Black Gold Farms digs deeper with a fresh look

Black Gold Farms is launching a fresh look and feel this summer that encompass all aspects of the grower, packer and shipper of potatoes. The brand and materials will be a comprehensive, consistent look and feel throughout all audiences that Black Gold Farms serves. New sales materials, a new website, enhanced social media, community outreach programs, fresh trade show presence, new packaging, in-store materials and other components will be rolling out all year long.blackgold

“We wanted to make sure we’re connecting what we’re doing in the field and on the farm to what we do in our communities, to how that affects the products we deliver to our customers," Leah Brakke, director of marketing for Black Gold Farms, said in a press release. "Then, at the end of the day, our consumers need to be excited about those products and that story. Regardless of what we do, what we grow, or where we grow — we want to make sure the message is the same to each audience — that when we dig together, we dig deeper.”

Black Gold Farms is committed to harnessing the latest science and technology to keep improving, creating better ways to produce fresh and healthy food, as well as to be part of the community and protect the earth. The three main pillars of the brand that each audience will fall under is Plate, Community or World.

“We have a lot of moving parts to our operation, and many different audiences that care about many different things," Eric Halverson, chief executive officer of Black Gold Farms, said in the release. "We really felt that we needed one solid message that regardless of who we were talking to, they understand what we stand for — our goal is to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the food that we grow, and to show that we’re grateful to those who trust us to get the job done — regardless if it’s a retailer, an employee or a consumer.”

OPMA names successor to retiring president

Virginia Zimm, president of Faye Clack Communications Inc., will take over as president of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association upon the retirement of current President Ian MacKenzie at the end of the year.

A longtime advocate and marketer for the produce industry, Zimm will work alongside MacKenzie at the OPMA Food Terminal office starting in September.opmaVirginia Zimm Her duties as president of FCC will be assumed by members of the organization’s management staff.

“Virginia’s 25 years of experience leading a successful marketing and PR firm in Canada that specializes in the promotion of fresh food will certainly bode well for the OPMA’s future”, MacKenzie said in a June 3 press release. “She is a proactive marketing and communications professional with excellent leadership skills and has an acute knowledge of media, technology, program evaluation, operational and budget management. Virginia is a team player who exudes energy, welcomes challenges and provides solutions as demonstrated during her tenure on the OPMA board.  She has a unique blend of marketing experience and food industry knowledge.”

“I’m honored to have been chosen by the OPMA Selection Committee to represent the OPMA as president starting in 2016,” Zimm added in the press release. “I love this industry and have such respect for the men and women who tirelessly provide fresh food for Canadians everyday. Produce is my passion and I can’t think of a better way to support this industry by offering my experience to build an even stronger marketing support organization for every member of the value chain.”

Red Sun Farms’ sustainable, organic grape tomato packaging

EC803 3 REVIf your customers love organic and love taking care of Mother Earth you're going to LOVE Red Sun Farms’ new sustainable, organic grape tomato packaging! 

With fully compostable, recyclable and biodegradable bases, and a re-sealable top seal that uses a 90 percent reduction on plastic, Red Sun Farms is proud to do its part to keep the planet (and your customers) healthy.

The Earthcycle base is made from a blend of only North American-sourced virgin and recycled wood pulp. It is certified compostable to BPI standards and produced on the east coast of Canada.EC803 2 REV The new pack style satisfies consumers' desire for less plastic, reduced waste to landfills, increased use of renewable resources, and local production versus offshore.   

Looking to add greenhouse grown organics to your category? Red Sun Farms grows a full line of organics in addition to conventional greenhouse-grown produce in its state-of-the-art facilities located in the United States, Mexico and Canada.  

Questions? Email Red Sun Farms' organics team at

Sid Wainer & Son offering retailers custom dried fruit and nut program

Sid Wainer & Son is adding repack capabilities to its newly built manufacturing facility in Mattapoisett, MA. The technology will pack dried fruits and nuts to order, giving resellers a customized experience and a fresh, juicy, high-quality product.

Retailers will have packaging options of both clam shells or gusseted bags in a variety of size options from two ounces to 10 pounds. There are over 50 varieties from around the world, including the exotic (dried kiwi, mulberries, cantaloupe, etc.), the familiar (cranberries, cherry), and organic options. Dried fruit is perfect for healthy impulse buys in the fresh produce, cheese and charcuterie sections of stores as well as at the register for grab-and-go.

"We are on a mission to help retailers provide healthy, on-the-go options that their customers can feel good about. People want healthy options without hidden ingredients. And that's exactly what we're offering," Henry Wainer, president and a member of the third generation of Sid Wainer & Son, based in New Bedford, MA, said in a press released. "Our choice of packing to order ensures you receive the freshest and most flavorful product possible. They've become a staple in my family. Once you taste these you'll know this is not just any dried fruit."

United Fresh organizes Capitol Hill briefing on salad bar legislation

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) introduced legislation to expand grant funding for the salad bar in schools program and Ken Holthouse, owner and partner of Doug Walcher Farms, said he hopes the bill “puts this thing on steroids.”

In a crowded room on Capitol Hill June 3, Rep. Ryan joined Holthouse, scientists, a foodservice director, school children from Georgia and two other lawmakers in urging congressional staff to tell their bosses to support the legislation.IMG 1763Diane Harris of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; Ken Holthouse of Doug Walcher Farms; Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH); Stephanie Scarmo of Pew Charitable Trusts; Carrie Beegle of Cloverleaf Local Schools; and standing in front are two elementary school students from a Carrollton, GA, school.

The popular briefing organized by United Fresh Produce Association comes as Congress debates school nutrition reauthorization of child nutrition programs and some opponents are trying to repeal the requirement that school meals contain at least one-half cup of fruits and vegetables.

Rep. Ryan’s seven-page bill would establish grant funding to provide training, technical assistance and placement of salad bars in elementary, middle and high schools.

“We’re a sick country,” and the “sooner we admit that, the better we’ll be,” said Rep. Ryan. Also speaking in support of the bill was Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), who said the mounting health care costs mean “we have to grow healthier people.” Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) also spoke in favor of salad bars, recounting her experience as principal of a Florida school.

Holthouse, president of Ohio Producer Growers & Marketers Association, said the salad bar program is “not only helping the health of our country, it’s helping the health of our industry.”

Along with United Fresh, he said he’s helped donate salad bars in western schools, and just last week watched school-aged children select a variety of fruits and vegetables from a new salad bar. North Fairfield, OH-based Doug Walcher Farms grows, packs and ships vegetables from more than 1,500 acres of farms across six states.

Two children from Carrollton, GA, attended a White House garden event and brought their observations to the briefing. “There’s always something up there you like,” said one boy.

Studies show that school-based salad bars are very effective in introducing children to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at an early age, said Diane Harris, a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, a partner in the Let’s Move program to expand salad bars. For example, one study found youth vegetable consumption was 48 percent greater in schools with a salad bar, she said.

On the issue of plate waste, Carrie Beegle, foodservice director for Ohio’s Cloverleaf Local Schools, said she instructs children to choose only items they plan to eat and she’s seen no uptake in plate waste.

Most schools, however, do not have funding for the equipment, Beegle said, and the grant program will help schools overcome that barrier.