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Bento-Box-with-GrapesAs the California grape season is kicking off, so is a new show on the Public Broadcast System with television star, celebrity chef, best‐selling author and nutritionist Ellie Krieger.Ellie-Krieger

The new show, “Ellie’s Real Good Food," kicks off today with a media event in New York City. The show will appear in 251 PBS stations around the country, including nine of the top 10 markets, as well as both markets in the grape-growing regions of California: KVPT in Fresno/Bakersfield and KVCR in Palm Springs.

“Ellie’s show is about helping people make healthier eating choices, whether that be at home, work or school,” Jeff Cardinale, vice president of communications for the California Table Grape Commission, said in a press release. “Adding California grapes is an easy and tasty way to help everyone eat better.”

California grape advertisements will be featured in every episode with star spots in two of the episodes, which include one episode where Krieger uses grapes to help a family get out of a breakfast rut and another episode where she shows how grapes make a healthy snack at work.

The California grape season kicked off this month and will continue through January. For Krieger’s recipes with grapes and more tasty ideas, go to the Grapes from California website at

Bruce Paschal, a longtime veteran of the produce industry who held executive positions at Dole and A. Duda & Sons, died May 2 at the age of 93.

Mr. Paschal, who was born in Williamson, WV, and raised in Batavia, OH, was a graduate of Ohio State University, where he met his wife, Margaret Rees.bruceBruce Paschal

Early in his career, Mr. Paschal was national sales manager for Bausch & Lomb in Rochester, NY, where he promoted the famous Ray Ban sunglasses in the early 1950s.

Following his time at Bausch & Lomb, he joined Standard Fruit & Steamship Co. in New Orleans, where he built that sales team that took the Cabana banana (later known as the Dole banana) to a leading position in the U.S. market.

In 1972, Mr. Paschal moved his family to San Francisco Bay area and was named senior vice president of sales and marketing for Castle & Cook, which owned the Dole Food Co.

While at Dole, Mr. Paschal played a key role in expanding markets for Dole products. In 1979, he and his wife moved to Japan for a year to lay the groundwork for distributing Dole products in that Asian nation.

After leaving Castle & Cook in 1983, Mr. Paschal retired briefly but soon began working as a consultant for Ocean Spray and the Jamaican government. He returned to work full time in 1987 when he joined Sun World in the Palm Desert, CA, area. He later worked as an executive at A. Duda & Sons in Oveido, FL.

During the last 10 years, Mr. Paschal was involved as a volunteer mentor at Score, where he counseled small business entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses.

A small family funeral was held in Roanoke, VA, and a memorial service is scheduled for later this year.

Mr. Paschal is survived by his wife, Margaret; a daughter, Susan; sons Bruce, John and Brad; and 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A career that began in 1974 as a Giant Eagle supermarket clerk will end on June 30, as President and Chief Operating Officer John Lucot will retire after 42 years with the company. Laura Karet, Giant Eagle chief executive officer, will also assume COO responsibilities for the company moving forward.

“The fact that I have spent my entire career with Giant Eagle is a testament to the compassionate spirit and commitment to the personal growth of others that is at the core of our wonderful organization,” Lucot said in a press release.Lucot001John Lucot “And it is this commitment to serving others, including our tens of thousands of team members and millions of customers, that I will miss most.

Lucot has served in his current leadership role since January 2012. His tenure has included executive positions in distribution, retail development, real estate and operations. The company said Lucot has been instrumental in the development of Giant Eagle’s GetGo, real estate and independent operations businesses, while investing hundreds of millions of dollars in capital reimbursement to ensure that the company’s stores deliver a world-class shopping experience.

“John’s value to Giant Eagle is immeasurable," Karet said in the press release. "In addition to his expertise, steadfast leadership and competitive and fiery spirit, the profound and positive impact he has had on the lives of our team members cannot be understated.”

With Lucot as a key member of the senior leadership team, Giant Eagle has experienced significant growth, entering new markets while expanding throughout its primary communities, and launching new banners, including Market District.  Additionally, during this time, Giant Eagle launched its fuelperks! customer loyalty initiative, an industry-best fuel rewards program, and has enhanced its Own Brands program, which now includes more than 12,000 products.

“Throughout this difficult decision-making process, my belief in the strength and positive direction of the company has eased my mind as I begin spending less time with my Giant Eagle family, and more with my wife and children,” Lucot said.

