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In July Supervalu announced it was exploring a potential separation of its Save-A-Lot segment. As part of that process it had begun preparations to allow for a possible spin-off of Save-A-Lot into a stand-alone, publicly traded company. Now that is one step closer to becoming a reality. supervalu

Supervalu has successfully completed the amendment of its $1.5 billion senior secured term loan agreement, allowing it to undertake transactions necessary to effectuate a spin-off of Save-A-Lot.

“We are pleased to have been able to work with our term loan lenders to execute this amendment,” Bruce Besanko, executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said in a press release. “The company now has the flexibility under its credit agreements to further explore the previously announced potential separation of Save-A-Lot into a stand-alone, publicly traded company.”

In the event a spin-off of Save-A-Lot is consummated, the amendment requires that Save-A-Lot issue a minimum of $400 million of long-term debt and that Supervalu’s term loan balance be reduced by a minimum of $350 million, including with the net cash proceeds of the Save-A-Lot debt issuance.

In addition, Supervalu would be required to retain at the time of a spin-off of Save-A-Lot a certain minimum equity stake in the spun-off, publicly traded Save-A-Lot company. In addition, the amendment increases the company’s flexibility to execute certain sale and leaseback transactions and acquisitions under the term loan agreement.

Last week Becky Wilson, Tom Lange Family of Cos. vice president of operations, and Bre Macomber from Tom Lange Family of Cos. joined third and fourth grade students from Franklin Primary School at the school’s A to Z Salad Bar Celebration and Fruit & Veggie Pep Rally. Peoria-Schools

The event, organized in part with the United Fresh Start Foundation, showcased multiple salad bars stocked with fruits and veggies that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Students were encouraged to sample all of the 26 different produce items, from asparagus to zucchini. Students also participated in nutrition education that highlighted the importance of making Half Your Plate fresh fruits and veggies for better health, as well as interacted with Liftoff, Sodexo’s healthy eating ambassador.

“We are so excited to be at Franklin Primary School, just a short drive from our offices in Springfield, and it was great to see student’s happily sampling fruits and veggies from the salad bar,” Wilson said in a press release. “This is the first time I’ve come out to see kids enjoying fruits and veggies from the salad bars that our company donated. Since the event was incorporated with a pep rally, all of us were cheering for fruits and veggies. Based on their smiles, healthy choices were well received.”

Over the past two years, The Tom Lange Co. worked with the United Fresh Start Foundation to donate six salad bars to the Peoria Public Schools. These donations have assisted the school district with meeting new school lunch nutrition standards that require serving an increased amount and variety of fruits and veggies each day, as well as enabled the district to host nutrition education events such as the A to Z Salad Bar Celebration at different schools throughout the school year.

“The A to Z Salad Bar Celebration is designed to explain the many benefits of eating fruits and vegetables while introducing children to new varieties of produce,” Mark Streamer, general manager of Sodexo On Site Solutions, the foodservice provider for the Peoria Public Schools, said in the release. “We customize the events for each school and the different grade levels of students, but the focus is always on encouraging students to choose from an array of healthy, fresh fruits and veggies.”

The Peoria Public Schools first requested salad bars through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative over four years ago. Since that time, thanks to The Tom Lange Co. and the United Fresh Start Foundation’s efforts to engage other produce industry donors, the Peoria schools have now received 22 salad bars.

Streamer will be one of more than 50 school foodservice directors attending The Produce Forum for School Success at United Fresh 2016 in Chicago.

The Produce Forum for School Success is program of the United Fresh Start Foundation that brings K-12 school foodservice directors from the nation’s largest and most influential school districts to the United Fresh convention to meet produce industry leaders, share best practices with school foodservice colleagues, interact with USDA child nutrition officials, and participate in a host of education sessions that address a wide range of topics including produce procurement, storage and creative produce recipes.

School foodservice directors also get to attend The Fresh Festival for School Foodservice, a reception that showcases new and innovative produce items ideal for school foodservice meals and snacks.

In addition to the salad bars for the Peoria schools, The Tom Lange Co. also sponsored two riders in the 2015 Tour de Fresh, supporting salad bars for schools in Missouri and New Jersey.

GREENSBORO, NC -- The Southeast Produce Council raised $85,000 to help two organizations at its third annual Terry Vorhees Charity Golf Classic, held May 17-19 at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center, here. The two beneficiaries, which each received $42,500, were the Produce for Better Health Foundation and Victory Junction. SEPCgolfPBH3451The Southeast Produce Council presented a check to the Produce for Better Health Foundation Wednesday afternoon, May 18, during the council's Terry Vorhees Charity Golf Classic. Shown are PBH's Howard Nager, Scott Owens and Elizabeth Pivonka, along with SEPC's David Sherrod and Mark Daniels. View more photos here.

About 175 registered for the event, according to SEPC Executive Director David Sherrod. The event honored the memory of Mr. Vorhees, the Southeast Produce Council's first executive director and one of its founders, who died July 30, 2014.

Following a meeting of the SEPC board of directors Wednesday morning, May 18 and the opening luncheon, SEPC President Mark Daniels of Mountain King Potatoes welcomed attendees to a PBH workshop entitled State of the Plate: America's Consumption of Fruit & Vegetables.

