Instacart delivers for Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, BJ's and Costco in Miami

Instacart expanded delivery service to Miami, its 16th city, covering most of the metro area. Customers can order from Whole Foods Market, Costco, Winn-Dixie and BJ'S Wholesale Club as well as Petco stores and have everything delivered by Instacart in as little as one hour. Instacart customers do not need a Costco or BJ's membership to shop from those stores.

"We had thousands of requests for service in the Miami area, and strong interest from retail partners such as Whole Foods Market and Winn-Dixie, so the time was right," Apoorva Mehta, founder and chief executive officer of Instacart, said in a press release. "We're thrilled to bring the first on-demand grocery delivery service to Miami."

Whole Foods Market was one of the first national grocery chains to partner with Instacart for delivery, and has seen average weekly sales through Instacart grow to over $1.5 million.

"Instacart has already proven itself as a strong partner for Whole Foods Market in 15 other cities, and we're very excited to now offer our Miami customers this great shopping and delivery experience," Juan Nunez, president of the Florida region for Whole Foods Market, said in the release. "Whole Foods Market shoppers will now be able to conveniently purchase our high-quality products online or through the mobile app and have them delivered directly to a home or office address in as little as an hour."

To celebrate the Miami launch, deliveries for Instacart orders were done in style on a Boatsetter chartered boat on May 19. Customers who were out on a boat or have a dock within Instacart's Miami delivery zone received their groceries by transport via water.

Originally launched in San Francisco, Instacart has disrupted the traditional grocery delivery space by connecting customers with personal shoppers, independent contractors who shop for and deliver grocery orders providing their own transportation in as little as one hour. This eliminates the need for costly infrastructure such as inventory, warehouses, trucks and full-time drivers. In January 2015, Instacart was named "America's Most Promising Company" by Forbes magazine.




Dole celebrating National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day

It’s National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day, an official holiday dedicated to the proposition that getting more fresh fruits and vegetables is easy, delicious — and, based on U.S. obesity trends — entirely necessary. Starting today, the annual holiday will be celebrated every year on the Thursday before Memorial Day, at the start of the summer produce season.nfvd

Three Dole divisions — Dole Fresh Fruit of Westlake Village, Dole Fresh Vegetables of Monterey, CA, and the Kannapolis, NC-based Dole Nutrition Institute — suggested the day as an annual reminder of the link between increased produce consumption and a happier, healthier life.

Following a successful first year of local celebration, the day will be proclaimed a national holiday. Dole representatives are accepting official proclamations designating the Thursday prior to Memorial Day, which this year falls on May 21, as Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day in the California cities and counties where the company is based: Monterey County, Salinas, Westlake Village and Los Angeles County.

According to Bil Goldfield, director of communications for the Dole Food Co., the holiday goes beyond simple recipe and usage ideas to serve a valuable purpose. “One-third of adults and kids in the U.S. eat less than one serving of fresh produce a day, and Americans are twice as likely to be obese than the world population,” he said.  “Eating more fruits and vegetables may help reverse this trend and, according to research, could increase life expectancy.”

Dole will mark the inaugural holiday by posting special fruit and vegetable recipes, tips, nutritional insights and related content on its social pages, and in partnership with its blogger ambassadors. The company has also organized a National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Pinterest Party on May 21 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is inviting health-focused bloggers and social media users to share original photos, recipes and other visual content celebrating a happy, healthy lifestyle rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.

The new holiday falls just one week before the May 27-28 launch of Dole’s Get Up & Grow! North American Tour, a series of healthy-eating caravans that will ultimately visit 480 supermarkets and special events throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to sampling new fruit and vegetables recipes and participating in a number of hands-on activities, tour participants can take the Get Up & Grow! Healthy Living Pledge, a customizable commitment to eating better and living right.

More information about Get Up & Grow is available at Co-sponsoring the tour is Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk. 

Dole chose New Orleans for the launch of National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day since it traces the founding of its Dole Fresh Fruit and banana business to the Crescent City, and will be setting-off on its Get Up & Grow Tour from New Orleans on May 28.

Cal Giant BBQ's 56th year helping American Cancer Society

The annual Spring Lamb Barbecue celebrated its 56th anniversary on Saturday May 16 at the Crosetti Ranch in the foothills of Watsonville, CA. This event has supported the local chapter of the American Cancer Society since it began back in 1959, donating more than $1.5 million since that time. Supporters include produce companies, allied industry and community businesses.

