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This year, National Pear Month is going global. To celebrate the 12th anniversary of U.S. Department of Agriculture officially declaring December as National Pear Month, USA Pears will hit the road Dec. 3 and provide samples of this juicy, delicious fruit to consumers across the world. DSC02255

Beginning at 2 p.m. local time in New Zealand, people will have the opportunity to taste a variety of USA-grown pears via pop-up sampling opportunities in more than 24 countries including China, Saudi Arabia and Mexico and across all U.S. time zones for 24 hours of continuous sampling and promotion of USA Pears. It’s the ideal time to celebrate the abundance and variety of USA Pears, now at their peak and available worldwide.

Pear-Up-banner “This is the first time USA Pears has done a sampling event of this magnitude, and we’re really excited to have people across all time zones sample pears throughout a single day and interact on social media,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of Pear Bureau Northwest, a nonprofit trade association promoting fresh pears on behalf of the nearly 1,600 pear growers in Washington and Oregon. “While Washington and Oregon account for 84 percent of the pears commercially grown in the U.S., we export nearly 40 percent so they truly are a fruit enjoyed around the world.”

The ten varieties of pears grown in Washington and Oregon include: Green Anjou, Red Anjou, Bartlett, Red Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Seckel and Starkrimson.

On Dec. 3, consumers can connect with pear lovers from all over the world by visiting USA Pears social platforms, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and follow #WorldDay or #WorldPearDay.

In the United States, sampling pop-ups will appear in New York City, Minneapolis, MN, Denver, San Francisco and Portland, OR, with several retailer sampling locations in between.

Korenna Wilson will join U.S. Apple Association on Dec. 1 as the association’s director of consumer health and media relations. Wilson brings significant experience in promoting food, health, defense, economic development and science industries through both traditional media and social media channels. She also has particular expertise in high-profile crisis management initiatives.

KorennaWilson211Korenna Wilson

In her role, Wilson will be responsible for raising consumer awareness and knowledge of apples’ many benefits via proactive media relations programs as well as integrated social/digital campaigns, such as the award-winning annual “Apples for Education” program that helps raise funds for school causes nationwide.  Wilson also will manage USApple’s health and nutrition research program, coordinating and releasing fresh, peer-reviewed studies on apples’ healthy attributes.

In addition, Wilson will oversee USApple’s crisis management program. USApple recently completed a comprehensive survey of its membership, and the results highlighted growers’ desire for the association to continue its strong and active crisis communications program.  Wilson has previously trained executives in the fresh produce industry on how to communicate effectively in high-pressure situations, and will continue that strategy with USApple.


USApple President & CEO Jim Bair said, “In a city where the ability to share positive messages and articulate positions under sometimes difficult situations is a valuable currency, Korenna stood out in a field of exceptional candidates.”

"I’m fortunate to join a team of talented staff and lead the association’s consumer education and media relations efforts," said Wilson.  “I step into this role with excitement, humility and anticipation.  I look forward to growing consumer awareness of the apple industry and its positive impact on public health, as well as provide support and resources to our apple growers to ensure they thrive and succeed.”

Previously Wilson has worked at multiple strategic communications and public relations firms, as well as serving as Press Secretary for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  She holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

Supermarket operator Albertsons Cos. is close to reaching a deal to acquire Schenectady, NY-based Price Chopper for around $1 billion, Reuters reported on Nov. 29.

price-chopper-logo Price Chopper operates 130 stores in the Northeast in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Albertsons, based in Boise, ID, is the second-largest supermarket chain with 2,200 locations in the United States. Along with Kroger Co., the leading U.S. retail chain, and No. 3 Publix, the top three retailers control 27 percent of the market, according to IBIS World, a research firm. albertsons-logoalbertsons-logo

If successful, the acquisition by Albertsons would expand its reach in the Northeast following an effort to shore up its presence in the central and western regions in 2015 via a merger with Pleasanton, CA-based Safeway.

In addition to its Albertsons banner, the retailer also has stores operating under the Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Tom Thumb and United Supermarkets brands.

Tanimura & Antle, a leading grower and shipper of premium fresh produce, has hired produce industry veteran Samantha Cabaluna as vice president of brand marketing and communications. In this new role, Cabaluna will lead the evolution of the Tanimura & Antle marketing and communications program, working closely with Rick Antle, chief executive officer and president, and Jeff Jackson, senior vice president of sales and marketing.  

