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Pure Flavor Bell peppers out of this world, on International Space Station

Pure Flavor has provided greenhouse-grown Bell peppers for the crew members of the International Space Station. These peppers will be part of the fresh food supply delivered on the Space X-4 cargo flight.purvla

On Sept. 21, Space X-4 began its cargo flight from Cape Canaveral, FL, to bring supplies to ISS, including a list of highly nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We are honored to be part of this adventure to bring fresh vegetables to space” Matthew Mastronardi, chief marketing officer at Pure Flavor, said in a press release. “All of us at Pure Flavor are very excited to be working with NASA in their journey to explore the universe in a healthy way.”

Early in the space program prepared meals for astronauts in space were only available in semi-liquid form stored in specially designed packages. A few short decades later, technology has evolved and has given astronauts the ability to have more variety and better food selections, which include some fresh fruits and vegetables.

"Pure Flavor would like to thank NASA for including us in this amazing journey and look forward to other future opportunities," the company said in the release. "The company wishes the crew members all the best and have a safe return flight back to earth."

San Miguel announces expansion plans, including partnership with Herndon Farms in Georgia

San Miguel Produce Inc. announced a two-phase expansion of new and expanded growing-processing operations in both the east and west.

The Oxnard, CA-based company said its national retail and foodservice growth of nutrient-dense, specialty greens has made it necessary to expand its growing and processing operations two-fold to provide a comprehensive and strategic, farm-fresh, grower-direct, value-added greens program to meet the demand of its customer base.

The first of the company's two-part expansion is the addition of the new Georgia plant to open this winter. This location will service its current customer base in the midwestern and eastern regions of North America and open opportunities for new business in this region. This new growing-processing operation is a partnership between San Miguel Produce and long-time grower Herndon Farms in Lyons, GA. Construction of the new processing facility is expected to be completed by November.

The second phase of the company's expansion is the addition of 40,000 square feet to its current plant in Oxnard, CA. This expansion will help service the company's customer growth in the western region and expand its product line and volume. Expected completion time for phase two is 2016.  

The combined two farms and facilities will enable San Miguel to triple its current growing and production capacity and provide better service for its expanding national customer base of retail and foodservice partners.

Both facilities will be adding new advanced technologies and processes designed for the many innovative products the company continues to offer and grow.

In addition, both farms and facilities expect to continue to add many new jobs in each region, enhancing the communities they serve.

These two new state-of-the-art processing facilities will set a new industry standard by providing greater innovation platforms for growing and processing dark leafy greens, building on its nearly 40-year heritage for growing greens and 20 years of processing high-quality fresh-cut specialty greens.

San Miguel's brands include:

Cut 'N Clean Greens - an extensive line of nutrient dense, specialty greens, both conventional and organic. The Cut 'N Clean Greens line is considered the cornerstone product of the company and was the first washed, chopped, ready-to-use bag greens on the market launched in 1995. Today, the company said it offers the most varieties of specialty greens year-round throughout North America.

Jade - an authentic Asian greens line that was the first washed, ready-to-use fresh Asian greens on the market when it launched in 2008.

San Miguel Produce - conventional and organic bunch greens that are considered a premium brand nationally for quality and consistency year-round since. San Miguel was established in 1976

As a focused niche company, vertically integrated to manage all aspects of growing, processing and marketing its products, San Miguel has earned the reputation for being the category leader for specialty greens. The company is driven by innovation, quality, data, nutrition and consumer trends all which have played a significant role in helping to take nutrient dense greens such as kale, chards, collard and bok choy mainstream and onto the plates of consumers everywhere.

San Miguel has been an integral part of the Ventura County community for 40 years and new investments like these signify the company's continued growth and commitment to Ventura County, CA. The company also looks forward to building on that same commitment with its partner Herndon Farms in its new, second home of Toombs County, Lyons, GA.

Food Lion partners with Charlotte Hornets for hunger relief

The Charlotte Hornets have teamed up with Food Lion on a multi-year, multi-faceted partnership that establishes Food Lion Feeds as the official hunger-relief partner of the Charlotte Hornets. The two organizations tipped off the partnership at Highland Renaissance Academy in Charlotte, NC, by distributing more than 9,500 meals to 300 school families with the help of Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina's mobile food pantry. 

