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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.


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.


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.


Half Your Plate has launched a new series of instructional cooking videos geared at educating consumers on how to select, store and prepare popular vegetables. Each video features a unique recipe created by Chef Michael Smith and shows the basics of preparing produce. The video series features tomatoes, potatoes, celery, cucumbers, creamer potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts and mushrooms. Five videos have been launched this week, with the remaining five to launch in the fall of 2016.

“I’m passionate about teaching simple cooking methods that can dramatically amp up your food lifestyle. Our Half Your Plate videos prove that healthy cooking is not hard cooking,” said Chef Smith. “Eating lots of fruits and vegetables everyday remains one of the single most powerful lifestyle choices you can make."

The Half Your Plate program is managed by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Canadian Public Health Association. A simple message, Half Your Plate encourages Canadians to make healthier meal choices without measuring, one meal at a time. The interactive Half Your Plate website is a one-stop-shop for recipes, print resources and videos all about fruits and vegetables.

“One of the major barriers to healthy eating is a lack of proper food skills,” said Rick Alcocer, chair of the CPMA marketing committee and senior vice president of fresh sales for Duda Farm Fresh Foods. “An essential step to developing food skills, quick educational videos are the perfect way to give Canadians the confidence to try new meals in the kitchen and live a healthier life.”

The following videos are available today at

CPMA said its sponsors — BCfresh, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Highline Mushrooms, the Little Potato Co., Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, RedSun Farms, the United Potato Growers of Canada and Canadian Horticultural Council — made these videos possible.