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PEI Potato Board elects new executive for 2015

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board has will have a new executive and three new directors as a result of its Dec. 16 board of directors meeting.peoopeo

The new vice chairman of the board is Rodney Dingwell of Morell. He and his family own and operate Mo Dhaicdh Farm Ltd., growing processing and tablestock potatoes. Dingwell represents the processing sector for the Montague-Souris district on the board.

Alex Docherty of Elmwood was re-elected for a second year as chairman of the board. He and his family own and operate Skyeview Farms Ltd., growing seed and tablestock potatoes. Docherty also represents the seed sector for the Charlottetown district on the board.

The third member of the executive committee is Darryl Wallace of Wallace Family Farms in Cascumpec, who was elected secretary-treasurer. Wallace represents the processing sector for the West Prince district.  

Also joining the board are three new directors: Jason Hayden of Cherry Valley, who will be representing the tablestock sector for the Montague-Souris district; Wayne Townshend of Fortune Bridge, who will be representing the seed sector for the Montague-Souris district; and Fulton Hamill of Searletown, who will be representing the tablestock sector for the Summerside district.

The returning board directors are Donald Godfrey, Kirk Shea, Owen Ching, David Francis, John Hogg and Glen Rayner.

The board also recognized the efforts of retiring board members Gary Linkletter, Charles Murphy and Irwin Jay for their service over the past few years.

El Niño could affect Chilean table grapes

The presence of El Niño can significantly influence weather patterns across large portions of the globe for an extended period of time. “El Niño is real,” stressed Mark Greenberg, president and chief executive officer of Capespan North America, a global supplier of fresh fruit. “Its impact is felt with increased moisture and precipitation in the eastern Pacific, and its effects will most likely be felt in Chile and Peru [this season].

“When it assembles in a manner that dramatically affects South America, it usually makes its first presence known around Christmas, and this is what is expected in Peru this year,” he continued. “But its impact on Chilean table grapes could be more extensive. If the powerful El Niño effect that all are predicting actually comes to pass, we could see more summer rain in Chile`s mid-season table grape growing areas and more humidity. Depending upon the stage of the grapes’ production, this can have varying effects on fruit condition and quality.”

The weather in northern Chile, where the country’s earliest grapes were being harvested in early December, appeared to be having a more seasonable early summer with clear warm days after having suffered devastating autumn rain and a peculiarly cool early spring.

Greenberg pointed out that the weather in the areas to the south of Copiapó, from where the mid- and late-season grapes will be harvested, is a little less normal.

“There has been unusual morning cloud and risk of precipitation, especially in areas close to the Cordillera,” he said. “In early December, we normally expect clear warm days with no real risk of rain.”

Dandrea Produce bringing joy to children of staff members and others

In mid-December, Dandrea Produce LLC, based in Vineland, NJ, had just wrapped up its employee-based gift drive. During the fund-raising event it collected thousands of dollars to provide the children of its entire warehouse and repack division employees with gifts for the holidays.

“We used the excess money to purchase gifts for other charities as well,” said Lauren Dandrea, a fourth-generation Dandrea family member who works in international procurement for the company. “We plan to make this an annual gift drive, and we are really excited about it.”DandreaFullSizeRenderFourth-generation Dandrea family members Lauren Dandrea, Peter Dandrea, Adam Dandrea and Jana Dandrea with Nick Ott, Dandrea’s office manager, pictured in a pile of holiday gifts destined for the children of Dandrea Produce staff members.

The 2015 gift drive was the company’s first organized fund raiser. Its goal was to raise $5,000 for 75 children, with contributions from employees in the sales office and Dandrea families.

“We surpassed that goal and raised $7,000,” said Dandrea. “Rather than distribute the cash, we created gift bags with five or six presents for each child based on their gender and age. All excess toys were donated to the Toys for Tots Foundation.”

The Toys for Tots program is operated by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.

