RECENT HEADLINES

SEPC’s STEP-UPP class visits southern Florida
The Southeast Produce Council’s 2015 STEP-UPP class traveled to southern Florida April 7-10 to visit a variety of well-known produce facilities and farms as part of the program’s ongoing learning experience for class members to develop a greater understanding of the fresh produce industry. The Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals... Read more
Meijer Curbside service offers online ordering, drive-thru convenience
Meijer has launched a new way to shop called Meijer Curbside. This new shopping service allows customers to shop for their items online and enjoy the convenience of picking up their groceries curbside without leaving the car. Currently being piloted at a single store, the Meijer Curbside program enlists specially trained team members to hand select every item... Read more
Versatility key for Idaho fingerlings
With a tender interior and small to medium in size, Idaho fingerlings are popular as a side dish due to their versatility — they can be cooked or roasted whole, stuffed, shaved and chipped, and even braised in oil for a earthy confit. Idaho produces three main fingerling varieties: French fingerlings offer a smooth, dark rosy skin; waxy, yellow flesh interior;... Read more
The Washington fresh apricot crop should hit the market by about the middle of June and be fairly close to the 642,000 24-pound cartons that were produced last year, according to James Michael, vice president of marketing for North America for the Washington State Fruit Commission. James said that represents about 30 percent of the total crop from the West,... Read more
Record numbers of exhibitors, attendees pack 90th annual CPMA show in Montreal
MONTREAL — With almost 300 exhibitors occupying 500 exhibit spaces at the Palais de congrès de Montréal, here, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s 90th annual convention and trade show, under way April 15-17, is the largest CPMA trade show yet. “This is the largest show we’ve had in our 90 year history both in terms of attendees and exhibitors,” said... Read more
Walmart Canada named CPMA's Fresh Health Award winner
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association announced Walmart Canada as the winner of the 2015 Fresh Health Award. Since its introduction in 1998, the Fresh Health Award has been presented to a company or organization that has shown outstanding leadership in its efforts to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to improve population health and industry... Read more
The Public Health Agency of Canada announced that it is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7, commonly called E.coli, with a possible link to leafy greens. The agency said that a specific product has not been identified yet and the investigation is ongoing. "There have been 12... Read more
SUNSET celebrates 20 years of flavor with Campari
It’s been two flavorful decades since SUNSET has introduced the Campari tomato. In 1995, the greenhouse company introduced the unique European variety. Unlike other tomatoes on the market, it was small, about golf-ball sized, and not at all watery like its bigger counterparts at the time. “One of our customers had approached us one day and said ‘let’s throw... Read more
Like clockwork, it’s April, so the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys on California’s coast are the main suppliers of many of the nation’s vegetable row crops, including Iceberg lettuce, all the mixed and specialty lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli and celery. “Huron has finished up, the desert is done — everybody is happy to get back to Santa Maria and Salinas,”... Read more
Peri & Sons Farms launches ‘eat brighter!’ onion packs
Nevada-based Peri & Sons Farms is embracing the national movement to ‘eat brighter!’ by offering consumers a "Sesame Street" branded package of premium onions beginning in May 2015. “One reason we decided to adopt the ‘eat brighter!’ message this year is that it aligns with our company’s recent efforts to internally promote health and wellness at Peri &... Read more
Martin’s to launch small-format banner
Martin’s Super Markets, headquartered in South Bend, IN, will open its newest store, a Martin’s Express, on May 7 in Goshen, IN. It will be the company’s 22nd store; however, the 26,200-square-foot location will be Martin's first execution of a new smaller format. The company said the store's easy-to-shop layout will feature everything fresh that... Read more
Voting opens for Opal’s Youth Make a Difference initiative
Public voting is now open for Opal Apple’s Youth Make a Difference initiative, a campaign designed to provide financial support to causes led by youth ages 6 to 25. Voters are being asked to help select charities to receive up to a combined $150,000 in funds at www.opalapples.com. For the third consecutive year, Opal Apple’s Youth Make a Difference initiative... Read more
Freska kicks off mango season with Disney designs
This month Freska Produce International LLC is launching fresh mangos featuring beloved Disney characters on display-ready boxes, stickers and in a mango recipe and activity eBook. Four varieties of Mexican mangos — Tommy Atkins, Kents, Keitts and Ataulfos — will be available at grocery retailers nationwide now through August. The campaign launches with the... Read more
National Watermelon Association has eye to the future
The National Watermelon Association believes the future success of the industry lies in developing the talent and interest of its younger members. In fact, NWA is so passionate about this belief that it is gearing its five-year plan around building value for members of Generation Y. At the NWA’s annual convention in February, NWA Executive Director Bob Morrissey... Read more
California apricots should hit the market by end of April
Warm winter and spring weather has produced a California apricot crop that is a bit earlier than usual, with the industry expecting some shipments before the end of the month. But that same weather situation, with fewer than ideal chilling hours, has also led to a lighter crop on the trees. At least that is the view of Jim Lucich, sales manager of Blossom Hill... Read more
Mexican mango crop expected to be a big one
The 2015 mango crop projections from Empacadoras de Mango de Exportación, the organization that represents Mexico’s mango export packing facilities, indicate this will be a significant year for Mexican mango production and for mango exports to the United States. Due to the projected increase in import volumes, the National Mango Board is working with retailers... Read more
New studies show growing appetite for organic exports, continued jump in U.S. demand
WASHINGTON — A new study released Wednesday finds a global appetite for organic food in foreign markets and suggests U.S. farmers should take better advantage of the rising foreign demand as well as growing U.S. demand for organic produce. At the Organic Trade Association policy meeting in Washington, DC,  the new study, conducted by Pennsylvania State... Read more
Whole Foods shows customers what its salad bar looks like without pollinators
Pollinators play a vital role in producing one-third of the world’s food crops, but they are disappearing at alarming rates. Whole Foods Market and The Xerces Society are joining forces to “share the buzz” about the plight of pollinators and empower shoppers to “bee” part of the solution. To kick off the two-week campaign, Whole Foods Market’s Gilman store... Read more
Board is on fire with juicy watermelon promotions
The short list of big items that have coalesced into campaigns promoting watermelon consumption is impressive. “We significantly restructured at the end of 2014 and created a new primary focus on foodservice,” said Stephanie Barlow, senior director of communications for the National Watermelon Promotion Board. “We hired Megan McKenna, who had previously worked... Read more
Weis names Brent Mertes regional VP
Weis Markets has promoted Brent Mertes, formerly with Safeway, to regional vice president. He will oversee the day-to-day operations of 51 stores located in south central Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. Mertes will report to David Gose, senior vice president of operations.Brent Mertes Prior to his promotion, Mertes worked as district manager... Read more