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As SunFed continues to grow its one-stop-shop for retail partners, the company is now shipping vine-ripened Perfect Romas, with Grape and Beefsteak tomatoes, joining the Perfect Produce lineup this fall.sunfed

“We are constantly working to improve and elevate our year-round program across the U.S. and Canada,” Eduardo Herbst, tomato sales manager, said in a press release. “With our recent expansion in McAllen, Texas, and long-time headquarters in Nogales, Arizona, we are able to reach our East Coast and West Coast partners with ease, less travel time and a high-quality product with maximum radiant freshness.”

These new items complement SunFed’s full line of Perfect Produce offerings, which include squash, Bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, limes and specialty melons.

The cooler temperatures resulted in lower yields at the beginning of the season, but the longer and warmer days have volumes bouncing back. The tomato quality is very high this year, with abundant flavor across the board for all Perfect Produce items.

While packaging for the Grape and Beefsteak tomatoes has not yet been revealed, SunFed debuted its Perfect Romas concept, designed by Brett Burdsal, the company’s vice president of marketing.

“Produce is bought with the eyes and Romas have a firm, radiant appearance that we wanted the packaging to showcase while also highlighting the SunFed branding that is all the rave across North America’s produce departments,” Burdsal said. “SunFed has long been known for quality and delivering just-picked freshness, so I had room to go beyond the picture of the product that you can see in the bag.”

The concept was inspired by the very famous advertisements of Bernard Villemot and the fashion illustrations of Rene Gruau. SunFed set out to create very simple and easy-to-reproduce, clean art that would grab the attention of the consumer while at the same time complement the Roma tomatoes.

John W. Martin, former board president of the Produce Marketing Association, died Tuesday, Aug. 23. He was 94 years old.

Mr. Martin led the association in 1966 and was instrumental in broadening the scope of the Produce Packaging Association during his tenure, helping to guide strategic discussions for the rebranding of the PPA into what would eventually become the Produce Marketing Association.John-MartinJohn W. Martin

Mr. Martin and his wife Mary Ann (Nan) Martin had a deep passion for the produce industry. After his retirement from Martin Produce, a Salinas, CA-based company that grew carrots and head lettuce, the couple would routinely attend Fresh Summit, and particularly enjoyed the annual Leadership Dinner where they were able to connect with past colleagues and the newer generations of association volunteers.

“Either everyone in our industry becomes concerned about promotion and merchandising, or fresh produce will be regulated to an insignificant role in the supermarket of tomorrow,” Mr. Martin was quoted saying in PMA’s 50th anniversary booklet, published in 1999. “All must become concerned about selling one person again and again: our final and ultimate customer (the) consumer.”

Bryan Silberman, chief executive officer of PMA, issued a statement on Mr. Martin’s passing, saying, “We greatly appreciate John’s years of service to PMA and our industry, including his sharp consumer focus shared above, and we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Nan and his family.”

Mr. Martin is survived by his wife, his daughter Merilee, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A Christian and Masonic funeral will be held on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Masonic Center in Escondido, CA.

Avocados From Mexico, the No. 1 selling avocado in the United States, is going big for National Guac Month by bringing both retailers and consumers even more reasons to fill up their dip bowls with fresh, flavorful guac during the months of September and October.

In addition to special in-store displays, huge consumer incentive offers will be launched to support the demand of avocados this fall season.afmguac

AFM’s newest campaign, “For the Love of Guac,” will fully charge every September celebration, from Hispanic Heritage Month and Labor Day to National Guacamole Day (Sept. 16) and the kick-off of fall football by launching its first-ever national BOGO offer -- buy one Avocado From Mexico and get one FREE!

“For the Love of Guac” will promote and distribute over 2 million BOGO coupons through three different vehicles. First is a national Catalina in-store coupon targeting consumers of bulk and bagged avocados at the register. Second, Coupons.com will feature the BOGO offer on the website and digital coupons will also be sent to 5 million SuperSaver email subscribers. And third, a full-page FSI ad in the Sept. 18 SmartSource Sunday Newspaper will direct consumers to visit LoveOfGuac.com and print the BOGO coupon at home.

