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IPC launches new national television commercial

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For the past two years, the Idaho Potato Commission's national television commercial has featured the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck and a perplexed potato farmer who can't seem to keep tabs on it and its fun-loving Tater Team.

Now, the IPC has launched a new national television commercial that again features the now-famous farmer searching for his truck but this year his search soars to news heights with the help of a fellow farmer.

"These wildly popular national television commercials featuring the Great Big Idaho Potato and the farmer, Mark Coombs, have generated tremendous brand awareness but have also engaged consumers more than any of our other television commercials ever have," Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of the commission, said in a press release. "Every week we receive dozens of calls, emails and messages on Facebook from folks around the country telling us they've spotted our truck. In fact when folks see the truck, they tell it go home!"

Not wanting to quell consumers' quest to help Coombs find the truck, the 2014 commercial again features him looking for his six-ton spud, but with some help from another grower, James Hoff of Idaho Falls.

Hoff takes Coombs up in his antique 1943 Boeing Stearman Staggerwing bi-plane hoping the oversized vehicle can be spotted from high above. Despite some impressive aerial maneuvers, he still doesn't have any luck finding it.

The commercial is currently airing on cable channels, including CNN, Fox News, Food Network, HGTV and Headline News. It will run through January, the end of the heaviest purchase period for Idaho potatoes.

Pear Bureau Northwest launches fresh consumer advertising

Pear Bureau Northwest is launching a new consumer advertising campaign this season, using print ads to help boost pear consumption and increase the total number of pear consumers. Ads for USA Pears will be featured in Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Weight Watchers magazine and Food Network magazine, reaching more than 20 million in combined circulation.USAPEARS-WantItSweet-v1

Running from October 2014 through the end of February 2015, the campaign emphasizes the importance of ripening with the tagline: "Want it sweet? Check the neck to know it's ripe."

The colorful, striking ad creative features fresh pears replacing typical dessert offerings, with a Green Anjou pear on an ice cream cone, a Red Anjou pear in a cupcake paper and a Bosc pear on a cake stand. The bright artwork emphasizes the appeal of fresh pears and gives the campaign an iconic feel. Readers will learn more about ripening at the bottom of the ad, with a call to visit www.usapears.org for recipes.

"Our research has shown that we've increased the number of shoppers who know how to tell when a pear is ripe, which is the key to flavor," Kevin D. Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of Pear Bureau Northwest, based in Portland, OR, said in a press release. "We're continuing to expand upon that success with this advertising campaign, which will attract and excite consumers, inspire healthier choices and increase pear consumption."

This campaign replaces previous creative that ran for three seasons in a successful campaign through various print and digital ads. Expanding upon that initial success, the current campaign will run for three to five years in print magazines as well as online in digital ads. The campaign targets the typical pear consumer: women aged 25-54 with average household incomes of $50,000 or more, who may or may not have children.

Bailey Farms recalls Serrano peppers due to risk of Salmonella

Bailey Farms Inc. in Oxford, NC, is voluntarily recalling 6,215 pounds of fresh Serrano chile peppers due to a risk of Salmonella contamination.

The peppers were distributed to Meijer Inc. and may have been sold between Oct. 14 and Oct. 19 at Meijer stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

In addition, the peppers were distributed to Publix Super Markets Inc., Merchants Distributors Inc., Walmart, Food Lion, Flavor 1st Growers & Packers, U.S. Foods, Military Produce Group LLC., C&S Wholesalers, John Vena Inc. and Harris Teeter.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

A random sample was taken Oct. 13 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture from a warehouse in Lansing, MI. Bailey Farms received notice that the sample tested positive for Salmonella on Oct. 20. This recall is the result of the possibility that the remainder of these lots could be contaminated with this bacteria.

The Food & Drug Administration is working with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services to investigate the root cause of the potential contamination.

Bailey Farms has notified all of their customers who have purchased fresh Serrano chile peppers during the period in question.