PBH President Elizabeth Pivonka talked about the role that fruits and vegetables play in fighting a variety of health concerns, especially hypertension, heart disease and strokes. She also showed a short video that provided information about the foundation.

Pivonka, who has been integrally involved with the foundation's efforts since it began in 1991, said that it was important to "motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables because it matters to their health." The foundation does this "by working with industry, consumer influencers and thought leaders to encourage them to be advocates for fruits and vegetables and the Fruits & Veggies — More Matters Program."

She also said, "We must always focus on the needs of women," since women still do the majority of the meal planning, shopping, preparing and cleanup. Among the other subjects that Pivonka discussed were consumer demographics and how they have changed over the years and continue to change, the future of fruits and vegetables and the population effect.

On the topic of what to focus on next, she offered four ideas: reposition fruits and vegetables, cross promote, remember pricing strengths and advance away-from-home opportunities.

That evening, following a silent auction and live auction to help in the process of raising money, Mark Schumacher, chief development officer at Victory Junction, told attendees a little about his organization, a camp for kids with serious medical conditions based in Randleman, NC.

Built in 2004, its formation was spearheaded by the well-known Petty family (of racecar fame) after 19-year-old Adam Petty tragically lost his life in a racing accident. Adam's father, Kyle, is very involved in Victory Junction, and met with golfers prior to the tournament Thursday morning.

The winning foursome in the golf tournament, with a score of 60, were Scott Fisher of Food Lion, Ryan Sugrue of Robinson Fresh, Doug Johnson of Robinson Fresh and Chris Elmer of Del Monte Fresh Produce Co.

"This event has been as much of a blessing to us as it is to the organizations that receive the money," Sherrod told The Produce News at the conclusion of the event. "I'm humbled by the support we get from our sponsors."

However, as the Southeast Produce Council continues to fine-tune its events, the board of directors voted in Greensboro to discontinue the Terry Vorhees Golf Classic as a standalone event, Sherrod announced.

Starting at the council's Southern Innovations Symposium this fall, the Terry Vorhees Golf Classic will be rolled into the existing Ken Lanhardt Memorial Golf Tournament in a tentatively named Founders Memorial Golf Classic, which will honor Mr. Vorhees and Mr. Lanhardt, both of whom were instrumental in the founding of the Southeast Produce Council back in 1999.

The 2016 Southern Innovations Symposium will be held Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA.

Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers will see another early start of its stone fruit season, which much like 2015’s will kick off with tree-ripened apricots from Gilbert Orchards on June 1. The apricots will go through early August, according to Scott Marboe, director of marketing at Wenatchee, WA-based OSRG.Starr-Ranch-organic-apricot-1lb-pouch

"The new apricot crop looks to be close to last year’s statewide,” Marboe said in mid-May. “Here at Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers we are expecting a 15 percent increase in our crop due to new production, and we’re looking ahead to the peak windows to set up promotions as volumes ramp up.”

Marboe said the apricots have a smaller profile this season, and he noted, “That provides good opportunities on the 12/1# pouch. We’ll start with the Robada, which is a high-color apricot, and follow with the later Gourmet variety, also a great high-color piece of fruit.”

Demand is anticipated to be good following California’s crop, which was down by 25 percent. The California season is wrapping up a week earlier than normal, and Marboe said, “We’re expecting a small gap between the end of their apricots and the first shipments of our crop — an indication the Washington market should be strong through the first two weeks until the pipeline is full.

“Our organic apricot season will start around June 5 and we should have good volume until the June 20,” Marboe said, adding that organic apricots will be available through July 1.

“Washington’s organic market will also be strong as California will be finished, and there should be a five- to seven-day gap before Washington starts production,” he said.








This week Meijer opened new 192,000-square-foot supercenters in Evansville, IN, and Owensboro, KY. The stores are the first of nine new Meijer supercenters to open -- and part of an investment of more than $400 million in new and remodeled stores -- this year, which will create 3,000 new jobs across the Grand Rapids, MI-based retailer’s six-state footprint.meijer

With more than 40 stores located throughout Indiana and Kentucky, the new stores are built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design standards and will be open 24 hours a day. The supercents offer more than 600 varieties of farm-fresh produce.

“Investing in Evansville and Owensboro was an easy decision for us,” Hank Meijer, chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We’re excited to serve new friends and neighbors. We’re looking forward to working with both communities and growing alongside the families of the tri-state area.”

Opening celebrations began with a ribbon-cutting event at each store, followed by remarks from Meijer leadership and local officials. The stores also demonstrated their commitment to the community by making donations to local organizations. Store Director Kelly Agler presented $25,000 to the Goodfellows Club of Owensboro to provide funding for local children in need. Evansville Store Director Gordon Venema presented $25,000 to the Tri-State Food Bank, an organization dedicated to the fight against hunger that helps provide more than 8 million pounds of food each year in 33 counties in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

As part of its ongoing community support, Meijer donates more than 6 percent of its net profit to charitable organizations annually, and each of its stores works with local food pantries and banks to help fight hunger at the local level. Since 2008, the retailer’s Simply Give program has generated more than $21 million for its food pantry partners throughout the Midwest.

“Our teams have exceeded expectations every step of the way as we prepared for these openings,” Meijer President Rick Keyes said in the release. “Our No. 1 priority is to serve customers, so we’re ready to provide our neighbors in Owensboro and Evansville the shopping experience they deserve.”