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Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers received rave reviews as it introduced the new JUICI apple variety to thousands of eager samplers at this year’s record-setting PMA Fresh Summit.

In limited volume this first year of commercial distribution, the newly released JUICI is a delightfully sweet-tart cross between the Honeycrisp and Braeburn, combining the best eating and storing qualities of both varieties. JUICI-lake-Chelan 2

Bruce Turner, OSRG international marketing representative, said the thinner-skinned apple with a texture similar to Honeycrisp was more than 10 years in development by growers who work the rich volcanic soils of Washington.

“Because of its Honeycrisp parentage, the apple respirates slowly and has incredible shelf life,” Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers Marketing Director Scott Marboe said in a press release. “It comes off the tree in excess of 18-20 psi, making it a very dense apple that holds its crunch at room temperature. Everyone loves its remarkable flavor, and consumers will also be very pleased with how well it holds up in their fruit bowls at home.”

“It radiates a vibrant, red with a hint of orange over a yellow background,” Turner said of the JUICI coloration. He added that while distribution is limited this inaugural season, the proprietary variety will be distributed exclusively by OSRG throughout North America and worldwide as production increases.

“This is our first commercial season, with a limited release in early November,” Turner explained. “We are planting trees heavily over the next few years, and the JUICI will be the fastest ramp-up of a proprietary variety in Washington apple history.”

And while the current season’s crop is presold to a targeted distribution group to test the sweet-tart flavor in every demographic in the nation, Turner said, “next year we will triple in volume, and by 2018 and 2019 we should have enough for a more general distribution.”

Turner continued, “OSRG is supporting our retail partners this season with instant coupons, huge demo programs, posters, point-of-sale cards, freestanding display bins and ads. Every carton will contain a logo card that says ‘TRY ME!’ for stores with limited room for POS materials. And the apple itself is the ideal size for retail, peaking on size 72 and 80.”

“The apple category is expanding and exciting again,” Marboe said. “There are several very good proprietary varieties out there, but we think this one tops them all. The real test is to get them into mouths of apple consumers and let them decide for themselves, and that’s why our limited release is heavily supported with demos, ads, instant coupons and other tools to attract shoppers.”

The JUICI is packed in 27-pound euros with its distinctive trademarked artwork and logo, Turner added.

The Save Mart Cos. has chosen ReposiTrak to manage regulatory and business documentation compliance within its supply chain. Based in the heart of the California’s Central Valley, Save Mart is committed to sourcing a wide variety of local products ensuring that fresh comes first for neighborhoods throughout California and Northern Nevada. 

“At the Save Mart Companies, the health and safety of our customers is of the highest priority,” James Orr, chief supply chain officer for Save Mart, said in a press release. “We were looking for a solution that would enable us to scale and automate the management of our required documents from both domestic and international vendors, and provide us with 24/7 visibility to compliance.”   

“We are very proud that the Save Mart Companies has chosen ReposiTrak to reduce brand, regulatory and financial risk in their supply chain,” Randall K. Fields, chairman and chief executive officer of Park City Group and ReposiTrak, added in the press release. “Their commitment to food safety and transparency for their customers makes us proud to have them utilize our solution.”

With annual sales of $4.3 billion, the Save Mart Cos. employs about 16,000 team members and operates 205 traditional and price-impact stores under the banners of FoodMaxx, Lucky, Lucky California and Save Mart.  

ReposiTrak, a wholly owned subsidiary of Park City Group, helps manage regulatory, financial and brand risk associated with issues of safety in the global food, pharmacy and dietary supply chains.

WTRMLN WTR, the pioneer in cold-pressed juiced watermelon, unveiled its all-natural LMNADE at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, held Oct. 14-16 in Orlando, FL.

WTRMLN WTR’s LMNADE combines the fresh taste of cold-pressed watermelon with organic lemon juice for a healthy, nutrient-dense hydration beverage.

WTRMLN-WTR LMN-Bottle WTRMLN LMNADE is the brand’s first offshoot of it signature WTRMLN WTR. It touts the same functional benefits and super clean nutritional label as the original. And, like the original, it uses only three simple ingredients: watermelon flesh, watermelon rind and organic lemon. It is also rich in watermelon’s naturally occurring potassium, lycopene and the amino acid L-Citrulline. No sugar or water is ever added. Each bottle of the 12-ounce beverage has 90 calories and 825 milligrams of potassium (electrolytes), which far surpasses any artificially flavored, sugar-filled sports drink or traditional lemonade.

The watermelons pressed to make WTRMLN WTR are gathered from family-owned farms across the United States, and are primarily made from watermelons that cannot be marketed due to superficial flaws such as blemishes, sunburns or odd shapes.