Live Oak Farms appoints Ed Beckman to newly created COO position

Live Oak Farms announced that Ed Beckman has joined the company as its new chief operating officer, a newly created position that will foster the strategic growth of the family-owned grower-shipper of tomatoes and peppers.Live-Oak-Logo

For over 20 years, Beckman led associations representing the California fresh tomato industry, most recently as chief executive officer for California Tomato Farmers, where he championed the development of programs that resulted in cutting-edge food-safety standards for field-grown tomatoes, expanding the presence of California’s fresh tomato industry in export markets, and secured supply partnerships with leading foodservice and supermarket chains.

“Live Oak Farms is a multigenerational farming operation that’s committed to excellence, and Ed’s vision and demonstrated ability to successfully navigate the rapidly changing market forces of the fresh produce industry will position Live Oak Farms for growth to the benefit of our customers, employees and the next generation of our farming family,” Bob Giampaoli, Live Oak Farms CEO and a third-generation farmer, said in a press release.

In the newly created position, Beckman will initially focus on the creation of new initiatives to support future growth across Live Oak’s tomato and pepper operations.

Beckman had been involved with Live Oak while he serving as CEO of the grower organizations that Live Oak was a member of.

“I’ve witnessed for many years the passion that the Giampaoli family has for farming, their commitment to excellence and their giving back to the community," Beckman said in the release. "I’m thrilled to work alongside Bob and the family as we work together on making a great company even better in the years ahead”.

Beckman joined Live Oak Farms in mid-October from Certified Greenhouse Farmers, where he served as CEO.

Itaueira Farms launches new sliced melon product

ANAHEIM, CA — Itaueira Farms, which markets premium extra-sweet melons from Brazil under the "REI" brand, introduced a new sliced melon pack at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Convention & Expo, here.

The launch of the new product follows the 2013 debut of a fresh-cut melon pack, which featured chunks of the premium Brazilian Canary melons for which the company has built a following for the past several years.Itauera1

Rodrigo Lima, president of Crown International USA, the Coral Gables, FL-based North American marketing arm of Itaueira Farms, said the launch of the sliced melon pack is a continuation of the effort to offer more convenience for consumers who savor the flavor of the super premium melon.

"It's ready to eat, with no fork necessary," Lima said of the rind-on melon slices. "It's very convenient for consumers and another way to help increase consumption of the melons."

Lima said Itaueira is working to bring additional melon varieties from Brazil to the United States. He said the grower is about a year away from offering a Galia melon, and will have a limited supply of a Santa Claus melon as well.

"Itaueira has a policy of working with only the highest-quality producers in Brazil," said Lima. "With the Galia melon, we have four years in research and development and expect to begin shipments next year. Right now, the Galia melons have a very good flavor, but they are too delicate to export. We found another seed that offers the high flavor and can withstand shipping, and next year we expect to be able to offer limited samples to key customers, but no commercial volumes yet."

Carlos Prado, owner of Itaueira Farms, said that while the cost of production is higher for the premium melons he offers, his biggest concern is flavor.

"We don't sell food - we sell flavor," he said. "We want to sell a product that I want on my own table."

Itaueira Farms has seen remarkable growth since 1999, when it first offered melons grown on about 20 acres. Today, it farms approximately 6,200 acres of melons, with the large majority — 90 percent — of product being consumed in Brazil. The remaining 10 percent is divided among Europe (6 percent) and the United States and Canada (4 percent combined).

Lima added that the new varieties already have U.S. Department of Agriculture clearance by virtue of the fact that they are grown in an area of Brazil deemed free of fruit flies.

Regarding food safety, Lima said Itaueira Farms has been in compliance with all Food & Drug Administration protocols for years, and has long met the strict GlobalGAP standards required in the European markets.

Additionally, each melon is labeled with traceability information, adding an extra layer of confidence in the quality and safety of the products.

At the PMA Fresh Summit, Itaueira was offering samples of the melons to visitors at the booth. Lima said sampling remains a key strategy to increasing sales of the melons, which carry a premium price at retail.

"The melons cost more at retail, but once people try them, they realize they are worth the price," he said. "We encourage our retail customers to conduct sampling programs at their stores. When they do, they see a lot of repeat customers and the sales go up."