This year set a record for attendance, with over 900 people sharing in good food,aaward-2015-The American Cancer Society presented an award as appreciation for the continued support from the Spring Lamb Barbecue. good friends and a fierce horse shoe tournament. 

Over the 56 years of this long-standing event, hundreds of volunteers from the Pajaro Valley have been committed to participating in the Spring Lamb BBQ, which contributes to its longevity. The staff at California Giant — along with committee members — gain strong support from friends in the produce industry for the event and acknowledge those that have lost their battle with cancer each year. 

This annual BBQ was founded by the fathers of Bill Moncovich, chief executive officer and partner in California Giant Berry Farms,acoo and J.J. Crosetti Jr. They donated funds the very first year to the American Cancer Society and that tradition has held true ever since.

In 2008, the American Cancer Society acknowledged the longevity of the event and the cumulative contribution of more than $1 million dollars. The society praised Bill Moncovich and the organizing committee for hosting the oldest, consecutively held, fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in the United States. This accomplishment was also recognized by Congressman Sam Farr at the 50th anniversary.

For more information on how to sponsor the Spring Lamb Barbecue held each year on the third Saturday in May and its fund raising effort to fight cancer, contact California Giant Berry Farms at 831/728 -1773 or visit


RCMA fund to aid family of young drowning victims

The Redlands Christian Migrant Association has created a fund to assist a farm-working family that lost two young boys in an accidental drowning May 17.

Noel Matias, 4, and his brother Alex, 3, were found in a canal Sunday near the labor camp where the family lived.

The Matias family is seeking help for funeral expenses, including taking the boys’ bodies to Mexico for burial. The boys attended an RCMA child-care center in LaBelle, FL.

Donations may be made via the RCMA website, Checks may be made out to RCMA and mailed to RCMA, 402 W. Main St., Immokalee, FL 34142. All donations designated “Matias Family” will be forwarded directly to the family.

New Jersey hosts EPC's last meeting of the season

HILLSDALE, NJ — The Eastern Produce Council's May 19 meeting, sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, drew a big crowd, as always. This was the 28th consecutive year that New Jersey has sponsored an EPC meeting, and as in the last few years, this meeting was held outdoors under a tent here at Demarest Farms — and thus is known as the Jersey Fresh Cookout. This was also the last EPC meeting before its traditional summer break; the council's meetings will resume this fall.EPC2441EPC President Vic Savanello of Allegiance Retail Services, EPC First Vice President Marianne Santo of Wakefern Food Corp., Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey's secretary of agriculture, and Al Murray, New Jersey's assistant secretary of agriculture. (Click here for more photos)

EPC President Vic Savanello of Allegiance Retail Services welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked Arthur R. Brown Jr., a former New Jersey secretary of agriculture who served from 1982 to 2002, to stand. Savanello noted that the Jersey Fresh Promotional Program was founded under Brown's tenure and that Brown was the first recipient of the council's Lifetime Achievement Award.

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher began his remarks by acknowledging all of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture staff present at the EPC meeting. "We have an incredibly dedicated staff," he stated. "We're all excited to be here tonight."

Fisher mentioned the state's locally grown proposal that is currently being discussed. "We're getting a lot of calls, both for and against," he said. "Clearly in the industry, not everyone is of the same mind." He said that it was "very important" for industry members to give their views and to comment on the proposed rule.

Joe Maugeri, president of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, gave the vegetable report. "It was a very cold winter that turned into a very cold, wet early spring" but which has now led to warmer weather. Many early items such as asparagus, which is always a popular item with consumers, have started, and as such, "We look forward to a very successful season," he said.

Robert Von Rohr of Sunny Valley International gave the peach report. He estimated that the Jersey peach harvest would begin around the first week in July, with volume ramping up a couple of weeks after that. "We're looking forward to an outstanding year," he said.

Bonnie Lundblad, also of Sunny Valley International, gave the blueberry report. She estimated that the state would produce about 60 million pounds of blueberries over a six-week period, with the harvest beginning around June 15-18. "The fruit looks very good, and we are ready to go," she said.