Hornets players Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller lent a helping hand by participating in the meal distribution. The partnership and food donations are part of Food Lion's commitment to provide 500 million meals by the end of 2020.

"We are extremely happy to welcome Food Lion Feeds as the official hunger-relief partner of the Charlotte Hornets," Fred Whitfield, Hornets Sports & Entertainment president and chief operating officer, said in a press release. "Food Lion Feeds and the Charlotte Hornets share a desire to assist in our community and are committed to help end hunger in the Carolinas. Hunger is a growing concern and with this partnership, both organizations can continue to join forces to provide the necessary resources to those in need."

As the official hunger-relief partner of the Charlotte Hornets, Food Lion Feeds has committed to provide more than 300,000 meals over three years, including continued support of the Charlotte Hornets Foundation's annual Cornucopia event, which provides 1,000 Thanksgiving meals to low-income families. In addition, the Hornets and Food Lion Feeds will donate 200 turkeys to WFNZ's (610 AM) annual Street Turkeys initiative.

"We are honored to serve as the official hunger-relief partner of the Charlotte Hornets," Beth Newlands Campbell, president of Food Lion, said in the press release.  "When I was a store manager, I saw firsthand the tough choices customers are sometimes forced to make to feed their families. In difficult times, many people have to decide whether to pay rent, buy groceries or purchase gasoline to get to work, because they simply cannot do all three. At Food Lion, we believe no one should have to choose between dinner and paying rent or gasoline and buying groceries. We're committed to working to end hunger and making the lines shorter at Charlotte feeding agencies through Food Lion Feeds."

The two organizations will continue to identify hunger-relief efforts throughout the Charlotte community as part of each organization's philanthropic support over the next three years.

Garden Cut launches new branding and label design

"Garden Cut," a brand of Indianapolis Fruit Co., has launched a new branding and label design for its pre-cut and ready-to-use products in retail stores. A new "To Go Snack" line of produce-based products has also been released during the launch.  Starting Sept. 22, the newly branded Garden Cut products sold throughout the Midwest were available in hundreds of grocery stores.AppleSweet tartComboWedge12

“We are responding to the growing business segment of fresh-cut, more convenient product,” Mike Mascari, Indianapolis Fruit Co. owner, said in a press release.  “By updating our brand labeling and packaging, we have made Garden Cut product easier to locate in a store’s produce department and in more convenient portion sizes for consumer use.” 

Mascari also noted that pre-cut product appeals to customers who want to incorporate produce into their cooking and diet without the preparation time.

A Garden Cut task force reviewed current market trends, the competition and many designs before settling on the new brand identification. Product offerings were updated to streamline efficiencies in the packaging lines, yet still be able to respond quickly to on-demand customer orders. 

“The new To Go Snack offering is especially popular in convenience stores,” John Cunningham, director of sales and marketing, said in the release.  “We are happy to offer a fresh and healthier alternative in these locations, from a brand that the consumer can recognize and trust.”

“Brighter brand colors make the packaging more attractive while still showing the high quality of the produce product,” said Antonia Mascari, IFC marketing manager.  “We moved away from our previous green branding coloration because it could not be seen against green produce. The new purple and yellow brand colors make it easier to identify Garden Cut at the store level.”

Organic heirloom apple season begins at Frieda's

organicheirloomapplesFrieda's Organic Heirloom Apples are now available from Frieda's Specialty Produce. These 15 varieties of organic heirloom apples are available in short bursts throughout the season. Due to the short season and limited availability, most retailers and distributors pre-book theirs months in advance.

"Heirloom apples are especially flavorful and are a perfect symbol of fall," Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda's Specialty Produce, said in a press release. "And because ours are organic and grown in Oregon, they are extremely popular."

Among the varieties available from Frieda's are Cox's Orange Pippin, Matsu, Orleans Reinette, Roxbury Russet and Arkansas Black.