over 45 percent of the total U.S. import dollar value for asparagus.PAIA-Logo

The survey results concluded that U.S. shoppers are adding asparagus to their carts more than in the past, making asparagus the third-most popular item that consumers say they are now buying, and the association anticipates increasing consumption and demand for fresh asparagus in 2014.

The 2014-15 category management plan outline for fresh Peruvian asparagus specifically includes statistics relating to market summaries, trends, nutritional facts and consumer positioning. The plan provides fresh-market asparagus consumption key demographics and suggestions regarding displays, as well as promotional and advertising ideas that offer retailers with creative fresh strategies to increase sales of Peruvian asparagus.

“The category management plan outline for fresh Peruvian asparagus is a resource/tool that industry and retailers will use to sell more asparagus," Priscilla Lleras, PAIA coordinator, said in a press release. "The plan contains statistics, trends and strategies that will equip retailers and the industry at large with the most updated information in the category. The plan also contains the necessary summary information of the health benefits, value and convenience of fresh Peruvian asparagus that should make Peruvian asparagus a staple for every U.S. household."

The plan is available from any member of the Peruvian Asparagus Importer’s Association or by contacting its coordinator, Priscilla Lleras, at

Unified Grocers names new VP of logistics

Unified Grocers Inc. announced that Vic Versino has joined the company as vice president of logistics. He joins the company from DVD rental kiosk company Redbox, where he was vice president of logistics and inventory, responsible for streamlining and automating distribution operations. Previously, Versino held logistics leadership positions with Supervalu, Kellogg and Martin Brower/McDonald's.

vicpicVic VersinoVersino takes over the position previously held by John Wiedmann, who recently announced his retirement from the company. Versino will oversee company-wide distribution, transportation and maintenance functions. He will be responsible for developing logistics and distribution strategies to ensure the needs of its members are met.

Versino will report to Bob Ling, Unified's president and chief executive officer.

"Vic is an accomplished executive who brings a wealth of experience in food distribution. Unified is extremely fortunate to have a man of Vic's experience and caliber as a member of our officer team," Ling said in a press release. "Logistics is a key part of our business and vital to our growth plans. I'm confident Vic will carry on the tremendous work John Wiedmann and his team have done to help drive sales and reduce expenses."

As vice president of supply chain for Supervalu Eastern Region, Versino managed logistics operations for three large distribution centers and oversaw a workforce of more than 1,500 employees. As senior director of DSD Operations for Kellogg, he managed logistics services for 45 distribution centers. In this role, he was responsible for implementing operations and technology improvements across Kellogg's distribution network. He implemented Lean process improvement initiatives and instituted KPI standards.

Versino started his career with Martin-Bower Co., a third-party logistics company responsible for managing logistics for McDonald's franchises. He started as a shift manager and worked his way up to president of the Latin America division, where he managed operations for nine distribution centers in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Brazil.

Versino holds a bachelor's degree in business and logistics from Penn State University.

Capespan North America launches ClemGems

Capespan North America, a leader in supplying deciduous and citrus fruit year-round to North American retailers, club stores and wholesalers, announced the launch of ClemGem, the brand name for the company’s clementines and other easy-peeling soft citrus products.

IMG 3642-3“We developed the branding to be especially kid-friendly,” Mark Greenberg, chief executive officer of Capespan North America, said in a press release. “Consumer attraction to clementines and other easy-peelers has grown dramatically in recent years. The product is healthy, great-tasting and available year-round. That they are easy to peel makes them very popular with kids.”  

Greenberg said that Capespan North America will source the highest quality clementines and Mandarins from South Africa, Chile and Peru and will market them to the consumer as ClemGems in the summer and early autumn months. “We will package the ClemGems in the popular two-, three- and five-pound bags at facilities in New Jersey, California and Texas," he said. "We will also be marketing domestically produced ClemGems in the winter and spring.” 

The products will be available at retail and club stores nationally.

Greenberg added that it is clear that the soft citrus sector into which ClemGems fall responds well to branding. “This drove our decision to make the packaging appealing to both parents and children,” he said.