Club Fresh to open new facility in Southern California
March 27, 2005
Club Fresh, a fresh produce processor and specialty manufacturer, is opening a new facility shortly in the Los Angeles distribution center of its parent company, JC Produce, based in West Sacramento, CA.
The new facility will utilize production space inside JC Produce, creating an integrated production and distribution facility.
In addition to state-of-the-art equipment, the processing room will feature low-velocity fan coils to reduce wind chill. This will provide more consistent temperatures in the processing room " one of the many steps that Club Fresh has taken to ensure the best-possible shelf life of its fresh-cut foods.
As the only USDA QTV plant for fresh-cut processing in Northern California, Club Fresh maintains extremely high standards for food safety, which will continue in the new Los Angeles facility.
Club Fresh recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary in its Sacramento facility, and is excited to now begin processing in Southern California.
?We?ve been delivering to Southern California for several years. With the growing interest in our products and the increase in business, we knew it was time to build another facility," said Paul Abess, president of JC Produce. "By reducing transportation time, the new processing facility will enhance our ability to serve the state of California with products closer to the time they were cut, generally within 24 hours of the time an order is made."
In the preparation of both its foodservice and retail packs, Club Fresh creates custom cuts and does private labeling for many of its customers. With a background in food science, Club Fresh manages its fresh-cut items with a culinary eye for quality by hand-cutting most items to create a superior balance between quality and cost effectiveness.
?Having a culinary eye for quality, our people approach our fresh fruits and vegetables as food, not just product," said Mr. Abess. "And now that we?ll be closer to our Southern California customers, we believe both our products and our service will be exceptional."
U.S. Potato Board assessment to rise
March 24, 2005
After reviewing results of the U.S. Potato Board?s domestic and international marketing programs and discussing the future of those programs on budgets that have been static for more than 20 years, board members voted during the board?s annual meeting March 19 to increase the assessment.
Eighty-eight percent supported the funding increase from 2 cents per cwt. to 2.5 cents per cwt., with a delayed start date of March 1, 2006.
?This level of support speaks clearly of the industry's commitment to our strategy and programs," said Ray Meiggs, newly elected chairman of the board and a North Carolina potato grower. "We have invested grower dollars in highly successful programs during the past five years, and the recent action of the membership will allow us to respond more quickly and effectively to opportunities and unforeseen challenges."
Prior to the annual meeting, a regionally representative grower survey was commissioned to gauge the degree of grower support for the board compared to prior years, as well as awareness and attitudes toward specific aspects of its strategies and programs. The overall evaluation of the job being done by the board was positive, with "excellent? or "good? ratings outweighing unfavorable evaluations four to one. More than eight out of 10 growers said that they supported the programs funded by the per cwt. assessment. Additionally, 62 percent expressed interest in increasing resources for specific programs.
The survey was reflective of what was reported by caucuses prior to the vote on the motion for an assessment increase.
?We all know that the industry is going through difficult times right now because we are all in this together," said Kraig Knutzen, a potato grower from Washington and the board?s immediate past chairman.
The newly formed grower cooperative is focused on solving the oversupply issues affecting the industry, he said.
?We have time to see them make great strides to solve the supply issues before the increase goes into effect. That?s why we timed it the way we did," Mr. Knutzen said. "But the growers, after reviewing and analyzing the USPB demand-building programs, were committed to the assessment increase, knowing that the potential return to growers far exceeds the investment."
In addition to Mr. Meiggs, who is sales manager for Keystone Potato Products LLC in Elizabeth City, NC, other appointments to the board?s executive committee were:
? Larry Alsum, president of Alsum Produce Inc. in Friesland, WI, who represents the north-central district.
? Boyd Foster, president of Foster Agro Inc. in Rigby, ID, and Nelson Cox, owner of Nelson Cox Farms Inc. in Warden, WA, who represent the northwest district.
? William Brooks Jr., owner of Dusty Lane Farms in Elmer, NJ, who represents the northeast district.
? Buzz Shahan of Queen Creek Potato Co. in Mesa, AZ, who represents the southwest district.
? Carla Worley, co-owner of Worley Seed and Hi-Land Potato Co. Inc. in Monte Vista, CO, who represents the south-central district.