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Turbana taps into community opinion to find new social program to support

25Klogo-copyCorporations often donate money to charities or non-profits, but it’s rare to find an organization that lets the consumer decide where their support should go. Turbana, a premier banana producer,  is taking its social movement “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” to a new level by encouraging the community to speak up and choose causes close to their own hearts and homes.25kGroupPromo-copy The community cause that receives the most votes will win a $25,000 sponsorship, and Turbana will work with community members to instate a program that supports the cause.

Dubbed “Win 25K For Your Cause,” this interactive contest gives the community a chance to speak up, take action and have a big effect. The contest is fully housed within Turbana’s Facebook, and it is driven by consumer engagement, votes and shares throughout the period of July 1-Aug. 12. Consumers visiting the tab are invited to “tally” themselves into Turbana’s ongoing “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” movement, which focuses on empowering individuals to do good for their communities. During the voting period, they can nominate a cause of their choice or vote for a cause that has already been nominated.

Since Turbana’s main focus is on inspiring healthier, happier communities, it’s only appropriate that the company takes on such an ambitious call-to-action. Born from a cooperative of farmers seeking a better standard of living, Turbana takes pride in empowering the communities in which it is present.

“Win 25K For Your Cause” will empower individuals to make a difference by bringing light to community organizations that need support, while simultaneously bringing about positive change in their local areas. Turbana aims to produce a snowball effect by using the company’s own enthusiasm and passion for community involvement to inspire individuals to participate in giving back to their communities across the nation.

Pricing expected to be strong as NW onion growers begin new season

On March 31, Northwest Farm Credit Services looked at onion production during the 2013-14 crop year and provided some insights about upcoming production and pricing for 2014-15 in its Onion Market Snapshot. "Northwest onion markets are closing the 2013-14 marketing year strong, with prices bolstered by tight supplies," the agency stated. "However, growers' profits are mixed, depending on yields, quality, contracts and market timing."

NFCS noted that factors driving onion pricing included lower domestic supplies, fewer Mexican imports and good demand and prices. "In the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon, average onion yields and strong prices bolstered onion producers' financial position," the report went on to say.waCropOverviewNorthwest Farm Credit Services reported that pricing at the closing of the 2013-14 onion season were strong, bolstered by tight supplies. The organization anticipates onion growers in the Pacific Northwest will see stable to strong pricing as they move into the 2014-15 season. (Photo courtesy of Doug Wilson/U.S. Department of Agriculture) Quality and yield constraints, the organization indicated, "underpinned profitable early-season onion prices and fueled strong late-season onion markets." Pricing for yellow and white onions was up in the Colombia Basin, while pricing for reds was down.

Northwest Farm Credit Services discussed expectations for the 2014-15 season. "Near average to slightly lower onion acreages in the Northwest are expected to support stable to strong onion prices entering the 2014-15 onion marketing season," the agency wrote. "Projections for market strength are further supported by California onion production, where fewer late season onion acres are expected to reduce competition for new crop Northwest onions."

Information released by agricultural experts shows that onion production is big business in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon was the nation's second-largest producer of storage onions in 2012. According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which released its publication Oregon Agriculture: Facts and Figures in July 2013, the Beaver State produced 24 percent of national supplies. Storage onions ranked 10th on the state's Top 40 Commodities list for 2012 at a value of approximately $115.8 million.

Onions produced in Malheur County are part of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion growing region and represent significant volume for the state. The 2013 Agripedia, published by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, provided a snapshot of Oregon onion production during 2012. According to the report, a total of 10,600 acres of onions were harvested in Malheur County. Looking at the category "Other Oregon," ODA reported that 8,700 acres were harvested for the fresh market. Approximately 5,133 thousand hundredweight were produced with the value of production set at $43.7 million.

Last October, the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the Department of Agriculture's Regional Field Office in Olympia, WA noted that several commodities, including onions, reached commodity highs for 2012 production. "Record high values of production were set for six of the top 20 Washington commodities," NASS stated, adding that onions "increased 51 percent from the previous year."

"There is no question that all of this shows just how important agriculture is to our state's economy, said Bud Hover, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Data published in the 2013 Washington State Agricultural Bulletin provided some additional insights. According to the publication, Washington ranked 11th nationally for all onion production in 2012. The value of onion production was approximately $184 million.

Washington ranked second nationally for summer onion production, providing the nation with 23.1 percent of its supplies. In 2012, Washington producers harvested 3,100 acres of summer non-storage onions with production set at 1,147 thousand hundredweight. The value of production was $36.4 million, and the value per harvested acre was $11,766.

During the same crop year, producers harvested 23,500 acres of summer storage onions with production set at 13,865 thousand hundredweight. The value of production was $147.6 million, and the value per harvested acre was $6,282.

South African citrus adds color and hope to Nelson Mandela International Day

The South Africa Consulate General in New York and South African summer citrus will celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day Friday, July 18 on what would have been Mandela's 96th birthday.