Dandrea said because the fund raiser was so successful, the company has decided to make it an annual gift drive. The outside charity choices may vary in the future.

“The gift giving drive is an extension of the ideals of Dandrea Produce,” Dandrea pointed out. “We strive to be a company of integrity, compassion and kindness. We are all about our employees, and to an even greater extent, to their children. People are working hard every day to make ends meet and we wanted to alleviate some of that pressure for our employees so that they could bring happiness to their families.”

She added that the company was overwhelmed by the generosity of those who contributed to its holiday gift drive this year.

“It was an incredibly touching experience,” said Dandrea. “We are hopeful that we made Christmas a little less stressful for our families, and we hope that other companies in our industry will consider similar measures.

“Dandrea Produce is its employees, and we are extremely appreciative of each and every one of them,” she added.

New Sobeys banner focused on fresh and healthy food options

Sobeys unveiled its new convenience and fuel store format to customers in Atlantic Canada, giving customers healthier options, like freshly made salads. A fresh take on the traditional convenience offer, Sobeys express features tasty, on-the-go meal solutions for travelers.sobeys

“Consumer research has shown us that customers are looking for more fresh food options to meet their on-the-go needs. They also want a one-stop shop for food and fuel and Sobeys express meets those customer needs in a larger and brighter store,” Valerie Ryan, vice president, convenience and fuel, Sobeys Atlantic, said in a press release. “Sobeys express will carry a broader assortment of traditional convenience items; however, the new format will focus on the customer looking for a fresher alternative.”

The Sobeys express store, inspired by Sobeys Inc.’s IGA express banner in Quebec, offers customers fresh, healthy alternatives to traditional convenience store snacks and meal ideas. Customers will taste the same quality and freshness they experience at their local Sobeys and Foodland stores.

“Sobeys express is a new concept for convenience shopping in Atlantic Canada,” added Ryan. “Rotisserie chickens and freshly made salads aren’t your typical convenience store fare but based on our customer research, we know customers want better choices when they are on the go and Sobeys express stores will set us apart from the traditional convenience retailers in this regard.”

“As we continue on our journey to help Canadians eat better, feel better and do better, we understand how important it is to offer a better-for-you option for our convenience customers,” Peter Doucette, general manager of Sobeys Atlantic, said in the release. “They want better food choices when they are on the go and Sobeys express will provide them with exactly that.”

Love Beets expands juice line with Organic Beet Juice with a Hint of Ginger

Love Beets, a line of premium, all-natural, ready-to-eat beet products, is growing its juice family with the introduction of an innovative Organic Beet Juice with a Hint of Ginger, which will be in retailers nationwide, as well as on Love Beets’ online store, later this month. lovebeetsginger

Love Beets’ Organic Beet Juice with a Hint of Ginger, which has a naturally smooth taste and the perfect gingery kick, comes in a sleek 14-ounce glass bottle that aligns with the company’s fun, upbeat brand identity.

Like the other juices in Love Beets’ lineup, this new offering is gluten-free, with a 100 percent clean ingredient deck and no added sugar.

“We’re thrilled to ring in the New Year with this exciting new addition to our product line,” George Shropshire, vice president of Love Beets, said in a press release. “We have received such positive feedback on our Organic Beet Juice this past year that we wanted to offer consumers another flavor profile without sacrificing the beet-based simplicity that they have come to love.”

Anotherlovebeets great selling point of the Organic Beet Juice with a Hint of Ginger is its versatility, Shropshire said. He recommended drinking the juice exactly as is, but said it would also be the perfect ingredient for smoothies, salad dressings, marinades and more.

Beyond its natural tastiness, consumers also love beet juice for its functionality. Recent scientific studies have found that the nitrates in beet juice can help to improve stamina and endurance, while the potassium helps the body recover and rejuvenate. Research also suggests that drinking beet juice daily can improve overall heart health.

Love Beets looks forward to expanding the Organic Beet Juice line to include more innovative and flavorful options in its “Hint Of” juice range in the near future.