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAa6AAAAJDVhMDYzYzQ5LTZkNDgtNGQ1MC1hOTliLTE4YjZmODU3MTNjZASamantha CabalunaCabaluna is a brand marketer and communications expert with a proven record of wins, said Antle. "She has been a steadfast leader time after time," he said in the company press release. "We are excited to have Samantha joining our team and the best is yet to come."

Cabaluna comes to Tanimura & Antle following nearly 14 years at Earthbound Farm, where she was instrumental in building and protecting the company's brand, overseeing all communications and marketing initiatives including consumer and shopper marketing, packaging/graphic design, public relations, issues and crisis management, social media, and web communications, as well as serving as the company's primary spokesperson.

"I am honored to be a part of the Tanimura & Antle family," said Cabaluna in the press release. "The legacy of this company is a powerful foundation that will continue to nurture innovation and bring more delicious, premium fresh produce to more family tables as the company grows. I'm thrilled to be asked to help catalyze that growth."

If Albert Perez, president and chief executive officer of Coconut Grove, FL-based Continental Fresh Produce, could have had one wish in his younger days, it would have been to pitch for the New York Yankees.

“Even though that train has left the station, I am more than thrilled to be going to New York to pitch my produce items at the New York Produce Show,” Perez said.

Although Continental Fresh has been an exhibitor for many years at the SEPC Southern Exposure Show, 2016 will mark the first time that the company exhibits at the New York Produce Show.IMG 5136.7Celebrity Chef Alex Callegari, also known as the Firefighter Foodie, will be at the Continental Fresh booth during the New York Produce Show.

“We have been waiting for the right moment to join this amazing show, as a major part of our customer base is in the Northeast,” Perez said. “Another great benefit of the show is that it occurs on the very week that Continental Fresh will be kicking off our offshore winter vegetable programs. As the show gets under way, we will have our first arrivals of our Atlas Fresh label cucumbers from our farms in Honduras.”

Continental Fresh is a leading importer of cucumbers from Honduras. Last season the weather did not cooperate due to El Niño, but this year all conditions seem to be favorable and the company expects quality and yields to be back to normal.

Some of the great features of the company’s program include up to four ocean vessel arrivals per week, making product extremely fresh; Primus Labs GFS certifications of field and packinghouse operations; Produce Traceability Initiative case-level tagging (the only cucumber operation in Honduras currently doing this); and 100 percent pole grown cucumbers.

“The cucumbers will be followed shortly by our butternut squash programs for retail and process programs,” Perez said.

Continental Fresh will have ample retail supplies of Atlas Fresh Butternut through the Easter promotions. It will also pack a jumbo size No.1 quality butternut in 60-pound bins for process customers.

“We will be arriving directly into Northeast ports with this product and loading out of our Eastern Propak location in Glassboro, NJ,” Perez said. “This season, Continental Fresh will offer straight neck yellow and zucchini squashes for the first time. It is a great complement to our veg line and will give our LTL customers some more items to pick up at International Cold Storage, our state-of-the-art loading facility in Oakland Park, Florida.”

At the New York Produce Show, Continental Fresh will be bringing its nationally recognized celebrity chef Alex Callegari, also known as the Firefighter Foodie. Callegari is a Boca Raton firefighter and competitive chef who has appeared on “Cooks vs. Cons” from the Food Network, “Fox & Friends” and “The Steve Harvey Show.” He has also excelled in national competitions such as the World Food Championships, Budweiser Bud & Burgers, Chevron Game Day Chef, Steak-Umm Firehouse Challenge and others.

“This is the second year of our partnership with the Firefighter Foodie and it has brought much excitement to the way we look at our products,” Perez said. “Alex describes his goal as uniting families by bringing them all together around the kitchen table. As marketers, we now look at our job as providing the raw materials so the families can create and share works of art in their home.”

Apart from showing off his cooking prowess and sampling some of his tasty creations, Callegari will be walking the aisles looking for the next new flavor.

“Recently I discovered some Citriburst finger limes that blew me away,” Callegari said. “I’m excited to see what I will discover that will wow me this time around.”

Attendees are invited to visit booth No. 270 where Perez and Sales Director Jackie Obana will be available to discuss specifics of their programs as well as sample some of Callegari delights.