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The Rainier cherry harvest reaches its seasonal harvest peak this week, yet few retailers or consumers will ever have an opportunity to see the harvest in person. CMI has released a video highlighting one of its growers, which offers a unique glimpse into the growing and harvesting of Rainier cherries in Washington State.

This new video features CMI grower, Brian Sand, who talks about what it’s like to grow Rainier cherries — including the challenges and rewards of producing the fruit.Rainier-video-54.900-copy

Rainier cherries are among the more fragile items in the produce department. Their tender skin and light coloring makes Rainiers incredibly susceptible to orchard and harvest bruising. The cherries must be delicately picked by hand into small buckets. The fruit is then gently transferred into picking lugs that are immediately transported to a refrigerated packing facility.

Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, said that few fruits can match the flavor intensity and Brix levels of a ripe Rainier cherry. “It’s not uncommon for our Rainier cherries to have sugar levels above 25 percent, making them among the sweetest fruits in the produce department.

“Our CMI Rainier cherry growers are incredibly passionate about what they do,” Lutz said in a press release. “The goal of this video is to show our customers how dedicated we are to getting them the highest quality Rainier cherries in the industry.”

With CMI being one of the larger Rainier cherry producers in Washington state, Lutz said that now through the end of next week is the absolute peak of the Rainier harvest. He reports that over 85 percent of CMI’s Rainier cherries will be harvested by June 26.

“Right now — today if possible — is the time for retailers to book their orders in for Rainier cherries,” said Lutz. “Otherwise, you just might have to wait until next year.”

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MONETTA, SC — South Carolina's top crop is peaches, but Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers wants folks at home and beyond to know there's much more to the Palmetto State produce deal. During a recent swing through South Carolina, The Produce News caught up with the commissioner in a peach grove here (fittingly) for this exclusive interview.

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ELIZABETH CITY, NC — North Carolina's potato season is short but sweet: six weeks starting in mid-June and all done by the end of July. It fills a critical summer window that comes on as storage supplies dwindle and the Florida fresh crop wraps up.

About two-thirds of the North Carolina crop goes to the snack food industry while the remaining reds, yellows and whites make their way to produce departments as fresh table potatoes. None of the crop ever sees so much as a single minute in storage.

That's why events like the ongoing variety trials conducted here by the North Carolina State Extension Service — and the accompanying annual field day and business conference conducted by the North Carolina Potato Association — are so important.

The Produce News was along for the ride this year and talked to buyers and growers about what makes a great North Carolina potato — and the people who keep the deal going and growing in importance.

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Mary Blackmon, founder of Farm Star Living, takes some time to talk about Peri & Sons. In addition to producing a variety of high-quality onions — white, yellow, red, Sweetie Sweets, organic and mild/sweet yellow — the company adheres to the highest standards of sustainability and has been sustainable certified by SCS Global Services.

Avocados from Peru hosted a superfoods breakfast May 27 to honor the 2,000 men and women of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps who proudly serve on board the USS Bataan. The breakfast featured Peruvian avocados and other superfoods from the South American nation and was timed to take advantage of the patriotism associated with Fleet Week and the Memorial Day holiday weekend. This was the second year the Peruvian Avocado Commission hosted such a breakfast, following last year's event aboard the USS Cole in Port Everglades, FL.