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COMPANY PROFILES

Sunrays helps consumers ‘Snack with an Impact’
Sunrays Mandarin oranges are revolutionizing the produce industry by encouraging consumers to “snack with an impact.” For each bag of these sweet snacks packed, Sunrays makes a donation to Save the Children. Sunrays is part of Jac. Vandenberg Inc., a New York-based, fourth-generation, family-owned produce company. The idea behind launching a new brand of Mandarin oranges was to maintain the friendly, healthy element while going the extra mile and giving back to... Read more
Sixth generation stepping up at Smith’s Farm
With its sights set on expanding its offerings and increasing its foodservice business, the sixth generation of Smith’s Farm Inc. is assuming a larger leadership role at the company. Tara Smith Vighetti, along with sister Emily Smith and cousin Zach Smith, represent the broccoli and cauliflower grower’s sixth generation, which will be taking a more active role in running the company. Smith’s Farm executives (l-r) Greg Smith, Tara Smith Vighetti, Emily Smith, Lance... Read more
Peri & Sons touts uniqueness in onion deal
From its home base to its hand-harvesting methods to its proprietary variety, Peri & Sons Farms Inc. believes its point of differentiation is its uniqueness in the onion business. To start with, it is headquartered in Yerington, NV, not typically referred to as one of the onion capitals of the world, but a location that serves Peri & Sons well. The company’s roots in Nevada date back more than 100 years when Constantino Peri arrived in Nevada with his two... Read more
Fowler Farms continues developing top apples
The family-owned Fowler Farms, located in Wolcott, NY, continues to draw on the success of six generations of Fowlers, and its 20 varieties of apples are currently in 268 stores. “Fowler Farms continues to make strides with new equipment and continuous improvement of growing and packing practices turning out the finest quality apples while navigating an ever-changing consumer base,” said David Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for Fowler Farms. “Business... Read more
Nash Produce looks to educate public about sweet potatoes
Millennials are demanding traceability in their foods and Nash Produce, located in Nashville, NC, has installed top equipment so if there’s a problem with any of its sweet potatoes, the company can take it down to the exact farm to find out what the problem was and what needs to be done to correct it. “People need to pay attention to their food and ask questions,” said Tami Long, director of marketing and business development for Nash Produce. That’s just one... Read more
Bi-colored sweet corn is new on Fresh Farms’ product list this spring, according to Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing for the company. The quality and volume outlook for the corn looks good. Shipments are to begin mid-February. Otherwise in the Sonora vegetable business, “we have a good spring crop,” said Havel. Fresh Farms’ spring program includes many squash varieties: zucchini, hard, yellow and grey squash. Cucumbers and green and red Bells will... Read more
Sabrina Hallman’s commercial seed business is threatened if NAFTA negotiations should swing against free vegetable trade between the United States and Mexico. She tracks NAFTA discussions to the top degree that information is available. She doesn’t necessarily forecast worst-possible scenarios. But she notes, “There is the potential to totally eradicate” Mexican vegetable exports to the United States. “That is pretty darned scary.” Hallman is the president of... Read more
On Saturday, Dec. 16 Higueral moved into the new cold warehouse and office complex. By Dec. 18 the firm was in operation, even if office furniture appeared a week later. “We wanted to stay in this area,” said Edgar Duarte, a partner in the firm. In recent years, Higueral previously operated from two consecutive leased warehouses just down sloping Kipper Street. “Now everything is sold out.” There are not a lot more places to build within the Rio Rico park, which... Read more
For the first time in many years, SunFed is entering vegetable production in the United States. Matt Mandel, SunFed’s chief operating officer, said, “Texas onions are our first venture into marketing domestic production in years.” He said it’s more than a decade since SunFed was handling product grown in the U.S. The onions are being grown in Weslaco and Raymondville, TX. The shipping will begin in late March or early April. In Texas, SunFed is working from a leased... Read more
Many factors go into logistics considerations. Sometimes stars align for great transportation alternatives. Miguel (Mikee) Suarez, a salesman for MAS Melons & Grapes LLC, enjoys a good combination of factors that make ocean shipping to Los Angeles a viable option. MAS produces a hardy item — honeydew — in large volumes in Colima, Mexico, which is, of course, on the Pacific coast. MAS’ melon farm is 40 miles from the port of Manzanillo, which among Mexico’s... Read more
