With a shorter crop this year than in 2013, the California avocado industry anticipated an earlier finish to the shipping season, with heavy volumes well into August but declining the latter part of the month and only moderate availability thereafter.
Due to the lighter supplies and the earlier finish, the California Avocado Commission will not carry its promotional activities as late into the season this year as it did in 2013, but those efforts will continue through Labor Day.
"The California Avocado Commission has key account retail and foodservice programs scheduled through Labor Day," said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the commission.
"On the consumer front, we are continuing our advertising campaign and introducing the second year of CAC’s program designed to build consumption of avocados at breakfast time," Delyser said. "For the latter, we’re launching a new Web page on July 30 at www.californiaavocado.com/avocados-for-breakfast , and will be sharing dozens of new breakfast recipes and usage tips for California avocados online and via social media. A dedicated email will feature an article by Registered Dietitian Michele Dudash. Another well-respected RD, Bonnie Taub-Dix will help promote CAC’s avocados for breakfast campaign via public relations outreach."
For retailers, "we are supplying 'Wake Up to Breakfast' recipe brochures that can be merchandised on California avocado displays," she said.
The commission "also maintains online and social media programs throughout the year to satisfy our fans. We share information about the growing and handling practices of premium California avocados and their season, as well as providing recipes and usage ideas," DeLyser continued.
In the foodservice sector, CAC "continues to promote California avocado usage through innovative menu ideas and limited time offers," DeLyser said in the statement. "These have not only been very successful at building demand in foodservice, but also have the additional benefit of introducing consumers to new usage ideas they can try at home.
Datassential Insider reported that this year it is 'all about the avocado' and noted growth in the following menu areas: sandwiches (+18 percent), burgers (+32 percent), pizza (+22 percent), and egg dishes (+15 percent). All of these growth areas have been part of CAC’s targeted outreach."
In the retail arena this year, DeLyser said, "we are excited with the progress the California avocado industry has made in making it easier for shoppers to tell when they are buying California avocado by improving on-fruit country of origin identification. We originally planned to test the concept of a California Avocado brand label at retail this year, but adoption of the idea has been widespread. Retailer reaction also has been very positive. Some retailers who like to promote locally-grown produce have expanded on the idea with their own point-of-sale materials trumpeting the California origin."
Another CAC marketing program "that has made great strides," Delyser said in the statement, "is our American Summer Holidays promotion, with emphasis on the Fourth of July." CAC started developing the promotional connection between avocados and “American Summer Holidays” about four years ago, she said. "It simply made sense to create California avocado recipes and usage ideas that tied in with summer gatherings during the peak of our season. The American Summer Holidays promotions have proven to be successful with this past Fourth of July exceeding all records for consumption (including Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo) with 109.3 million pounds."
With a smaller crop than last year, California had shipped about 230 million pounds of fruit as of July 21, with the season "about 65 percent complete" in terms of shipping volume, according to CAC President Tom Bellamore.
"We saw quite a bit of volume come off in the early part of the season" and continuing "strong through the summer, so we are expecting things to begin winding down by the end of August," Bellamore told The Produce News. "There will still be fruit into September, but probably just for select customers. I think the packers will work with several accounts to try to keep them in California fruit as long as they can, but I think it will become much more selective after the end of August."
Unlike some seasons when "we have been faced with higher inventories of the smaller-sized fruit," Bellamore said, the size profile of fruit in the market has been higher this year, and "the small fruit is performing very well price-wise.
Although fruit from other producing areas has been in the market throughout the California season, California fruit has held a premium, Bellamore said. "That is the case right now, and it has been the case for a good part of the season." It appears that the market "is rewarding California production for its freshness and proximity to market," he added.
Indianapolis Fruit Co. hosted its 27th annual golf outing and trade show July 21-22, drawing more than 100 vendor suppliers and 300 retail customers, making it the best attended event in the company's history. More than 450 total guests enjoyed the two-day expo, held at the Crane Bay Event Center in downtown Indianapolis.
The Produce Mom, the official blog and consumer brand of Indianapolis Fruit Co., hosted a welcome party to kick off the event festivities.
Members of The Produce Mom Family of Partners were entertained at the Indianapolis Colts Grille and enjoyed the opportunity to network, re-cap the 2014 achievements of The Produce Mom, and discuss brand goals and collaboration opportunities for the future.
"Viva Tierra Organic has been a long-standing partner of Indianapolis Fruit Company," said Deidre Smyrnos of Viva Tierra Organic. "Through The Produce Mom, we are innovating and growing together."
At the trade show, Indianapolis Fruit Co.'s vendor partners displayed and sampled their products during the showcase, and relished the opportunity to interact with retailers.