Along with consumer savings, “For the Love of Guac” will also include in-store radio and innovative merchandising such as the Guac Center pallet bins, exclusively created by Avocados From Mexico.

Including avocados, tomatoes and onions, along with jalapeños and limes, the Guac Center will showcase everything consumers need to make their own bowl of delicious guacamole. Consumers will also be encouraged to celebrate “Guactember” and show their love of guac by helping AFM create the best and largest guacamole board on Pinterest featuring anything and everything guacamole. Consumers will be able to participate hands-on in creating this Pinterest board.

“September is full of occasions perfect for avocado consumption and by offering our retailers a convenient and hassle-free way to run a Guac Month promotion, we can keep avocados top of mind during these key consumption windows,” said Maggie Bezart-Hall, vice president of trade marketing at AFM.

To add even more excitement to the September guac extravaganza, AFM will partner with Tabasco Sauce to rouse the Hispanic community with a spicy September guac celebration honoring Hispanic heritage.

The “Fiestas Patrias” campaign will elevate consumer excitement and increase planned purchases among modern mothers gearing up for the many family celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond. An exciting retail program bundling authentic brands of AFM and Tabasco Sauce will offer consumers a $1 off coupon when purchasing one Tabasco Sauce and two Avocados From Mexico. In-store merchandising and POS materials will also be included from Sept. 1-Oct. 15.

Consumers will be invited to visit avocadosfrommexico.com/miherencia to participate in the celebration by tweeting an image that represents their Hispanic heritage. They can share a virtual bottle of Tabasco Sauce to receive a special recipe while they earn the chance to win prizes.

With a simple switch of display signage, retailers can then transition to the popular “Tastiest Tailgate” promotion. Beginning Oct. 1 and running through Oct. 31, “Tastiest Tailgate” brings together AFM and RO*TEL as they continue to promote the quick and delicious Rockin’ Guac recipe.

Blending fresh Avocados From Mexico with RO*TEL Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies and other fresh ingredients is the ideal speed scratch recipe for the “Tastiest Tailgate.” Targeting consumers who want easy, yet fresh options in a sea of fatty and fried foods during football season, Rockin’ Guac provides a nutritious solution for game-time snacking.

For the consumer looking to make the most of their tailgating, the promotion includes a consumer incentive offer that features a free can of Ro*tel with purchase of three Avocados From Mexico. This offer will be available at point-of-purchase through the same digital platforms used to serve up “For the Love of Guac” offers.

Both promotions will be supported by innovative merchandising, consumer savings, digital/social media, retail specific programming and in-store radio. “Tastiest Tailgate” will also include an exciting consumer sweepstakes and the popular experiential component of the Tailgate Tour in which AFM visits various college football tailgate events with a branded vehicle and plenty of sampling.

“We are thrilled to offer consumers our biggest promotion to-date as they get ready to celebrate football season, Hispanic Heritage Month, National Guac Day and more,” said Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados From Mexico. “As an industry leader, AFM always aims to create new reasons to come together and build on traditions for the future.”

To learn more about this and other marketing and promotional activities, visit the Avocados From Mexico Facebook page, facebook.com/AvocadosFromMexico or website, Trade.AvocadosFromMexico.com.

Josie's Organics, a leading producer of premium organic vegetables, based in Soledad, CA, expanded its recipe collection, adding five new dishes that help moms mix up the weekly family repertoire with easy, go-to meals.

