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Wonderful Sweet Scarletts now available in stores nationwide

The makers of Wonderful Pistachios, POM Wonderful and Wonderful Halos are bringing its newest and sweetest sensation — Wonderful Sweet Scarletts Texas red grapefruits — to produce aisles nationwide.

Sweet Scarletts are grown, packed and shipped in Texas by Paramount Citrus, a leading North American citrus grower.scarlet The warm Texas climate, with its sunny days with cool nights, yields the sweetest premium red grapefruits. Sweet Scarletts will be in season and available throughout the United States and Canada from November through May.

"Sweet Scarletts are so sweet, they will change the way you think about grapefruits," David Krause, president of Paramount Citrus, said in a press release. "Texas red grapefruits are not only a simple healthy snack, but they are also a perfect addition to salads, smoothies and even as a dessert."

Texas red grapefruit has a number of health benefits and can be easily incorporated into a healthy eating or weight management plan. Half of a medium grapefruit is roughly 60 calories and provides 100 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. In addition, Sweet Scarletts grapefruit is positively verified by the Non-GMO Project.  

"Wonderful Brands is known for transforming commodities like pistachios, pomegranates, almonds and mandarins into healthy brands, and we're looking to do the same thing with grapefruits," Krause added in the press release. "When consumers choose Wonderful Sweet Scarletts, they know they're enjoying a premium product that was cared for by us from tree to table."

Wonderful Sweet Scarletts are sold in five-, eight- and 10-pound bags, as well as in an eight-pound box and as loose individual fruit in produce aisles of leading grocery, mass merchant and club stores.

The launch will be supported with new displays, point-of sale materials, retailer promotions, free standing inserts, consumer print, customer-specific marketing programs as well as public relations and digital activations. For more information, visit SweetScarletts.com.

Smith assumes chairmanship of Western Growers Association, Pasquinelli honored

LAS VEGAS, NV — Vic Smith of JV Smith Cos. in Yuma, AZ, was elected chairman the board for the next year at the 89th Western Growers Annual Meeting, held here Nov. 2-5.

Other highlights of the event including Gary Pasquinelli of Pasquinelli Produce Co. being presented with the group's prestigious Award of Honor, and outgoing Chairman of the Board Bruce Taylor of Taylor Farms California Inc. in Salinas, CA, challenging grower-shippers to be more collaborative and stop beating each other up over a nickel.

Smith will preside over the association for the next year, serving along with other officers including Senior Vice Chairman Larry Cox of Lawrence Cox Ranches in Brawley, CA, Vice Chairman Sammy Duda of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Treasurer Carol Chandler of Chandler Farms and Executive Secretary Garland Reiter of Reiter Affiliated Cos.

Pasquinelli, who has served on the WGA board since 1972 and was chairman of the association more than a decade ago, was presented the Award of Honor at a special dinner on Tuesday night, Nov. 4. The veteran Yuma grower-shipper of vegetables, watermelons and other crops is the longest-serving director in the history of the association. His longtime friend, Sonny Rodriguez of The Growers Co. Inc. in Somerton, AZ, presented the award citing Pasquinelli's service to the industry and his community.

Long a deacon in the Catholic Church, Pasquinelli is noted for his charitable endeavors as well as being one of the best employers in all of agriculture. He is often lauded for treating his employees as members of his extended family.

In Taylor's outgoing chairman of the board address, he said it is "time for the industry to consider a change." While he said those in attendance have proven to be "winners" in the industry as so many others have gone by the wayside over the years, the longtime industry innovator said future success calls for a new way of doing things.

Taylor said the industry is being attacked from all sides, including its buying partners. He noted that Whole Foods touts organic produce as being better than conventional products and a Chipolte ad equates conventional product as being "fake" food. He said these attacks are undermining the public's confidence in the food supply and are not sustainable.

"We have a battle on our hands," he said.

But instead of fighting together, he believes the industry spends way too much time, energy and resources fighting each other and driving the price of fruits and vegetables down by underbidding the value of the products. He suggested the industry use the legal means at its disposal, including co-ops, to negotiate higher prices, which Taylor believes are absolutely necessary for survival.

He also believes the industry should conduct a very aggressive public relations campaign to better tell its story. Taylor said social media allows for such a campaign at a reasonable cost. He noted that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised $120 million by creating an innovative idea and harnessing social media.

"We have terrific messages and we need to share them," said Taylor.