"The opportunity to connect and demonstrate our product with our Indy Fruit partners and retailers makes this a worthwhile investment of our time and resources," said Diana McClean of Tanimura & Antle.
A special appearance by NASCAR legend Donnie Allison and his grandson Justin Allison, a rising star in the ARCA series, provided some Hoosier hospitality and Indianapolis culture for the guests.
Chris Bonaminio, general manager of Jungle Jim's, praised the event, saying, "The show was a testament to the way Indianapolis Fruit Company conducts business: Friendly, honest and top-of-the-line."
Duda Farm Fresh Foods won the chef demo competition at the PMA Foodservice Conference with a recipe that featured the company’s value-added fresh celery and radish ministick products.
On Saturday, July 26, Chef Todd Fisher created and served a recipe for Lemongrass Steamed Chicken Bahn Mi Bun with "Dandy" Radish and Celery “Quickles” that won the chef demo competition. Seven chefs, each sponsored by various produce companies,participated in the competition, which featured an interactive deconstructed buffet.
“Celery is a staple in professional kitchens around the world, adding a crunch when raw and a distinct yet mellow flavor when cooked,” Fisher said in a press release. “In this recipe, the celery and radish made this bahn mi bun (a sandwich and a popular snack food in traditional Vietnamese cuisine) delicious and vibrant and aides in the addition of fresh produce to your plate.”
Fisher, a Monterey peninsula resident, has more than 20 years experience as a culinary veteran, restaurateur and food consultant. He has worked with Duda for more than 10 years and specializes in culinary education and entertainment.
“Chef Todd brought the fun and flavor to PMA Foodservice this year,” Nichole Towell, director of marketing Duda Farm Fresh Foods, said in the press release. “Our winning recipe was a true expression of the conference theme this year: Innovate the plate.”
The recipe will be featured on the company’s website, www.dudafresh.com.
With nearly 90 years of growing experience, Duda Farm Fresh Foods is one of the larger growers and processors of celery in the United States and around the world. Duda’s fresh-cut celery products are marketed under the "Dandy" brand and sold and served in retail and foodservice establishments throughout North America year-round.
Diane Kurrle, U.S. Apple Association’s vice president of public affairs, has been named senior vice president.
Kurrle is being recognized for more than 10 years of tireless work on critical industry issues.
“We are creating an expanded portfolio of responsibilities to leverage Diane’s unique talents, relationships and experiences both inside and outside of government," Jim Bair, president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "That portfolio will be relabeled Government Affairs. This will add clarity to the public’s understanding of her role here.”
USApple noted that during her decade with the association, Kurrle has been a vital asset and team member, excelling not only in terms of what the outside world sees, but also internally where she has stepped up to assist in the association’s management. Most recently, Kurrle juggled her own responsibilities while also acting as interim president and CEO.
Bair said he hopes the new moniker will better reflect Kurrle’s value to USApple and to more accurately signal to both external and internal audiences the breadth of responsibilities she executes.
The passing of Terry Vorhees, executive director and co-founder of the Southeast Produce Council, at age 64 the evening of July 30 sparked an outpouring of grief and respect from stunned peers and colleagues as the news spread rapidly through the produce industry.
The Produce News reached out to industry influencers and Southeast Produce Council members and leaders overnight for comment on the loss of a leader.