The new recipes showcase fennel, leeks and dandelion greens, which were added to the Josie’s Organics whole vegetable product line earlier this year, as well as celery, kale, collards and cauliflower.josie

The latest Josie’s Organics recipes were especially created for busy, modern families. They use ingredients easily found in the home pantry or at the local grocery store, require basic kitchen tools for preparation and include easy-to-follow instructions. They also continue the Josie’s Organics commitment to whole vegetable cooking, showing home cooks how to use stalks, roots and leaves. The recipes featured are:

  • Quick Celery-Fennel Stir Fry with Cashews
    An Asian-inspired quick dish that cooks in less than 10 minutes, helping to get dinner on the table fast. The warm, crunchy celery and caramelized fennel are enhanced simply with honey and rice wine vinegar — a sweet-and-sour combo that adults and kids both love.
  • Shredded Kale Salad with Ginger and Roasted Orange
    A simple, make-ahead salad made extra special by slicing kale very thinly with a sharp knife and roasting fresh oranges. Sesame seeds toasted lightly combined with gluten-free tamari give it a nutty, Asian flair. It doubles for an easy supper and an on-the-go lunch the next day.
  • Dandelion Greens Stuffed Pork Roast with Apple and Dandelion Pistou Sauce
    Dandelion greens are popping up in produce departments all over the country, and this dish uses them two ways — as a flavorful stuffing for pork and a quick, garlicky spoon sauce. It’s ideal for a homey, weekend family supper and a super fast, weeknight pasta dinner.
  • Cauliflower Drop Biscuits with Cheddar, Bacon and Leeks
    These biscuits are foolproof for all levels of cooks, and while cauliflower is the star, biscuit lovers of all ages call them blue ribbon winners. Flecks of fresh leeks mixed with crispy bits of bacon and sharp cheddar cheese make them complete comfort food. They’re also freezer-friendly, and easy to carry to picnics, or take to school or church functions.
  • Asian-glazed Collards with Peanuts
    A tasty, quick-fired fusion of Vietnamese dipping sauce with Southern-rooted collards and peanuts. This side dish cooks in under eight minutes. All that is required is a tilt of the pan, a large spoon and the flip of a wrist. Can be served as a big, family-style bowl or alongside grilled chicken thighs, pork chops or shrimp.

“We know moms are constantly searching for new recipes to make weeknight meals and family suppers fresh, exciting and delicious,” Chadwick Boyd, Josie’s Organics recipe developer, said in a press release. “We recognize that recipes also have to be flexible to work with constantly changing schedules and different dietary needs.”

With that in mind, the new recipes in the Josie’s Organics collection have been created to be made-ahead or prepped in advance; scaled up for larger family gatherings; used for multiple meals, like for dinner and then lunch the next day; cooked for dinner and re-purposed for a new meal the next night; and adjusted to accommodate allergies or special diets, like vegetarian, gluten-free or paleo.

The recipes also include shareable photos, quick tips, substitutions and “dress it up” ideas for entertaining. More recipes can be found at www.josiesorganics.com/recipes.

Uesugi Farms’ 2016 Northern California pepper harvest, which includes green, red and yellow Bell peppers as well as mini-sweets and several varieties of hot peppers, started strong in early July. While green Bell peppers and hot peppers were on time, mini-sweets, red Bell peppers and yellow Bell peppers were about a week late.Uesugi Farms

Heat ended the harvest early in Bakersfield, while at the same time unseasonably cool weather in Northern California pushed back the harvesting of reds, yellows and mini-sweets there by a week, resulting in a short-term gap.

“Even though the cooler weather last week slowed us down a bit, we’re expecting pepper production to speed up thanks to a warmer forecast this week,” said Pete Aiello, general manager at Uesugi Farms.

Not only is Northern California an important location for Uesugi Farms, since it is headquartered in Gilroy, it’s also ideal because of the moderate climate and long growing season.

Uesugi has the most crop acreage, volume and variety supporting its year-round supply of peppers coming out of Northern California. Some of the northern locations in which Uesugi grows and harvests include Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Hollister, Brentwood and Lodi.

“It’s one thing to manage your production from various locations in and out of state, but when it’s right in your own backyard, you’ve got better control of the growing and harvest, and that’s one of the things we look forward to during the northern California season,” said Aiello.

Uesugi Farms also expects increased pepper production compared to last year due to expanded acreage.

The Northern California pepper harvest is expected to last through October or early November, at which time Uesugi Farms will move its operations down to the Coachella Valley to continue production there.

Uesugi Farms is a year-round supplier of a variety of peppers, sweet corn and Napa cabbage. It also produces pumpkins and beans on a seasonal basis.