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Students gain real world experience thanks to L&M internships
The future of the produce industry will depend largely on new people being introduced to the field, which is why L&M Cos. offers internships based on seasonal needs throughout the L&M farms, warehouses and sales teams. “Intern programs in fresh produce are great exposure for young people to be a part of a vital industry,” Read More ...
New Whole Foods Market features 75 local growers
Whole Foods Market recently opened a new 35,000-square-foot store in East Austin, TX. Special features of the new East Austin store include: Produce department offering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including selections from about 75 local growers throughout the year including fresh flowers, peaches and Read More ...
Retailer announces plans to rebuild
CUB and its franchise partner Jerry’s Foods announced its commitment to the Minneapolis community to rebuild its Broadway Avenue and Lake Street stores, both of which are owned by Jerry’s Foods. CUB also announced that while those two locations remain closed, CUB plans to open temporary community stores at each location to Read More ...
Sun World takes firm stance on IP rights breach
California-based variety development and licensing company Sun World International LLC has reached settlement of a dispute with a prominent Australian table grape producer (and associated entities) within the Sunraysia region. This follows breaches of Sun World’s intellectual property and contractual rights discovered Read More ...
Fall Creek names regional director for Mexico
Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc., a global blueberry breeding and nursery company, has announced that Alberto Medina-Mora has joined the company as regional director for Mexico. Most recently, Medina-Mora served as senior director of development and innovation at NatureSweet Mexico, a vertically integrated tomato grower, Read More ...
Big Y exec breaks new ground
Theresa A. Jasmin has joined Big Y Foods as chief financial officer following the recent retirement of William T. Mahoney. She is responsible for the company’s strategic planning, finance, accounting, treasury and tax functions. As a senior member of the executive team, she reports to Charles L. D’Amour, president and CEO along with Read More ...

DeFranco sees highest almond & walnut prices ever

The main business of D. DeFranco & Sons in Los Angeles is doing value added packaging of fresh produce items, specifically washed and trimmed green beans and washed and trimmed ready-to-cook super sweet corn, for retail. But for many years, the company has also had a sizeable holiday-oriented in-shell nut business.

The company distributes the nuts, in one-pound, two-pound, four-pound and 50-pound bags, to supermarkets in Southern California and to large wholesalers in Western Canada and throughout much of the United States other than the Northeast, according to President Paul DeFranco.

Prices are higher this year for almonds and walnuts than they have been in more than half a century.

“All I know is our contracted prices from almond and walnut growers here in California are the highest in 60 years,” DeFranco said Oct. 11. “We are contracted for walnuts greater than $2 a pound. I’ve been working here for 32 years, and it is the first experience of contracting walnuts from growers at greater than $2 a pound. It is unbelievable!”

006-HoliDriedFruitNut-DeFraPaul DeFrancoCustomers are “all jumping out of their chairs,” he said. “We have a 25 to 30 percent price increase” from 2012, and customers “want to know why.” By the time they add freight and distribution costs and get the product into the stores, “you are talking about $3-4 a pound.”

Pecan prices are even higher. “We are contracting at $2.70 to $2.80” with a pecan shipper in California, he said. “They grow an excellent product, and we buy from them.”

Pistachios “are wild also,” DeFranco continued. Growers continue to plant trees to try to keep up with growing demand, and still prices rise. “I visited a grower in December this past year,” in the Central Valley of California, who had just planted 3,000 acres of pistachios.

One nut variety that seems to be stable in pricing is hazelnuts out of Oregon, he said. “We handle the Barcelona variety in-shell,” and pricing on those was predictably similar to last year.

High farm gate prices obviously mean high retail prices, and they will be high enough this season to deter some consumers, or to cause them to buy fewer nuts than they normally would.

“I’m a consumer,” DeFranco said. “I go to the store. I see these prices. I’ll buy a bag, just because it is seasonal, but that’s all. I wouldn’t make a second purchase. But that’s me. I’m a conservative average-income person. Of course, people with higher income can buy as much as they desire, but I always look at the mainstream middle-income consumers. It sure costs a lot of money to live, especially in California.”

So why are the prices of some nut varieties so high? “It’s world demand,” DeFranco said. Demand is so strong from foreign countries that almond and walnut processors “could ship everything export and I don’t think it would be a hindrance on their business.”

Are other countries “not growing nuts?” he asked. “Why this huge demand from California?” With demand so high worldwide, “you would think other countries would see this and start planting trees.”

The nut producers D. DeFranco & Sons does business with are not the largest producers in the state, but they are sizeable family businesses, he said. They include “the third or fourth largest packers of almonds in the state of California, [and] the third or fourth largest packers of walnuts.”

Students gain real world experience thanks to L&M internships
The future of the produce industry will depend largely on new people being introduced to the field, which is why L&M Cos. offers internships based on seasonal needs throughout the L&M farms, warehouses and sales teams. “Intern programs in fresh produce are great exposure for young people to be a part of a vital industry,” Read More ...
New Whole Foods Market features 75 local growers
Whole Foods Market recently opened a new 35,000-square-foot store in East Austin, TX. Special features of the new East Austin store include: Produce department offering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including selections from about 75 local growers throughout the year including fresh flowers, peaches and Read More ...
Retailer announces plans to rebuild
CUB and its franchise partner Jerry’s Foods announced its commitment to the Minneapolis community to rebuild its Broadway Avenue and Lake Street stores, both of which are owned by Jerry’s Foods. CUB also announced that while those two locations remain closed, CUB plans to open temporary community stores at each location to Read More ...
Sun World takes firm stance on IP rights breach
California-based variety development and licensing company Sun World International LLC has reached settlement of a dispute with a prominent Australian table grape producer (and associated entities) within the Sunraysia region. This follows breaches of Sun World’s intellectual property and contractual rights discovered Read More ...
Fall Creek names regional director for Mexico
Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc., a global blueberry breeding and nursery company, has announced that Alberto Medina-Mora has joined the company as regional director for Mexico. Most recently, Medina-Mora served as senior director of development and innovation at NatureSweet Mexico, a vertically integrated tomato grower, Read More ...
Big Y exec breaks new ground
Theresa A. Jasmin has joined Big Y Foods as chief financial officer following the recent retirement of William T. Mahoney. She is responsible for the company’s strategic planning, finance, accounting, treasury and tax functions. As a senior member of the executive team, she reports to Charles L. D’Amour, president and CEO along with Read More ...

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