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Farm Star Favorites: Taylor Farms and the Green Monster smoothie


Mary Blackmon, founder of Farm Star Living, discusses what makes Taylor Farms such a special company — from its focus on sustainability to its work with more than 100 family farmers.

In addition to highlighting some of the company’s organic salad varieties, including organic baby spinach, organic baby arugula, the Power Greens Wellness Blend and its Power Greens baby spinach and baby kale, Blackmon also features the Green Monster smoothie with Taylor Farms kale and spinach.

Aliens, Scott Baio star in AFM’s 2016 Super Bowl ad


Avocados from Mexico, whose 2015 Super Bowl ad spot received critical acclaim from media pundits, is returning to the Big Game lineup again in 2016.

This year’s ad, which will air in the first quarter, features a group of aliens being led through an interplanetary museum, viewing various displays representing “the bounty of Earth.”

Among the exhibits on the tour are a Rubik’s Cube, the emoji alphabet and Scott Baio. The final display is an avocado tree, where the group stops to sample some guacamole and is informed that avocados from Mexico are available year-round.

Florida strawberry deal light through Valentine's Day, volume after


PLANT CITY, FL — Unseasonable heat brought on an early, heavy start to the Florida strawberry season that began before Thanksgiving and lasted through Christmas. Now the crop is in a lull and it's unlikely to again reach volume by Valentine's Day — though there may well be long stems available at a premium.

The good news is that with acreage down in California and an El Niño year promising a wet spring there, Florida is well positioned to ride the deal through the end of March, said Gary Wishnatzki of Wish Farms.

Look for more on the Florida strawberry deal in the Jan. 25 edition of The Produce News.

Robot harvester a reality for strawberries


PLANT CITY, FL — With labor already in short supply and a crisis looming, agricultural technology has turned its sights toward automation. But there's always been some question whether a machine could harvest a crop as complex as strawberries.

Florida grower Gary Wishnatzki of Wish Farms and his tech partners seem to a have solved that problem with a new robotic harvester that's already working the fields.

This version is a prototype — an alpha model should be in fields by the time the next harvest begins with commercial production to follow. The harvester can tell ripe fruit from green and works at the same speed as a human — but never needs a lunch break.

In the orchards with Honeybear Brands


Honeybear Brands of Elgin, MN, started as a small orchard in the Mississippi River Valley of Minnesota. Today, the company has relationships with growers around the globe. Find out more about how company President Fred Wescott first got his start in the apple industry, where Honeybear is today, and the launch of its newest winter apple variety, Pazazz, in this video.