In May 2016, WTRMLN WTR announced an investment from pop superstar Beyoncé, who recently released an album titled Lemonade.

“I invested in WTRMLN WTR because it’s the future of clean, natural hydration,” said Beyoncé. “As partners, we share a simple mission to deliver accessible wellness to the world. This is more than an investment in a brand, it’s an investment in female leaders, fitness, American farmers and the health of people and our planet.”

WTRMLN WTR LMNADE comes in a 12-ounce bottle and retails for $3.99. For more information, visit

ORLANDO, FL — Produce exports are critically important to Mexico, according to José Calzada, the country’s secretary of agriculture.

Calzada heads SAGARPA, which is the national secretariat for agriculture, ranching, rural development, fish and nutrition. In 2015, Mexico had $26.6 billion in agricultural exports. Of that, $22.9 billion were sales to the U.S. market.  

Calzada is working to build export sales not only to the United States but also to many other customers around the world.

On Oct. 15, at the PMA Fresh Summit, Calzada sat with The Produce News to discuss the development of this program.

Jose-Calzada-PMAJosé Calzada, Mexico’s secretary of agriculture, in SAGARPA’s booth at the PMA Fresh Summit.“I always tell the Mexicans that we have to move from volume to value,” he said. “We used to be concerned with traditional crops, but we are moving to more innovative, technologically advanced producing systems.”

The exports of fruits and vegetables has advanced a great deal “because we have good producers” who use innovation and technology. “We have got to stay on that path.”

Calzada is a strong supporter of the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which he describes as “a better NAFTA” because it involves more nations and more producers. Forty percent of the world’s gross domestic product is represented in the TPP discussions, he noted.

Calzada said Mexico and the United States “have a relationship that is very good,” noting that he works closely with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. Two current matters under way are to admit shipments of avocados from the Mexican state of Jalisco and a deal with swine trade.

In early November, Calzada will lead a weeklong trade tour to Argentina and Chile “to look for what we can sell. We want an exchange of information.”

In mid-May, Calzada and Raúl Urteaga, SAGARPA’s general coordinator for international affairs, led 46 Mexican food exporters on a trade tour to the Arabic Peninsula. This involved meetings in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates Kuwait and Qatar. Among the Mexican products to catch a boost in export business from this trip were avocados, beef and honey, Calzada said.

Mexican food exports to Canada and China are established and “also, we have new markets in Europe, especially for fruits,” he said.

In 2014, Mexico exported agricultural products worth $2.5 million to the new Chinese market. That figure is expected to reach $100 million in five years, he said. Japan and South Korea are other key and growing export markets.

SAGARPA is hosting a major food export fair in Mexico City Dec. 8-10, 2016.

Baldor Specialty Foods announced this week that its in-store, digital kiosk called The Baldor Forager — which makes the company’s selection of unique culinary items available to home cooks — is now available to shoppers at the newly-opened Whole Foods Market at 2101 Pennsylvania Avenue in Philadelphia, PA.

The Baldor Forager kiosk was first introduced at the Whole Foods Market in Williamsburg, NY, in July. The Philadelphia installation follows as the first in the company’s expansion plan. This kiosk, that allows customers to order one-of-a-kind produce items, is tailored to the needs of an increasingly sophisticated consumer.

Despite surging interest, specialty ingredients are rarely available through brick-and-mortar retailers. The inaccessibility of these items is reflected in search results, where two of the terms most commonly associated with a wide array of specialty ingredients are “where to buy” and “substitute”. The Baldor Forager satisfies the growing demand for wild mushrooms, heirloom produce and other items that were once the secret of the metro area’s top chefs. The Baldor Forager’s digital interface encourages exploration, discovery and a retail experience focused on customization. Shoppers are able to place their orders conveniently at The Baldor Forager kiosk and return for in-store pick-up in a day or two on average.

Baldor curates items available on the kiosk based on uniqueness, seasonality and popularity with celebrated restaurants. Current offerings include fresh, water-grown wasabi root, salsify and an unusual variety of lavender-hued mushroom from France called a Bluefoot.

“High-quality, specialty produce has always been the core of our business," said Baldor CEO TJ Murphy. "We’re really passionate about the items available through The Baldor Forager and can’t wait to share them with a new audience in Philadelphia.”

“At Whole Foods Markets, we’re all about constantly improving the customer experience” said Matt Lamoreaux, Whole Foods Mid Atlantic produce coordinator. “We know our customers want to try new, special and exotic ingredients, however, it has been a challenge for us to stock fresh, unique produce items that are very fragile and have a short shelf-life.  We’re thrilled to welcome Baldor’s unique in-store kiosk to our new store in Philadelphia. Now, our customers have the ability to order a gourmet item and have it delivered directly to the store, retaining the integrity of the product.”