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RECENT HEADLINES

Even as a fast-moving front created the very rare sight of sleet on Southern California beaches, the March snowpack measurements in the high Sierras revealed a water content that was as low as the driest years in California’s recorded history. A very wet December throughout the state has kept season-wide (July 1-June 30) precipitation totals at near-normal levels. However,... Read more
The Fresh Market Inc., a growing specialty grocery retailer, will be exiting the California market. The stores will be closed to customers by March 31. The company also announced it will focus on growth opportunities in the eastern half of the United States, expecting to add nearly 20 stores this fiscal year. “After careful consideration of expected future... Read more
Retirement beckons Mission’s Dave Austin
Dave Austin, national director of marketing at Mission Produce Inc., announced that he would retire March 13 after a long and distinguished career in both the public and private sectors of agriculture. Austin said that Robb Bertels, who has been with Oxnard, CA-based Mission Produce for about two years, will be taking over as national director of marketing.Dave... Read more
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association announced the participants for the 2015 Passion for Produce Program in Montreal. As an added value to membership, PFP was created by the CPMA in 2010 to provide rising stars in the produce industry with the opportunity to accelerate their professional development through a unique mentoring experience at the Annual Convention... Read more
Nominations open for CPMA’s Fresh Health Award
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association is now accepting nominations for the 2015 CPMA Fresh Health Award, which is entering into its 17th year. It is presented to the company or organization that best supports and promotes the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables using the Half Your Plate or CPMA’s Freggie Children’s Program to improve population health... Read more
Mexican asparagus veteran describes odd year
NOGALES, AZ — Bob Shipley, founder of Shipley Sales LLC in Nogales, has exported Mexican-grown asparagus to northern neighbors more than 20 years. In Caborca, Sonora, he has been an asparagus grower for as long as 15 years. He explained that the tomatoes and vegetables that account for the vast preponderance of Nogales’ volume are shipped in mixed loads with... Read more
Former Gourmet Trading CEO joins Mission Produce
Mission Produce Inc. has hired Brian Miller as the company’s new senior vice president of sales and marketing. He comes from an extensive produce industry background, including the last 15 years when he served as president and chief executive officer of Gourmet Trading Co. Miller will be filling the position held by Ross Wileman, who has been with the company... Read more
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to invest $150 million to revitalize the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, over 12 years, "fortifying a vital aspect of our infrastructure: our food supply,” he said Thursday, March 5, at an Association for a Better New York event. de Blasio said the plans will modernize the buildings and infrastructure... Read more
Fortune magazine's list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” includes retailers Wegmans, Whole Foods and Publix. Wegmans led the group, coming in at No. 7. Whole Foods was ranked 55th, and Publix came in at No. 81. All three companies have been on the list since it began in 1998, something only nine other companies have accomplished. "I’ve said it many times,... Read more
Giumarra's Carmen pears offer unique flavor, convenient size
Giumarra Wenatchee is in its second season of marketing Carmen pears, and the variety continues to offer flavor and value to customers. The pears, sold in single-layer cartons, load on both the East Coast and the West Coast and are available until the end of March from Giumarra Wenatchee. “This is the second season we have offered the Carmen pear and have... Read more
Potandon Produce celebrates 20 years
March 1 marked 20 years of business for Potandon LLC, one of the larger marketers of fresh potatoes and onions in North America. Today Potandon Produce is the sole provider of potato and onion products for Green Giant Fresh. It also grows products for "Klondike Brands," "Sunfresh," "Potandon Produce" and "The Valley" labels. The company began in the early 1990s... Read more
Ambrosia jumps into the top 10 of apples
Pushed by national promotions and a 25 percent increase in distribution, Ambrosia apples are riding a retail wave all the way to the cash register. Over the past 13 weeks, a record 14,022 supermarkets put Ambrosia on the shelves for consumers. As a result, Nielsen data shows Ambrosia ranked No. 9 in total dollars among all apple varieties during this period,... Read more
SpartanNash Co. has promoted two executive vice presidents to key positions within the company. Dave Staples, SpartanNash's current executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been appointed chief operating officer, and Derek Jones, executive vice president of food distribution, has been promoted to president of wholesale and distribution operations.... Read more
WASHINGTON — Lifting tariffs as high as 40 percent on U.S. fruits is one of the reasons the Obama administration is advocating for the Trans Pacific Partnership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said recently. U.S. trade negotiators are trying to hammer out the biggest trade deal on the TPP with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New... Read more
Southern Specialties shipping Florida blueberries
Southern Specialties has started shipping Florida-grown blueberries in six-ounce "Southern Selects" clamshells. This year’s blueberry crop will include Farthing, Flicker, Chickadee and Meadowlark varieties. Florida blueberries, Southern Selects blackberries and premium Adelita variety raspberries are distributed from the company’s Pompano Beach, FL, distribution... Read more
Documentary touts honeybee rebound
ORLANDO, FL — “Save the Queen,” a documentary video on the disappearing honeybee and Colony Collapse Disorder, brought the good news about the apparent rebound in bee colonies in recent years as efforts were mounted to stem the losses. Bee pollination is worth $15 billion to the U.S. farming industry, the documentary by Edwin Stepp revealed in one of its first... Read more
Ahold USA announced the departure of Joe Kelley, president of the Stop & Shop New England division, effective March 2. The company said he has resigned from his position to pursue other career opportunities. Don Sussman, division president of Stop & Stop New York Metro, will also oversee the Stop & Shop New England division on an interim basis. Sussman,... Read more
Quebec-based Savoura files for bankruptcy
On Thursday, Feb. 5, major creditors of the Savoura trademark, which claims to be the largest greenhouse tomato producer in Quebec, asked the court to appoint a receiver under the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act. The company, founded under the name Les Serres du St-Laurent Inc., and headquartered in Portneuf, QC, began in business in 1988 headed by the Gosselin... Read more
Primus Group Inc. announced the sale of its auditing division to Javier Sollozo, the former director of auditing operations at PrimusLabs. The sale of the auditing division has been in the works for over a year and was prompted by a new requirement of the Global Food Safety Initiative’s Benchmarking Committee in response to Azzule Systems’ request to re-benchmark... Read more
Sakata touts diverse offerings of heart-healthy broccoli
As a continued supporter of the American Heart Association, Sakata is doing its part to promote a heart-healthy America. "Sakata is proud to breed quality genetics for a laundry list of healthy fruits and vegetables, but there is one cardiovascular superfood for which they are most recognized: broccoli," the company said in a press release.Sakata's Centennial... Read more