"Terry is the testament of great character to me. At times, he was like a father, brother and mentor to me. But most of all, he was my friend. God has blessed us all by sharing him with us." — David Sherrod, assistant executive director, Southeast Produce Council
"I first met Terry at the 2001 SPC Valentine Dinner Dance at Chateau Elan, when he was working two jobs, including being our executive director. I've watched over the years the success Terry brought to the council and the year-over-year growth. He had a great touch for the attention to details and he was very organized. What a great leader. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten." — Andrew Scott, The Nickey Gregory Co., SPC president
"I was very blessed to serve with Terry in the Southeast Produce Council for eight years. He was known and respected for his integrity and doing the right thing, and obviously he had terrific vision years ago helping start the council. The success and fellowship and brotherhood we have enjoyed, people are seeing that and it's led to the birth of several other regional shows. That's testament to his leadership and integrity, and anybody who knew him for any period of time grew to love and respect him as a person and in the produce industry. He was very good at understanding what needed to be done as a council and he was very good at bringing us along with him. There are just a handful of people who come along so often and change the industry and have such an impact on it and Terry Vorhees was one of those people. He changed us all for the better. The success of the SPC is absolutely pointed right back to him." — John Shuman, Shuman Produce, SPC past president
As a longtime friend of Terry's, only a person with his organizing skills, his sense for details and his true love for the business could have developed the Southeast Produce Council into what it is today. He was one of my best friends and I will miss him." — Tom Page, Supervalu (retired), SPC past president
"Terry was one of the driving forces and believed a produce council in the Southeast could be a valuable part of doing business for grower-shippers and retailers. When you look at the success of SPC, it is built on one single 'Terry Principle' -- everyone is equal, no matter how many acres you farm or how many retail stores you have. Serving with Terry as a board member and a past president, I got the opportunity to grow as a person with his guidance. Over the years, Terry and I developed a friendship that I will always cherish." — Rick Estess, SPC past president/trustee
"Terry is now at home with our Lord and Savior. We will miss him dearly." — Al Finch, Florida Classic Growers, past SPC president
"Some 20-plus years ago, Terry started calling on me as he represented the California Tree Fruit Agreement, when I worked wholesale in Nashville, TN. He was always a great human being, efficient, fun to be around, informative and knowledgeable. I remember when I first went to work for a West Coast lettuce shipper a few years later, Terry and I found ourselves in Virginia doing a training session. He discussed his thoughts of putting a Southeast Produce Council together and asked for my support. I was all for it and as it took root, I was lucky enough to get involved that inaugural year. In those first years, the regional councils would meet during the PMA and have discussions on how and what each one was doing. Terry and I took notes and it was no time at all until, with the help of many -- and Terry's forethought -- the SPC became a diamond among regional organizations. He will be missed by family, friends, SPC members and those who will in the future make the Southeast Produce Council even better, not knowing how Terry had a dream and drove himself -- and those who would listen -- to be much better than they ever thought they could be. There will be true void in our hearts, but in our minds we can remember the laugh and smile that lit this council." — Larry Narwold, Mann Packing, past SPC president
"We will miss you, Terry. Your legacy lives on through your sons and in the produce industry. You were a great leader with a tremendous vision and foresight we all learned from. A man of character and integrity, I am honored to have walked life with you. I bet you are already working on the Best Produce Show ever in the Kingdom of Paradise. Love you Bro!" — Mark Daniels, Military Produce Group, SPC vice president
"Terry was a Christian man and great example to all he came in contact with." — Joe Klare, Castellini Cos., SPC advisory board
"The produce industry lost a visionary leader and the Southeast Produce Council lost a true friend. He will be sorely missed, but remembered for bringing people together to support a purpose that created a vision." — Bobby Creel, L&M Cos., SPC advisory board
"Everyone will be mourning Terry for a very long time. There is nothing to say that will make this easier; in sadness, memories console, prayers soothe and time heals." — Sheila Carden, National Mango Board, SPC secretary
"Terry was a true industry giant who brought us all together as one family." — George Wiley, General Produce Inc.
"Terry Vorhees was a class act to say the least and his passion for produce and the produce industry was truly amazing. The SPC has not only lost a wonderful leader, but a dear friend." — Paula Helton, buyer, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc., SPC board member
"Terry Vorhees was a leader. He had such a unique ability to bring people from all walks of life for not only the good of our industry but for the good of who we are as human beings. The devotional chain that was started due to Terry's illness did just as much for the individuals who were included on the emails as it did for Terry. Just another way Terry caused people to rally around him. What a beautiful person he is. He is at peace now. Terry has left a legacy with this industry that is unparalleled to most. I believe Terry would like for us to celebrate his life, his homecoming to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as the fact that pain and suffering are gone forever with his new heavenly body." — Brandon Parker, Shuman Produce, SPC board member
"As one of the founders of the Southeast Produce Council, Terry Vorhees was the heart of the organization and poured his life and spirit into every aspect. He worked tirelessly to ensure the highest quality and first-class events. He made each of us proud to be a part of the council. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Terry and his family for sharing so much of his life and love with the produce industry. Terry, we'll miss you greatly! Thanks for being a great friend to all of us." — Dave Yeager, Farm Fresh Direct, past SPC board member