The Taylor Farms chief executive officer also called for the acceleration of innovation. Again, he believes collaboration is the key to solving some of the industry's issues through technology.

Taylor quoted from his grandfather's outgoing WGA chairman address, which was delivered 76 years ago. Many of the problems that the iconic Bruce Church complained about in 1938 — such as low prices and government regulations — are the same ones on the table today.

"I don't want to have the same battles 76 years from now," he said. "I want to be in charge of our own destiny."

Nature Fresh Farms brings living greenhouse to Royal Winter Fair

Build it and they will come has long been known as a motivational statement to generate new ideas. But for Nature Fresh Farms, building a mobile micro greenhouse and taking it to the general public has proven to be a consumer education success.Logosde

"We welcome the opportunity to connect face to face with consumers as often as we can," Peter Quiring, president of Leamington, ON-based Nature Fresh Farms, said in a press release. "The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto is a fantastic event for us to showcase our micro greenhouse operation. It gives us an opportunity, first hand, to help educate consumers about greenhouse grown produce. The micro greenhouse is a living attraction and allows us to physically demonstrate to consumers how tomato plants are grown in a greenhouse environment, it really helps put things in perspective."

Nature Fresh's micro greenhouse is the first of its kind as it is a completely mobile unit. With its success a year ago at the Royal and at the United Fresh convention in June, Quiring and his team are looking forward to taking the unique agricultural attraction back to Toronto this year.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair takes place Nov. 7-16 in Toronto at Exhibition Place in the Direct Energy Centre.

Highlighting the core 11 elements in the growing process, the greenhouse is equipped with live plants that are growing tomatoes, a complete irrigation and heating system, and a contained area with live bees. Nature Fresh uses bees to pollinate the plants in its greenhouses as well as ladybugs as part of the company's integrated pest management system to reduce the need for pesticides.

The Nature Fresh team will be on site daily to answer consumer questions about the micro greenhouse operation and greenhouse-grown produce in general. Nature Fresh Corporate Chef Henry Furtado (@VeggieChefHenry) will also be on site preparing dishes on the Food & Lifestyle Stage.

Delhaize sells Bottom Dollar to Aldi

Delhaize Group has signed an agreement with ALDI Inc. to sell its Bottom Dollar Food´s 66 store locations in the greater Philadelphia and greater Pittsburgh markets for approximately $15 million and includes the assumption of associated lease liabilities. The transaction is expected to result in an asset impairment and other charges for Delhaize Group of approximately $180 million.

All stores are anticipated to remain open as Bottom Dollar Food stores until the end of 2014. After that time, Bottom Dollar Food will close the stores and retire the banner´s operations. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter 2015.

“I would like to thank our Bottom Dollar Food associates for their hard work and dedication to their customers,” Frans Muller, president and chief executive officer of Delhaize Group, said in a press release. “The divestiture of Bottom Dollar Food further simplifies our business, increases debt capacity and creates shareholder value. Today´s announcement is consistent with our strategy, announced in March, of investing in and focusing on our core markets.”

The Fresh Market expands its reach in Texas

The Fresh Market Inc. will expand its presence next month with a new store in Dallas, marking the company’s fifth store in the state of Texas.

“We are excited to open our new store in Dallas and to expand our reach in Texas,” Craig Carlock, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release.freshmarket “We look forward to introducing The Fresh Market’s concept of quality perishables, excellent customer service and a unique atmosphere to an expanded customer base, and we look forward to offering neighboring communities a rewarding new food shopping experience.”

The new store will open Dec. 3, and grand opening activities will include chef demonstrations, food sampling throughout the store and drawings for The Fresh Market gift cards.

The new store will house over 24,000 square feet of culinary delights, including a produce department with more than 400 items and a large organic selection.

“The Fresh Market’s inviting atmosphere is reminiscent of European markets,” Carlock said in the release. “Our customers enjoy shopping in an environment that appeals to all the senses. The smell of freshly brewed coffee and bread right out of the oven, the sound of classical music, soft lighting with antique décor in an intimate setting, and the ability to select and taste fresh, high-quality products all work together to create surroundings where customers are encouraged to experience the food.”

The company has made a significant investment in the market and the new store is bringing approximately 90 new jobs to the area, most of which are being filled locally.

The new store will partner with North Texas Food Bank by providing regular donations of food. In addition, as part of the company’s focus on providing the freshest, best quality products, the store will feature a growing number of local and regional products from area growers and producers.