This summer Grower Alliance LLC will enter a hydroponic, high-tech greenhouse tomato deal with growers located in Michoacan and Jalisco, according to George Quintero Jr., managing partner. These tomatoes will cross in McAllen, TX. This summer, “we’ll have more product in McAllen than here” in the Nogales area, he said. Most of these summertime tomatoes, shipped from mid-July to mid-January, will come from Michoacan, with “a couple growers” in Jalisco. Because... Read more
February and March will bring peak produce production in Sinaloa and Sonora, according to Omar Losolla, vice president of sales and marketing for GreenPoint Distributing LLC. “We expect good weather and product supplies as well as good prices.” In April and May, especially from Sonora, supplies will continue to be strong. In an interview in his Rio Rico office, Losolla said, “We are blessed with good markets. January started strong for a lot of items. Almost every... Read more
Colored peppers have been in good supply this winter and prospects are for that situation to remain the same through the next couple of months, barring any unforeseen weather calamities. At least that was the view of salesmen Jeff Taylor of Prime Time International, Coachella, CA, on Feb. 5. He talked to The Produce News via telephone as he was driving to Nogales, AZ, to check on the peppers coming from Mexico and passing in U.S. commerce at that port of entry. “In... Read more
“Bountiful” Mexican mango harvest volumes will begin in the mid-March to mid-April timeframe this spring, according to Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer of Ciruli Bros. LLC. Ciruli said in mid-January that he expected the firm to have the Mexican mango season’s first crossing about Feb. 19. Ciruli’s early Mexican deal is sourced from Chiapas, at the southern tip of the country. “I’m optimistic about the deal,” he said. “Things are aligning very well for the... Read more
A year ago, Mexican produce distributors were blessed with a long season of great weather, which brought bountiful volumes of brilliant quality produce. Because of the volume, even beautiful products wouldn’t lift prices. But Rafael Roiz, the chief executive officer of TruFresh, notes that the advantage of flawless produce is that it gets sold. In the wake of a challenging year for TruFresh — and virtually all its competitors — Roiz said his firm did what it could... Read more
A new, very positive era has begun for IPR Fresh. The firm moved on Dec. 9 from leased warehouse and office space in Rio Rico to a purchased, much larger facility in nearby Nogales. The facility is among Nogales’ closest to the Mariposa port, the entry point for commercial trucks trading with Mexico. “The move has been good,” said Jose Luis Obregon, IPR’s president. “It gives us certainty that we will be moving more volume. We can be a little more bold on what... Read more
Longtime Nogales-community produce leaders Brian Vandervoet and his son Scott Vandervoet, owners of Vandervoet & Associates Inc., opened a new commercial cold warehouse in Rio Rico in the last couple of years. Santa Cruz Cold Storage is highly visible along Interstate 19 at the northwest corner of the Rio Rico industrial park. Scott Vandervoet said the cold storage business is going well. Baloian Farms became a strong new Santa Cruz tenant in the last year,... Read more
Gem-Pack growing its year-round strawberry program
As a third-generation grower and shipper of Orange County Produce, based in Irvine, CA, Matt Kawamura has a pulse on the California strawberry market and the dynamics that are affecting the entire strawberry industry. The company recently found itself to be the last remaining shipper of California strawberries in Orange County because of land development and regulations. “A while back, we had the big idea to be the locally grown guy, which we tried to be, but... Read more
Two potato powerhouses join forces
Farm Fresh Direct in Monte Vista, CO, and Cal-Ore Produce in Tulelake, CA, have announced they are joining forces to continue to increase both their organic and conventional programs. Farm Fresh will act as the exclusive sales and marketing agent for Cal-Ore and will service the United States with cost-effective, one-stop shopping solutions.Dave Yeager “We have had a strong business relationship with Cal-Ore, but we’re formalizing that partnership with their joining... Read more
Farm Fresh Direct sees uptick in specialty demand
As Millennials continue to move the needle for organics and specialty items, Farm Fresh Direct of Monte Vista, CO, is going into 2018 with a bump in its PotatOH! line with organics now available. The popular Express Bake PotatOH! from Farm Fresh Direct is now available in organic. Dave Yeager, Farm Fresh Direct vice president of new business and sales, said the new product is in response to increased demand for certified convenience items. Dave Yeager, Farm Fresh... Read more