South Africa is the world's second-largest exporter of citrus next to Spain. Two New York City celebrations will mirror programs in South Africa, where citrus production and export is changing the lives of the people there. The South African Consulate General of New York works consistently to promote and support the citrus program to the United State,Down-the-line-shotSixty-seven cartons of South African summer citrus will be presented to the Bowery Mission in New York City. In unity, a truck of fresh citrus will be unloaded at the Mission in bucket brigade manner. which contributes to the economic stability and growth of the Rainbow Nation to which Mandela dedicated his life.

With special focus on the number 67, the number of years Mandela is considered to have been in service to South Africa, New Yorkers are invited to commit 67 minutes in service to the community.    

A large inflated orange will draw people to a banner displaying Mandela's messages of service on July 18 from 2-3 p.m. at the Boys/Girls High School at 1700 Fulton St. in Brooklyn. This location was visited by Mandela, and a school sports field will be named in his honor. By signing the banner, individuals pledge 67 minutes of service to making the world a better place. Those attending will receive South African oranges. The banner will be presented to the Nelson Mandela Foundation at a later date.

Like South African Summer Citrus' Harvest of Hope program, the Bowery Mission provides opportunities to others. Some 67 cartons of South African summer citrus will be presented to the Bowery Mission at 227 Bowery in New York City. In unity, a truck of fresh citrus will be unloaded at the Mission in bucket brigade manner lead by Consul General George Monyemangene, citrus growers from South Africa, U.S. importer partners DNE World, Seald Sweet, Capespan and AMC Direct, and representatives from the Bowery Mission.

Harvest of Hope is an economic development program established by those South African citrus growers exporting to the United States, enabling farm employees to co-own land and secure a sustainable future for successive generations.

Since 1999, South African summer citrus has been exported to the U.S., providing consumers with citrus when domestic product is unavailable. Citrus from South Africa is exported via one of the more successful programs of the African Growth & Opportunity Act, an international treaty in consideration for renewal in 2015. South Africa Citrus is available in U.S. supermarkets from late June through October.

Jazz apple campaign raises funds for diabetes prevention

Through Crunch to Contribute, a social media campaign that offers a $1 donation to the American or Canadian Diabetes Association in exchange for every Jazz apple photo uploaded to, people everywhere are crunching for a cause.CrunchToContribute

Accessible via Facebook, smartphones and desktop computers, Crunch to Contribute boasts a growing gallery of images submitted by Jazz apple fans. The campaign extends through the end of September and aims to raise $20,000.

“New Zealand Jazz apples are exciting consumers’ taste buds while engaging their hearts,” David Nelley, apple and pear category director for The Oppenheimer Group, said in a press release. “A fresh, crunchy Jazz apple is an incredibly refreshing summer snack. And with a few quick clicks, people can post a fun photo while helping others.”

Participants can also share their Crunch to Contribute photos through various social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to invite their friends to get involved.

Diabetes continues to be a leading cause of death in North America, affecting nearly one in 10 people in the U.S. and roughly 7 percent of Canadians.

“Regular physical activity and healthy eating are important for all of us, particularly those at risk of or living with diabetes,” Nelley said. “Jazz apples can help in several ways. Being high in fiber, they add a healthy benefit to snacks and recipes. And through Crunch to Contribute, we can make funds available for investment in programs that support people living with diabetes and may help curb the growth rate of the disease in the future.”

Oppy is spreading the word about Crunch to Contribute through Facebook, Twitter, blogger outreach, in-store promotions and traditional media, with the support of the diabetes association partners who are introducing the campaign through their own social media platforms and events throughout the summer.

USA Pears celebrates school foodservice all-stars

School districts across the country are serving an unprecedented amount of fruits and vegetables in school lunches and breakfasts, and USA Pears is recognizing districts who have stepped up to put pears on students' plates.

USA Pears has named San Diego Unified School District, School District of Pickens County (South Carolina), and School District of New Berlin (Wisconsin) School Foodservice All-Stars for the 2014-15 season.

These districts have been chosen for frequently featuring pears on the menu, educating students and staff about pear ripening and varieties, and serving pears in fun and appealing ways. The districts serve pears in a variety of ways, including sliced and whole on the salad bar, alternating preparation to excite students and introduce them to new varieties.

Lisa Hayes, foodservice manager at School District of Pickens County, serves students "pear bow ties," a perennial favorite.

"Our students love the Bartlett, especially when we make bow ties," she said in a press release. "We serve two ripe pear halves in a boat with whipped cream and a cherry in honor of our principal, who wears bow ties every day."

The three districts serve a combined 213 schools, with more than 148,000 students. USA Pears is promoting the 2014-15 All-Stars at the School Nutrition Association Annual National Conference this week in Boston. This is the second year of the All-Stars program. In 2013-14, Seattle Public Schools, Bakersfield City School District, and Denver Public Schools were named USA Pears School Foodservice All-Stars.

"We're pleased to highlight school districts that are taking a creative approach to serving healthier meals in their cafeterias," Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of Pear Bureau Northwest, said in a press release. "By acknowledging districts that excel at serving pears, we hope to encourage others to do the same, providing students with a variety of fresh and appealing produce."