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Black Gold Farms: Red is the new color of St. Patrick’s Day

Black Gold Farms is letting retailers know that that this year, red is the new color of St. Patrick’s Day. While the color green may be synonymous with the holiday, red potatoes are already part of St. Patrick’s Day feasts, whether they’re Irish or not — and the sales numbers show it.SPD Ironman 2016 LR-1

To help make red potato sales even stronger in March Black Gold Farms will be promoting red potatoes as the lucky charm for turning leftovers into a week of great meals.

“We will help retailers to tantalize their shoppers — and drive greater red potato purchases — with delicious corned beef and red potato hash leftovers that can be turned into Top O’ The Mornin’ Muffins or O’Leary’s Leftover pizza and even Irish egg rolls,” Don Ladhoff, director of fresh marketing and sales for Black Gold Farms, said in a press release. “Even better, by encouraging shoppers to enjoy more St. Patrick’s Day-themed leftovers, we will help retailers not only move more red potatoes, but also to sell more of other produce categories such as cabbage, carrots and onions.”

For a limited time, Black Gold Farms will be packaging its quality red potatoes in custom five-pound poly bags that urge shoppers to “make magic this St. Patrick’s Day” and highlight a recipe for corned beef and red potato hash on the package back. 

Retailers can drive even bigger sales by merchandising red potatoes using promotional materials, including attention-grabbing posters that showcase three different leftover recipes, as well as shelf talkers and special Kwik Lok tags that encourage shoppers to “see how red potatoes turn leftovers into great meals.” Pallet bin displays are also available, and social media efforts will bring even more awareness of red being the new color of St. Patrick’s Day.

Black Gold Farms grows and packs red potatoes for several retail customers using retailer-label packaging; the merchandising materials, Kwik Lok tags and pallet bin displays will also be made available to these accounts.

Meijer program generates $2.4 million for food pantries

The Meijer Simply Give program set a holiday record with $2.4 million for food pantries throughout the Midwest, making it the most successful holiday campaign in the program’s history.simply

Meijer customers donated more than $936,000 during the holiday Simply Give campaign, and combined with a donation from Meijer, set the donation total to more than $2.4 million. The Simply Give program has generated more than $21 million since November 2008 for food pantry partners to restock their shelves and feed hungry families.

“We cannot thank our customers, team members and food pantry partners enough for continuing to rise to the challenge and help us feed hungry families in the communities we serve,” Hank Meijer, co-chairman, said in a press release. “It’s inspiring to see this level of engagement.”

The Grand Rapids, MI-based retailer began its Simply Give program in 2008 as a way to help local food pantries throughout the Midwest achieve their mission of feeding hungry families.

During each Simply Give campaign, which runs three times a year, customers are encouraged to purchase a $10 Simply Give donation card upon checkout. Once purchased, the donation is converted into a Meijer Food-Only Gift Card and donated directly to the local food pantry selected by the store for that campaign.

“Hunger is a problem that occurs in all of our communities, which is why the funds generated from Simply Give stay local,” Meijer said in the release. “The Simply Give program gives everyone a chance to work toward ensuring no one has to go without food.”

USDA restricts three California PACA violators

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on three produce businesses for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • The Lexy Group, operating out of Santa Maria, CA, for failing to pay a $42,732 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Juan M. Cardenas was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

  • RFT Farm Sales Inc., operating out of Los Angeles, for failing to pay a $43,789 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Robert F. Thompson and Clarissa M. Thompson were listed as the officers, directors, and/or major stockholders of the business.  Another principal of the business at the time of the order was Stewart Thompson. He has challenged his responsibly connected status.

  • Eyob Tewolde, doing business as Yohana Bros., operating out of San Diego, for failing to pay an $11,145 award in favor of a California seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Eyob Tewolde was listed as the sole proprietor of the business.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,700 PACA claims involving more than $66 million. Its experts also assisted more than 7,100 callers with issues valued at approximately $100 million.




Frieda’s makes big splash with attention-grabbing citrus bags


Citrus fruits are enjoying their time in the spotlight, from everyday shoppers to foodies to chefs. And it’s not just during the winter when shoppers are looking for healthier options to brighten up their foods on dreary days. Specialty citrus is here to stay.

Once a limited specialty item, Meyer lemons have become increasingly popular. New and unusual citrus varieties like kumquats, finger limes, and Buddha’s hand citron are getting more attention these days thanks to the growth of foodie-focused millennial shoppers, who always seem to want something new and different — an “adventure” with every meal. Retailers who offer a wide variety of produce options can capitalize on this experiential shopping trend.

Part of Frieda’s Specialty Produce overall brand refresh, new specialty citrus bags offer an eye-catching design that welcomes shoppers to give the fruit a try. Featuring fun wordplay like “Don’t pucker up, we’re sweet” for Meyer lemons and “We’re blushing on the inside” for pink lemons, the packages attract curious shoppers who may not have tried these varieties.

Frieda’s branded line of citrus bags stands out with bright, bold, playful copy paired with a natural, kraft-paper feel. Frieda’s launched its new one-pound Meyer and seedless lemon bags in October 2015, and has recently added a one-pound pink lemon bag and an “adorable” eight-ounce kumquat bag to the line.

NJ ag convention and trade show set to kick off

The New Jersey State Agricultural Convention & Trade Show will be held Feb. 9-11 at the new Harrah's Resort Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. The department is hosting the convention in cooperation with the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey and Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

The 2016 convention and trade show will open on Tuesday, Feb. 9, with educational sessions held by the Vegetable Growers Association. Highlights from the program include sessions on the Food Safety Modernization Act, wine grapes, soil health and direct marketing/agritourism. New Jersey Department of Agriculture personnel will present seminars on third-party audits; issues regarding bee rentals; organic seed requirements; and becoming involved with the Farm to School Program. A full schedule of Vegetable Growers events is available at

The New Jersey State Agricultural Convention will open on Wednesday, Feb. 10 and will include New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher's annual State of the State of Agriculture address; a panel discussion on locally grown; on-farm wireless and fiber optics needs; and award presentations.

On Thursday, Feb. 11 there will be updates on farm labor, USDA Risk Management and Farm Service Agency; presentations on the latest Rutgers Cooperative Extension projects; and election of State Board of Agriculture members.

The trade show, which takes place Feb. 9-11, will feature vendors and representatives offering a wide range of agricultural products and services.