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Bob Donio: New Jersey crops look to be right on schedule
HAMMONTON, NJ — Produce crops coming out of New Jersey are looking to be right on schedule this season, according to Bob Donio, vice president of Frank Donio Inc., here. The winter was fairly mild, and there was "a lot of rain" during parts of the winter and early spring, but "most spring crops should be on time," Donio told The Produce News Monday afternoon, May 6. And if there were any items that were delayed slightly by rains earlier in the season, he added,... Read more
Zespri SunGold starts U.S. season; significant volume increases forecast
In early May, bulk shipments of New Zealand’s Zespri kiwifruit were expected to reach both East and West Coast ports meaning the popular SunGold variety should be in produce departments across the country by the third week of May. Sarah Deaton, Zespri’s shopper marketing manager for North America, said the Zespri branded fruit from New Zealand will be in the marketplace until early December and then sales will continue with the SunGold variety being sourced from... Read more
Colorado potato banner brings consumer attention
In one month, one banner on one over-the-road shipping trailer has brought nice attention the Colorado potatoes. The banner, placed on a semi-trailer in mid-March, is a “different kind of promotion” for the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee. Linda Weyers, the assistant director of the administrative committee, which is based in Monte Vista, CO, said she has received supportive and interested emails from consumers in key marketing areas in the southeastern... Read more
Sunny Valley, Dixie Belle Peaches enjoy long partnership
Dixie Belle Peaches Inc. is a fourth-generation peach farm, located in Ridge Spring, SC. Its 3,000 acres of orchards are stretched over three counties and accounts for more than 30 varieties of peaches. Dixie Belle is the peach-growing partner of Sunny Valley International, which has been a supplier of fresh fruits for more than three decades. The company started by sourcing Chilean peaches, grapes and blueberries, but over the years expanded to include other fruit... Read more
WP Rawl is growing greens, innovation and community pride
When it comes to leafy greens, Walter P. Rawl and Sons Inc. has a 94-year-old history to balance, with family members continuing to grow and manage the $110-plus-million company through years of customer commitment, love of the land and an innovative eye to current and future markets. Starting out with cabbage, newlyweds Walter and Ernestine Rawl began what would become a legacy growing collards, lettuces, turnips, herbs, parsley and kale. They now have distribution... Read more
Cal Giant supporting effort toward cardboard clamshells
In late April, a group of strawberry industry experts gathered in a berry farm in Watsonville, CA, to further the effort of making that packaging more environmentally friendly. A field test with corrugated, fully recyclable clamshells.The “Ready-Cycle” cardboard strawberry clamshell, introduced by Watsonville’s own Sambrailo Packaging, is being touted by some in the industry as a great way to cut down on the heavy use of plastics in berry shipments. Over the last... Read more
Berry People markets  inclusive berry community
With a fresh perspective on what it means to grow and market produce, Berry People of Hollister, CA, is bringing together a diverse team of laborers, consumers, employees, growers, buyers and stakeholders. “What this means, is that we are an extension of our growers’ operations, and the quality of our placement and competitiveness of our pricing has a direct impact to the health of their operations, and the economic security of the families they employ. These families... Read more
This is us: The secret to M. Levin’s success
M. Levin & Co., a fourth-generation wholesaler based in Philadelphia, is the oldest same-family business in the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, first setting up shop in 1906. “What makes us unique is ‘us” and we attribute our success to our generations of family values,” said Mark Levin, company president. “We were taught that if you work hard enough and care about the job you do everything else should fall into place. What we value most is our... Read more
Collotti and Sons, occupying units I-7 and I-8 in the green banner section of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, has more than 60 years of experience working with locally grown produce (such as Jersey Fresh), and distributing it throughout the Northeast and as far south as Virginia. “Our customers are within a couple-hundred-mile radius, and more are outside the city than inside,” said Jack Collotti, president of the company. “There’s more people coming... Read more
BRS Produce Co. praises sales team for success
Operating in units D-2 and D-3 in the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market—a position they’ve had since the market opened in 2011—BRS Produce Co., offers vegetables from every growing region in the U.S. and throughout the world. Though the 44-year-old company specializes in tropical produce, it also offers mushrooms, and tomatoes from all growing regions and house California products year-round. “We still handle most of the same lines that we’ve always done,”... Read more
