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Duda Farm Fresh Foods serving up ‘Dandy’ Celery Straws at expo

Nichole Towell, marketing development manager for Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., headquartered in Oviedo, FL, said that the company, a leading national grower, marketer and shipper of vegetables and fruits, including citrus, would be exhibiting at the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA, July 26-28.

“Duda Farm Fresh Foods will be exhibiting at booth number 137,” said Towell. “Joining me at our booth will be Sammy Duda, vice president of western vegetables, Elena Hernandez, our newly hired marketing manager, Susan Noritake, director of fresh-cut sales, Tim Ross and Russell Dollar, both regional sales managers and Paul Huckabay, sales manager.”

Dandy-Celery-StrawsDuda Farm Fresh Foods’ ‘Dandy’ brand Celery Straws are a healthy addition to beverages.The company will be featuring its fresh-cut “Dandy” brand Celery Straws at the PMA Foodservice expo. Towell said that “Dandy” Celery Straws are the ideal component to savory or sweet cocktail libations, “as well as good-for-you fresh juices,” she added. “The celery is triple-washed and ready to use. Not only can the celery straw be used to consume beverages, it is a fully edible healthy alternative to plastic.”

“Dandy” Celery Straws will be showcased during the entire PMA Foodservice expo at Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ booth, with a bartender mixing fun libations for all to try.

Duda Farm Fresh Foods has been growing fresh products since 1909 when its founder, Andrew Duda, moved to the U.S. in search of the American dream. Today, 85 years later, the company’s vision is to provide freshness, flavor and quality at an affordable price, which was Andrew Duda’s original goal. The company is now in its fifth generation of family ownership and management, all of whom strives for excellence and continues to keep the family’s farming business running strong.

Today it has numerous growing locations and it ships its products throughout North America.

“Our foodservice customers are in all categories and ranges,” said Towell. “They include high-end restaurants, family-style chains, quick-serve operations and all other types of operators.”

In May, Duda Farm Fresh Foods announced that it had hired Elena Hernandez is its new marketing manager.

“In her role, she will help execute the annual marketing plan and support both trade and consumer marketing efforts,” said Towell. “For the past five years, Elena was the marketing and communications specialist at Mann Packing Co. Inc. She graduated from California State University-Chico, where she earned a [degree] in agricultural business, with a minor in marketing. Prior to joining Mann, she was in new product development with Shamrock Seed Co., and she held marketing internships at Driscoll’s and Earthbound Farms.”

Hernandez will be based at the company’s Salinas office and she will report to Towell.

The company is also making strides toward sustainability. In July 2012, Gills Onions and Duda Farm Fresh Foods hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce their latest technologies and celebrate a collective 1.63 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

The event unveiled one of the world’s larger vanadium flow batteries and 37,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels. The initiative highlights the continued growth of Ventura County, CA, as a sustainable corridor, ripe with innovative, environmentally responsible practices, particularly within the fresh-cut industry.

Built by U.S.-based Prudent Energy, Gills’ tennis-court-sized vanadium flow battery was installed to build upon the company’s award-winning advanced energy recovery system and will further improve the processing facility’s energy efficiency during peak usage hours. Gills’ flow battery stores electricity during lower-cost nighttime hours. During higher-cost peak hours, the Gills facility can rely on the flow battery to generate 600 kilowatts of power for as long as six hours.

Duda’s 37,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels, engineered by Cenergy Power, are the latest addition to the company’s fresh-cut celery facility, which opened in 2008. The solar panels will generate 688,000 kilowatts per hour per year and provide 40 percent of the power for the fresh-cut celery and cooling facility.

Installing the panels allows Duda to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 478 metric tons each year.