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Sprouts Farmers Market, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, announced new locations it will open in the third quarter of 2016. Sprouts will open a total of 36 stores in 2016, 24 of which have already been announced.sprouts

New Sprouts stores scheduled to open in July, August and September include locations in California, Arizona, Tennessee, Georgia and Oklahoma. Each of these stores will bring an estimated 100 jobs to the communities in which they are opening. Grand opening dates and other details will be shared at a later date.

Sprouts offers consumers a complete healthy grocery store experience featuring fresh produce, bulk foods, dairy, meat and seafood, bakery, deli, vitamins, body care and more. Shoppers will find an abundant selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and barrels of wholesome grains, nuts and sweets. The bright, open stores showcase fresh-baked goods, eclectic beer and wine, and thousands of natural, organic and gluten-free groceries. Sprouts’ on-site butchers help customers with special cuts of meat or seafood or handmade burgers and sausages. Sprouts’ knowledgeable service and low prices offer customers a unique shopping experience.

Sprouts said it is committed to sustainable growth that respects social and environmental well-being. As a part of this effort, the Sprouts Food Rescue Program donates unsold and edible, but not marketable, groceries to local food banks. Relief agencies pick up this food, which would otherwise go to waste, and distribute it to families in need. In 2015, Sprouts stores and distribution centers donated approximately 14 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 12 million meals, reducing hunger and the company’s environmental footprint.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has filed a notice to show cause under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act against The Alphas Co. Inc. The USDA alleges that the company is unfit to be licensed under PACA in that it and its president engaged in practices of a character prohibited by PACA.

The Alphas Co. Inc., operating from Massachusetts, will have an opportunity to request a hearing.  Should USDA find that the company engaged in practices of a character prohibited by PACA, USDA may withhold issuing a PACA license to The Alphas Co. Inc. and it would be barred from operating in the produce industry.

Additionally, the USDA cited Ricardo Bombella of Goodyear, AZ, for failing to comply with employment sanctions.

USDA and Ricardo Bombella entered into a consent decision and order finding that Bombella violated section 8(b) of PACA by being employed by a PACA licensee between April 2012 and April 2014 while under employment sanctions. As a result of the consent decision and order, Bombella’s employment sanction was extended for a one-year period beginning April 6, 2016.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,700 PACA claims involving more than $66 million. Its experts also assisted more than 7,100 callers with issues valued at approximately $100 million.

Ham Farms, a Snow Hill, NC-based integrated grower, packer, shipper and processor of sweet potato and other agricultural products, has been supplying customers with fresh and processed produce for over 40 years. As a family-owned-and-operated company, Ham Farms’ core strength has been its relationship with its buyers and corporate customers.ham

With the company’s continued growth and presence in the retail market, the new www.hamfarms.com highlights its focus to engage retail customers, integrate new brands and grow the sweet potato market worldwide.

Engaging retail customers

Ham Farms has always been dedicated to its buyers and corporate customers, but with continued growth comes the importance of engaging retail customers. Blogs, email and social media campaigns will begin to foster a relationship with the company’s end users.  

Integrating new brands

The four companies owned and operated by Ham Farms — Ham Produce, Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration, Yamco and Covington Vodka — will be integrated into all marketing initiatives.

Growing the sweet potato market worldwide

Ham Farms said as a company rooted in eastern North Carolina, it feels a responsibility to continue the growth of the sweet potato market domestically and even worldwide. As a result, Ham Farms will target new markets and deliver awareness campaigns aimed at educating the public on the benefits of sweet potatoes and processed sweet potato products.  

The redesigned Ham Farms logo and website deliver a fresh new look to an established family-run business.

“I wanted to create a brand that was young and vibrant but still celebrated the rich family history of the company,” Marketing Director J.D. Wyborny said in a press release. “The new slogan Family to Table represents our commitment to delivering natural and fresh products from our family farm to your table.”

Visitors to the website will find an easy to navigate experience loaded with content including information on all of Ham’s brands, Southern-inspired recipes, and blogs focused on enhancing the awareness of the benefits of sweet potatoes.

For the second consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its estimate of the 2015-16 Florida orange crop, predicting growers will produce 76 million boxes, a 7 percent increase.

A 5 million box rise in Valencias to 40 million accounted for the jump. Early and mid-season varieties, which have been harvested already, stayed at 36 million boxes.

"It's nice to be in expansion rather than reduction mode while knowing growers are still producing a quality crop," Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual, said in a press release. "But our industry remains at historically low production levels as we continue to battle HLB, or citrus greening."

During the 2014-15 season, Florida produced 96.8 million boxes of oranges.

The USDA makes its initial estimate in October of each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July.

The USDA's estimate of the 2015-16 Florida grapefruit crop remained at 10.7 million boxes. Specialty citrus decreased a fraction to 1.79 million boxes. The yield for frozen concentrate orange juice is 1.42 gallons per 90-pound box.

Avocados from Mexico celebrated its year-round love of music with its first-ever appearance at South By Southwest, and in the process, dominated SXSW-related social buzz. According to data from the social media monitoring company Keyhole, AFM’s #GuacNRoll activities generated over 32,000 social media posts, making it the most popular hashtags used during SXSW.

Over 9,700 fans used #GuacNRoll during this year’s music festival, resulting in over 200 million impressions for the “Always Fresh” brand, and nearly 60 percent of AFM’s 56,000 total tweets carried the hashtag #SXSW, making AFM a contributing factor in driving overall SXSW online conversation.

SXSW was an ideal time for AFM to engage new audiences, and its participation continues the brand’s commitment to connecting with consumers in unexpected ways.  AFM’s attendance was focused on showcasing the always-in-season fruit, just like music is always in season.

AFM launched, GuacNMusic, a custom AFM radio station, in partnership with Slacker Radio, featuring a compilation of music and artists representing the essence and “Mexicanity” synonymous with the brand. Listeners are able to customize the brand's AVO-tastic music according to their tastes, and throughout SXSW, users were invited to tweet audio files with their voice to become DJs of the station. Slacker then created individual channels within the station for each DJ, and gave them the opportunity to share those individual segments throughout their social networks.

As a pop culture trailblazer in the produce category, Avocados from Mexico also adopted several cutting-edge platforms to reach attendees in meaningful ways. AFM was one of the first brands to leverage Snapchat’s new geofilters, and the brand created different filters each day to engage the SXSW crowd. AFM also implemented 100 strategically placed beacons throughout Austin, TX, to reach attendees throughout the week using their iAvocado app.

"Our goal is always to share AVO-love in fresh, unexpected ways," Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados from Mexico, said in a press release. “Our brand is all about bringing people together and celebrating the good times, and music is often a big part of that celebration, so it was natural for us to showcase the intersection of great food and music during SXSW.”

AFM treated attendees to fresh guacamole throughout the week through other music-inspired activities.  The brand sponsored SouthBites, an annual event featuring the best food trucks from Texas and across the United States, and partnered with 30 musicians to offer unique guacamole options for attendees. The partnerships paid off as guests had the opportunity to engage with emerging musical talent while enjoying various guacamoles, and the musicians were able to introduce their existing fanbases to AFM. The brand also had their own roving guac-truck throughout Austin, and the brand was a fixture at The Container Bar, Austin’s first green establishment made of four-ton metal shipping containers.

To learn more about Avocados from Mexico, GuacNMusic and delicious recipes, visit www.AvocadosFromMexico.com, or chat with us at www.facebook.com/AvocadosFromMexico.