Seald Sweet rolls out impressive new trade show booth with nod to history


Seald Sweet International started over a century ago as a cooperative of Florida citrus growers. Things have changed quite a bit since then. Now, with Belgian partner Univeg, the Vero Beach, FL-based company has become an international gateway for citrus, grapes, pears, figs, stone fruit, mangoes and pineapples.

To celebrate its heritage, Seald Sweet unveiled an eye-catching new trade show booth at PMA Fresh Summit that will represent the company moving forward. The design blends modern functionality with the appearance of an old-school wooden citrus crate that would do the company's forebears proud as Florida citrus season begins.

Mayda Sotomayor, chief executive officer, talked with our Maggie Giuffrida about the impressive new display.

Mary B features Peri & Sons Sweetie Sweet onions


Mary Blackmon, founder of Farm Star Living, a national lifestyle brand promoting the farm to everything movement, headed into the kitchen with Peri & Sons Sweetie Sweet onions to demonstrate how to make two appetizers that are perfect for Thanksgiving — or any gathering: Sweetie’s Onion Dip and Sweetie’s Caramelized Onion Filos.

BBC Technologies revolutionizing packing and filling


New Zealand-based BBC Technologies is revolutionizing packing and filling with an assortment of new machines introduced to the U.S. market in the past year.

At the top of that list is the Curo-16, a high-speed small fruit filling machine that can sort out soft and bad product and still fill 240 clamshells a minute — a huge increase over competing models.

"We provide turnkey solutions that offer traceability — one throat to choke, one person to call for solutions — and orders are pouring in," said BBC’s Chip Manuel.

Our Maggie Giuffrida found out more.

Kid chef Haile Thomas helps Wholesum Harvest shine


Wholesum Family Farms is one of North America’s fastest-growing organic producers, with farming and greenhouse operations in the United States and Mexico. Miguel Crisantes Gatzionis, a Greek immigrant, planted his first crop in Sinaloa, Mexico, in 1930. More than 80 years later, his son and grandsons have led the company to the top of the organic field.

That story held great appeal for 14-year-old chef Haile V. Thomas, who got interested in cooking and healthy eating when her father was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes when she was 8-years-old. Her dad made a full recovery thanks to the family's change in eating habits, and at age 10 Haile started working to engage, educate and inspire youth and families to embrace healthy habits.

Haile was one of eight young chefs featured on season one of "Rachael vs. Guy Kids-Cook-Off" on Food Network. She is also a Jr. Chef Advisor for Hyatt Hotels' "For Kids, By Kids" menu and a contributing writer for several magazines, sharing healthy recipes and encouraging readers to explore new plant-based recipes.

Here Haile and Wholesum's Ricardo Crisantes talk with Maggie Giuffrida about Haile's inspiration — and share some of her delicious dishes.

N.Y. apples a perfect fit for NYC students


New York City schools now distribute 35 million New York state apples to schoolchildren each year. That makes New York City schools the single-largest customer of the entire New York state apple industry, and to celebrate this mutually healthy relationship, the state’s apple association has produced an educational video that the New York City Department of Education is now sharing with students and their families citywide.

The three-minute video was produced by New York Apple Association and was recorded in picturesque orchards across New York state — including the lower Hudson Valley, where most of the apples shipped to New York City schools are grown. The video is packed with kid-friendly information about how apples are grown, their health benefits and the New York state industry. 

NYAA President Jim Allen commended New York City Department of Education’s Office of School Support Services for its strong “buy local” focus.

“We are proud to serve New York City school children locally sourced, healthy produce, including over 35 million apples a year grown in New York state," Eric Goldstein, the service’s chief executive officer, said in a press release. "This not only adds to our healthy menu options, it helps us teach kids about the benefits of farm-to-table eating and supports our local food producers.” 

Allen also gave nods to state Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

“Both of these very influential officials have been vocal, passionate and tireless advocates for New York state agriculture, we wouldn’t have gotten here today without them,” said Allen. “The singular purpose of the governor’s ‘Taste NY’ program is to create customers for local foods and beverages. Meanwhile, Commissioner Ball has vowed to ‘make New York New York’s customer’ and revitalized his department’s ‘Pride of New York’ buy local program.”

For example, on Sept. 28, the Cuomo administration announced $350,000 in new funding to help school districts across the state to connect with local growers and producers.

“New York state has been working hard to strengthen the connection between our farmers and our schools statewide," said Ball. "We not only want to make sure that our schoolchildren have access to fresh, healthy foods, but also that they know where their food comes from. This new video is a fantastic way to help us continue to connect the dots, spotlight the apple industry and educate our children about New York agriculture.”