TECOMAN, COLIMA —Sometimes it is good to buy when others are selling.

Starting in 2010, many Mexican citrus growers sold their farms rather than face citrus greening disease, which is technically known as Huanglongbing disease, or HLB. This has no impact on human health but can be a deadly threat to several types of citrus trees.2016-4-28-1250-Daniel-Carmen-OchoaDaniel Gudiño and his mother, Carmen Ochoa, who with her husband in 1989 founded a lime processing plant that has grown to become a vertically integrated business.

SiCar Farms bucked the trend, believing it could avoid greening disease through the proper management of rootstocks and biological controls of the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny mottled brown insect that is a vector of the bacterium associated with citrus greening.

This plan has worked for SiCar and the family-owned-and-operated company is flourishing. The firm has grown fast, but, “this expansion was driven by our customers. It was not a case of ‘grow-grow-grow’ without any sense,” said Daniel Gudiño Ochoa.

SiCar is a portmanteau, derived from the first letters of the first names of Sigifredo Gudiño and his wife, Carmen Ochoa, who launched the lime processing company Citrojugo S.A. de C.V. in Tecomán, Colima, in 1980.

According to their youngest son, Daniel Gudiño Ochoa, SiCar in 1989 opened a fresh lime packinghouse. He said that in 2008, the Mission, TX, fresh produce importing and distributing company Limex SiCar Ltd & Co. was launched.  

Because of HLB, citrus land prices in this area began falling in 2010.  Daniel Gudiño indicated that lime prices have risen 5-10 percent per year since that time. While careful rootstock choices have held off HLB in SiCar groves, the management of Asian citrus psyllid has also been helped by a strong new biological control program launched this year.2016-4-28-1257-limes-pouch-SiCarA finished fresh lime package is ready for shipment by SiCar.

The ecological control involves in-house breeding of the Lion of the Aphids, a green lacewing or Chrysoperla aphid. SiCar also brews a potion of garlic, onion, clove, cinnamon and pepper that is a deterrent to the citrus psyllid.   

“Five years ago, we sprayed (chemical pest controls) eight or nine times a year, at best, now we spray three times,” said Gudiño. “Our goal is zero within two or three years.”  

Limon SiCar in 2012 owned 750 acres of limes. In 2016, the firm is producing 5,250 acres. Ninety percent of this acreage is in Colima, with the remainder in Michoacán. The vast majority of this is key limes, but there are also Persian limes and, starting in 2017, lemons will be produced. Gudiño indicated the plan is to expand to 12,500 acres of citrus production by 2020.    

While SiCar harvests some limes throughout the year, the main harvest peak is from June through August. The company employs 1,000 workers during these key harvest and packing months.

SiCar is committed to food safety and social responsibility programs. The packinghouse is approved by Mexico Calidad Suprema, and the operation will be Rain Forest Alliance approved by the end of this year.  

Today, SiCar namesakes Sigifredo and Carmen are presidents of the board of directors. Luis Gudiño heads Limex SiCar, which brother Daniel indicated is the largest-volume lime importer in the United States. Daniel runs the Mexican citrus production and packinghouse. A third brother, Sigifredo Gudiño Jr., runs Citrojugo, which Daniel describes as “the largest processing asset for limes in the world.” Citrojugo processes juice, oils, essence and peels.  

The firm uses cattle manure for its fertilizer compost, so the firm began producing beef cattle to generate the compost ingredient. Currently, 500 head of cattle are produced by the family. This April SiCar began construction of 50 acres of shadehouse Roma tomatoes. The firm also is a shipper of tamarind and coconuts, and the family owns a trucking company as well.

Org-Cotton-Candy-2Melissa’s is pleased to introduce certified organic options of three of its most popular grapes: red Muscato, green Muscato and Cotton Candy.

Packaged in a convenient, two-pound clamshell, these Mexican-grown grapes will be available in late May, more than a month before the California season begins.

The red Muscato is known for its high sugar content and delicate, floral flavor and great crunch. The green Muscato is clean, bright and refreshing. As its name implies, the Cotton Candy grape has a distinctive flavor, true to its name.

"All are perfect for cheese trays, salads, grilled pizzas and flatbreads, preserves and of course enjoying right off the bunch," the company said in a press release. "Frozen, they make an ideal summer treat—tasty and healthy."