"I echo all the wonderful comments about Terry and his compassion and contributions and accomplishments for the produce industry. But after spending some quality time with his family, I have to say that he spent equal time sharing compassion and contributions with them and the accomplishments show. During this sad time I learned just how much his sons, their wives and his grandchildren loved and admired him. They are such a close-knit family and I love them all. I am blessed to have spent the time I did with them. His beloved Bev was by his side to the end. She had to be forced to leave his bedside to even eat. He was surrounded by his family and that's a tribute to a wonderful man. Continue to keep Bev and the family in your prayers that God will give them comfort and peace. I'm sure going to miss my dear friend but as everyone else, I will cling to all the wonderful memories." — Faye Westfall, DiMare Fresh, SPC board member
"I first met Terry when he was representing stone fruit growers from California with California Tree Fruit Agreement back in the early '90s. I was a young director at the time and remember thinking that he was a quiet guy and somewhat unassuming but very helpful and insightful about the industry he represented. After Terry left the CTFA, I lost track of him and it wasn't until the mid-2000s that I met him again at an industry event. At that time the SPC was in its early years and he told me about this little organization that was building up and becoming a resource for the produce industry in the Southeast. I was so very fortunate to become a member of the board of directors for SPC in 2009 and it was then that I really got to know Terry on another level. But one thing had not changed since the first time I met him: He was still unassuming in his approach, always giving and sharing to others and never was he looking for accolades as the SPC continued to grow and prosper. Instead, he continued to remind us all that the SPC would not exist without its industry supporters from all segments. Terry was a giver. Terry was also a visionary: His idea back in the late '90s to create the SPC that we all know today was a stroke of genius. With all of the wonderful things I can say about Terry Vorhees there is one that is most important. Terry was a man of faith and he cultivated that faith with everyone he met. It touched each of us who knew Terry and knowing him was to understand what humility really is. Terry had not an envious bone in his body, he loved unconditionally and his purpose was to help others and he did that every day in the many lives he touched. God bless Terry and his family." — Joe Watson, Rouses Supermarkets, SPC board member
"We are truly grateful and blessed to have known Terry, a remarkable and generous man who welcomed us and everyone he met into the produce industry with open arms and always made the Southeast Produce Council feel like family." — John and Kim Avola, Idea Garden Marketing
"Terry is everyone's trusted friend. His contributions to charities, this industry, SPC and countless individuals will not be forgotten. His kindness, smile and laugh will live on in our memories forever. He will be missed." — Michael A. Gonzalez, SMS Produce-Florida, SPC board member
"I would describe Terry as a man of faith. Faith in an idea over a decade ago that became a leading organization in our industry. Faith in me to become part of its board of directors, which has had a powerful impact on me personally and our company. Faith in our savior Jesus Christ who now gives him peace and will glorify him in Heaven for evermore. I'm very thankful I got to know Terry Vorhees." — Brian Rayfield, J&J Family of Farms, SPC board member
"From the moment I met Terry at the first Southern Exposure in Lakeland, Florida, I felt he and the founding members of the SPC were building something special. Under Terry's leadership and guidance, the SPC quickly became the produce industry's premiere association. Throughout the council's years of growth and success, Terry would shy away from accepting the bulk of the well-deserved credit. Instead, he chose to showcase his team, directors, committee members, and many volunteers. The SPC environment Terry created was one that fostered camaraderie and stewardship. Terry just didn't converse with people, he connected. His uncanny ability to achieve a true connection was a gift. And it was a gift he gave freely and often to those blessed enough to know him. Terry made an indelible impact to the council and our industry as a whole. As SPC members, our lives have all been enriched by knowing Terry. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten." — Harold Paivarinta, JemD/Red Sun Farms, SPC board member
"One never can truly never understand the scope or reach of his impact. We say everything is big in Texas, and Terry took this cowboy and showed him the heart and soul of the southeast. He was larger than life in this industry. His work, his passion, has left imprints on every one of us who he touched. I am sure he is at the ultimate party in heaven and we were all blessed by the time with him and the work done by him. God bless you Terry." — Tommy Wilkins, Grow Farms-Texas, SPC board member
Terry was a mentor and friend to so many people in the industry. Personally, he took care of me when I was a young man trying to break into the industry. He took me under his wing and gave me guidance that I continue to follow. He will be forever missed but never forgotten." — Mike Ryan, Bayshore Produce, SPC board member
While this is terribly sad for all of us, my grief is eased knowing Terry is no longer in pain. Terry's vision and devotion will allow his memory to live on through the council he so dearly loved. Thoughts and prayers to Bev, Scott and the rest of Terry's family. God bless." — Daniel Klausner, Apio Inc., past SPC board member
"It's a very sad day to lose a great man and a great friend like Terry. I know he will be fondly remembered by all of us as a kind and considerate friend and produce professional who added so much to our lives, our industry and especially the Southeast Produce Council. His memory and legacy will live on through all of us." — Doug Tannehill, Global Perishable Services, SPC board member
"It's with faith that we can be consoled that Terry is now in peace. And by the outpouring of love here Terry can smile and know his time here was spent very well. We've been blessed to have had Terry in our lives." — Kevin Dunleavy, Super Marketing Promotions, SPC board member