RECENT HEADLINES

Sizzling summer watermelon promotions kick into high gear
It’s pedal to the metal time now that the number four Watermelon.org Chevy is hitting the NASCAR circuit for the National Watermelon Promotion Board. Stephanie Barlow, NWPB director of public relations and social media, said racecar driver Ross Chastain — who kicked off the NASCAR schedule in Richmond, VA, Talladega, AL and Dover, DE — now has his sights set... Read more
2015 Jersey Fresh produce season underway with good quantities of high-quality crops
The 2015 Jersey Fresh produce season is underway and should be highlighted by good quantities of high-quality produce. According to the New Jersey state climatologist, this winter was a cold and snowy season with below-average temperatures. March temperatures averaged 35.8 degrees, which is 5.3 degrees below normal and ranks as the 14th coldest winter since 1895.... Read more
Kneeland leaving Kings for new position with Ahold
Veteran produce retailer Paul Kneeland is leaving Kings Food Markets, based in Parsippany, NJ, to lead fresh food merchandising for a new division of Ahold USA called Fresh Formats LLC. Kneeland, whose last day at Kings is May 29, told The Produce News that he would become vice president of fresh merchandising for the division. He said the first store, which... Read more
Arizona Leafy Greens’ Food Safety Training Program is a one-stop solution
The Arizona Food Safety Training Committee — otherwise known as the Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement — is introducing for sale a comprehensive food-safety training kit. The Phoenix-based organization will make-available at the United Fresh convention this Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Training Kit, which was created with the Arizona State Department... Read more
The company formerly known as Hugh H. Branch, Inc. recently announced a new trade-facing name, Branch: A Family of Farms and its shortened version, Branch. The South Bay, FL-based company makes this change in an effort to be more encompassing of its long-withstanding network of famers and tell their rich history. The company wishes to not just call out its founder,... Read more
Early start for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers WA stone fruit
It’s “game on!” for stone fruit in the Pacific Northwest, much to the delight of consumers, according to Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers. Thanks to a mild winter and spring, fruit has come on a week to 10 days earlier than normal this year, and Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, with both conventional and organic tree-ripened fruit in good supplies, will ship its first... Read more
With some warmer weather in the forecast as California steamed toward early June, vegetable supplies might start to pick up, which could mean more predictability in the marketplace. Though that could be the case, some are not so quick to concede that, as predictability has been the enemy for the past few months. Mark McBride, who sits on the sales desk for... Read more
WASHINGTON — The Food & Drug Administration has released the 483 inspection report on the Bidart Bros. apple packing plant, where inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes on food contact surfaces, linking the facility to a Listeria outbreak tied to its caramel apples Health officials believe the company’s apples caused at least 35 people to become infected... Read more
Naturipe Farms partner Munger Farms has announced the signing of a joint venture agreement with Golden Eagle Farm Group, owned by the Aquilini family in Vancouver, BC. The Aquilini family has several diverse farming operations and is a significant grower of blueberries in British Columbia and Washington state. “This addition will complement our current production... Read more
Keys to boosting cherry sales
Cherry professionals in the Pacific Northwest talked with The Produce News about category management insights that can translate to increased fruit sales at retail. James Michael, vice president of marketing-North America for Washington State Fruit Commission/Northwest Cherry Growers, said he hopes to see steady momentum as cherries hit retail shelves. “That’s... Read more
NMB partners with National Women’s Soccer League
The National Mango Board announced that mangos are the official superfruit of the National Women’s Soccer League. All season long the NMB is partnering with premier teams and athletes to showcase the nutritious fruit at sampling events with player appearances, giveaways, social media engagement and much more. The NMB’s consumer PR and marketing program is designed... Read more
Catania Worldwide and Stellar Distributing set to provide their own figs year-round
In early April, The Produce News reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service authorized the importation of Mexican figs into the United States, effective March 30, 2015. The final requirement for importing to the United States was to certify the irradiation facility, which was done in late April.Stellar Distributing’s... Read more
While the agriculturally rich Rio Grande Valley has been spared the brunt of the most recent storms and flooding in Texas, nine months of above-average rain has taken its toll in the fresh produce growing areas, with many acres having already been lost. “We’ve had 60 inches of rain from the fall through the spring,” said Jimmy Bassetti, president of J&D... Read more
Fairway launching smaller-format store
Fairway Market will be opening the prototype of its new store model in Brooklyn, NY. The location will have a smaller footprint and lower cost structure than Fairway's existing stores with the same broad offering of fresh, specialty, organic and conventional products. "We are excited about the announcement of the new Fairway Market located in a densely... Read more
Houweling’s acquires Colorado-based Sun Valley Farms
Delta, BC-based greenhouse grower and marketer Houweling's Nurseries Ltd. has acquired Loveland, CO-based Sun Valley Farms Inc. The deal sees Houweling's Tomatoes expand its sales and service in key Mountain States, and is well aligned geographically to Houweling's new state-of-the-art greenhouse production facility in Mona, UT.Tomatoes growing in a Houweling's... Read more
WASHINGTON — When the Food & Drug Administration implements the Food Safety Modernization Act, don’t charge any user fees, offer education and technical assistance to any sized sector and let industry help in drafting the guidance documents. These were some of the suggestions offered by the Produce Marketing Association in its 19-page comments to the FDA... Read more
As part of its agreement with the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food to promote the integration of more fresh Quebec‐grown produce in the hotel, restaurant and institutional sector, the Quebec Produce Marketing Association continues its successful partnership for a second year with the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ, the... Read more
Favorable conditions contribute to early start, excellent quality for South African citrus
Excellent weather conditions in South Africa have contributed to an earlier citrus harvest in the western and northern Cape regions of South Africa, resulting in earlier arrival of citrus to the United States. Containers carrying easy peelers and Navel oranges were scheduled to arrive at the port of Newark in New Jersey over the next two to three weeks, according... Read more
The Pacific Maritime Association voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new labor contract with dockworkers. And representatives from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union agreed to ratify the new agreement on May 22, officially ending an 11-month disagreement. The final provisions of the contract, reached in February of this year, improved the arbitration... Read more
Mexican mango crop could be record breaker
All indications are that the 2015 spring-summer mango season is shaping up to be a record breaker. The short supplies of 2014 are long forgotten as suppliers are reporting a flood of mangos in the marketplace and unbelievable volumes shipping each week. The Mexican season began at the end of January and will run until September with a projection of approximately... Read more