Village Farms a finalist in United Fresh New Products Awards competition

Village Farms International, headquartered in Heathrow, FL, is a finalist in two categories in this year’s United Fresh New Products Awards competition. Its new Cabernet Estate Reserve tomato, a brown cherry on-the-vine, is in the Best New Vegetable category, and its True Rebel Mix one-pound clamshell is a finalist in the Best New Packaging category.

The True Rebel Mix packaging features a QR code that links back to the Village Farms website for an exclusive recipe created by corporate Chef Darren Brown. Once on the webpage users can find nutritional facts and varietal information.

Village Farms will be at suite 2046 with all of its exclusive and unique products, including Cabernet Estate Reserve, Cherry no.9 fall in love again, True Rebel mix pack, as well as a host of other greenhouse-grown tomato, pepper and cucumber varieties. Village Farms’ exclusive Heavenly Villagio Marzano will be on display and available for tasting.

Walmart sees leadership change

The board of directors of Walmart Stores Inc. elected Greg Penner to the position of board chairman, effective at the end of its June 5 shareholders’ meeting. Penner, who previously served as the board’s vice chairman, takes over from Rob Walton, who served as chairman of the board since 1992 and will continue to serve as a director.

“This transition demonstrates Walmart’s commitment to long-term succession planning and keeping high-caliber, capable leaders at the head of our company,” Walton said in a press release. “Greg’s service to Walmart spans more than 15 years, and during that time he has had a significant impact, both as an associate and as a board member the past seven years. Greg has done an outstanding job as our vice chairman over the past year, and he has provided strong leadership and guidance as the chairman of our technology and ecommerce committee since it was formed in 2011. He brings an ideal blend of finance, technology and international business expertise — as well as a deep knowledge and love of Walmart — to this role.”

“It would be impossible to overstate Rob Walton’s impact on Walmart and how personally committed he has been over the years,” Penner said in the release. “I’m deeply honored to follow in his footsteps and recognize the deep responsibility I have to our associates, all shareholders and the board. I’ve admired this company since my first Saturday morning meeting more than two decades ago. I believe in its mission and the positive role it plays throughout the world. I am excited about continuing to work with our outstanding senior management team and talented Walmart associates at all levels of the company.”

Penner began his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. as an analyst specializing in corporate finance. He then joined Walmart as a management trainee and held a number of positions throughout the company, including senior vice president of finance and strategy for walmart.com and senior vice president and CFO–Japan. Since 2005, he has been a general partner of investment management firm Madrone Capital Partners. Penner joined the Walmart board of directors in 2008. He is the son-in-law of Rob Walton.

In addition to the board’s leadership changes, the company is also realigning the composition of its board committees so that most of the independent directors will serve on at least two board committees. This includes the company’s governance committees (the audit committee and the compensation, nominating and governance committee) and strategy committees (the strategic planning and finance committee and the technology and ecommerce committee).

“These changes reinforce our commitment to exclusively independent directors on our governance committees, and increases the number of independent members on our strategy committees, which have a majority of independent directors,” James I. Cash Jr., lead independent director of the board of directors, said in the press release. “This adjustment is consistent with Walmart’s approach to continuous improvement of our board practices and sound corporate governance.”

Mucci Farms continues Canadian expansion

In response to the increasing demand for locally grown, year-round produce, Mucci Farms is breaking ground on a 30-acre expansion. The greenhouses will be state of the art and some of the most technologically advanced and sustainable facilities in the industry.greenhouse

There will be a portion of the expansion that will include lit culture and grow lights in order to help facilitate in offering year-round production of locally grown and vine-ripened products. By increasing the number of months of local production Mucci Farms will increase the efficiency of energy and decrease food miles.  

This new expansion comes shortly after a large greenhouse, warehouse and corporate office expansion in 2013.  With the addition of this acreage, Mucci Farms will own and operate 180 acres of greenhouses while marketing for over 400 acres.  A family-run farm for over 50 years, Mucci Farms is one of the largest greenhouse producers in the industry and it is committed to continual growth.

"We are expanding our product offerings every day," the company said in a press release. "New to our lineup of greenhouse-grown products are SMUCCIES sweet strawberries, Naked Leaf living lettuce and herbs, HOTSHOTS mixed hot peppers as well as the recent introduction of Natural Organics."

The company said its growth solidifies its commitment to the "Mucci Farms" brand and to offering the freshest, most flavourful produce on the market.

Mucci Farms said it looks forward to the fruits of this expansion, which are expected to harvest this coming fall.

Orchard View Farms welcomes early cherry season

Harvest is under way at The Dalles-OR-based Orchard View Farms, where expectations are high for a fast-paced, top-quality cherry season.

Orchard View packed its first Chelans the last weekend in May, with Rainiers set to follow shortly, and Bings not far behind.Cherries washed

“Like other Pacific Northwest locations, cherry season came early to The Dalles,” Jon Bailey, sales manager responsible for Orchard View Farms, said in a press release. “Warm spring temperatures gave us the head start. It’s exciting because it means promotable cherry volumes will be available earlier than normal. Consumers will think that summer has arrived ahead of schedule, so we expect impulse purchases of cherries to go through the roof throughout June.”

The 2015 harvest marks the sixth season that Orchard View Farms has exclusively partnered with Oppy, a relationship that benefits customers looking for large-sized cherries from a regional alternative to central Washington.

“Oppy salespeople are on site through the season, working from the Orchard View pack house to ensure the fruit meets our customers’ specifications and the logistics run smoothly,” deal manager Larry Hanson, who has relocated to The Dalles for the last four seasons, said in the release. “It’s a combination that works.”

While Oregon’s volume was significantly reduced by 2014’s fall cold snap, Orchard View’s fruit quality remains high, and consistent supplies of preferred cherry varieties — and sizes — will be available throughout the season.

“The higher elevation of Orchard View Farms’ blocks helped the tonnage to recover a little better than initially forecast,” Bailey said. “We know we are very fortunate that we can bring a program of this quality to the market this year.”

Orchard View Farms cherries will be packed in high-graphic pouch bags, available in in both 27-pound (12/2.25-pound) and 18-pound (8/2.25-pound) configurations to complement clamshell offerings.

Ruby Fresh named New Product Award finalist

Ruby Fresh has been selected as one of 13 finalists for the 2015 New Product Award: Best New Packaging at the 2015 United Fresh Conference & Expo in Chicago. This is the third consecutive year Ruby Fresh is being recognized for its innovative packaging design.Jewels-Cups-IMPACTAWARDS-copy Winners will be announced at the United Fresh membership booth on Wednesday, June 10 at 3 p.m.

The new Ruby Fresh Jewels Grab-N-Go pomegranate aril cups, in four- and 5.3-ounce cups, now come in two-packs and four-packs. Display-ready, these convenient Grab-N-Go Pomegranate Aril snack cups were designed in stand-up packaging to be displayed in refrigeration units. The eye-catching sleeve allows for product information to be readily available while still letting the consumer view the pomegranate arils in the convenient snack cups.

Processed pomegranate arils have been gaining popularity with consumers, not only as an ingredient but also as a healthy snack rich in antioxidants. Ruby Fresh Jewels pomegranate aril cups are proportioned to make them a convenient, healthy snack for adults and kids alike. Their re-sealable lid maintains freshness while making them easy to measure and add to recipes. Additional improvements to sleeve design, including it’s snap-lock enclosure and finger-grabs, add to the packaging’s uniqueness.