E.W. Kean unleashes power of internet
Situated on the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, E.W. Kean Co. Inc., carries a full line of local, domestic and international products, and the company has a philosophy revolving around change. “Post-holiday season, things aren’t too crazy business wise, but everything in this business is constantly changing,” said Louis Kean, a salesman at the fourth-generation family-owned wholesale produce distributor. “We’re constantly changing inventory—while continuing... Read more
Shuman Farms begins shipping Georgia-grown sweet onions
Headquartered in the heart of the Vidalia growing region in southeast Georgia, Shuman Farms has planted a legacy of growing the sweetest onions in the word. The company began as a small family farm in the mid-’80s and has since become a leading grower and shipper of sweet onions in the industry. “Since our beginning more than 30 years ago, Shuman Farms has always been more about onions,” said John Shuman, president and chief executive officer of Shuman Farms. “We’re... Read more
It was relieving news that the momentum of the storms that ravaged the Southeast region in mid-April stayed west of Northampton Growers Produce Sales’ Georgia farms. “We did have a storm in Georgia a couple of weeks ago,” W. Calvert Cullen IV, president of the Cheriton, VA-based company told The Produce News on April 15. “That storm, which included hail, set us back a bit on most crops, but we expect to catch up quickly as spring evolves.” Northampton... Read more
Edward L. Myrick Produce sticking to the status quo
Sometimes keeping the status quo is considered a positive in the produce industry, especially when challenges like weather, labor and government regulations are constantly causing chaos for growers and produce companies. So, when Jimmy Myrick, vice president of Pompano Beach, FL-based Edward L. Myrick Produce described the company’s presence in the state of Georgia as being “the same,” as in, the same acreage, the same amount of beans and the same products, it... Read more
Desert Fresh expecting later start
Tony Bianco of Desert Fresh Inc. in Coachella, CA, was very happy this winter when temperatures dipped low in the California desert and allowed the grape vines to go into dormancy. “We had some very nice chilling hours, which are great for the grapes,” he said. “We had no dormancy last year and that was a problem.” The colder temperatures helped to stretch out the growing season and Bianco is not expecting to pick his first grape until the second half of May,... Read more
Longtime Coachella Valley grape grower and packer Tudor Ranch Inc. has undergone some cosmetic changes in the sales and marketing of its fruit, but below the surface everything will remain the same. “We will basically have the same sales team,” said George Tudor, who is the principal owner of the operation. He noted that the salesmen at the shuttered VBZ Vineyards in Delano, CA, have started a new sales firm and will continue to sell Tudor’s grapes. “And we still... Read more
Bagdasarian: a Coachella Valley mainstay since 1952
With more than 65 seasons under its belt, one would think that Richard Bagdasarian Inc. in Mecca, CA, would have some history to draw on regardless of the season. But President Nick Bozick said that while that is true, the proliferation of new grape varieties gives the firm fewer data points than one would think. Michael Bozick, Mike Bozick and Nick Bozick.“It is interesting (each year) to go back and find a comparison, but these new varieties don’t react the same... Read more
A time of growth for Nickey Gregory Co.
The Nickey Gregory Co. has long been a leader in produce distribution in the Southeast, and it’s now making big news by adding its own fresh-cut processes division, Family Fresh Foods. “It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a number of years and we finally jumped in and bought about $3 million worth of equipment, all state of the art,” said Andrew Scott, director of marketing and business development for the Atlanta-based company. “And we’re jumping into... Read more
Baldor Specialty Foods’ continues development of Urban Roots line
As its name implies, Baldor Specialty Foods knows specialty products. With more than 1,000 partners worldwide and three state-of-the-art warehouses — in Washington DC, Boston and New York — the company offers more than 6,000 items in its catalog, including more than 1,000 fresh cut items. Its retail line, Urban Roots, is intended to make meal preparation easy and for home cooks, and the company constantly has new items on its R&D table to expand the line... Read more
Nathel & Nathel strengthens its organics line across all categories
Joe Eisinger, director of organic buying and sales for Nathel & Nathel, headquartered at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, told The Produce News that in its organics category, the company is gearing itself toward a full line with full organic services. “Customers can now see more than 125 organic items on offer from Nathel & Nathel,” said Eisinger. “Our organic line is geared for both retail and foodservice sectors, and is distributed throughout... Read more