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COMPANY PROFILES

Alsum Farms & Produce Inc. is partnering with the Green Bay Packers to invite fans to share a photo of their best tailgating dish for a chance to win an Alsum Grillmaster prize pack. Now thru Nov. 1, Packer fans can submit their tailgating photos at http://www.packerseverywhere.com/gallery/whats-on-your-grill.   Fans can simply submit a photo gathered around their grill — at Lambeau Field or anywhere else — featuring some of their favorite gameday... Read more
FreshPack and Produce Pro transform frustration into shocking growth in sales
When Chris Wisekal, chief executive officer of FreshPack Produce, joined the company, he planned to grow it by 20 percent per year. That goal proved too modest. "Last year, we had unprecedented sales growth," he said. "Huge numbers." Wisekal succeeded by giving his talented staff a new set of tools from Produce Pro Software to reduce costs while boosting service. It paid off by making FreshPack a preferred produce supplier, and it gave his staff some surprises... Read more
Country Sweet Produce is taking proactive measures to deal with California’s ongoing drought. “The water shortage in California has definitely affected our decision making,” Commodity Manager Cody Rose told The Produce News. “We have extended the days between irrigation sets to help conserve. We have the water this year but are farming as if we didn’t. We are well aware of the impact for next year’s crop if we don’t get a significant amount of rain or a good snow... Read more
Bland Farms Vidalia sweet potato line will hitch a ride on famous cousin’s coattails
For decades, Bland Farms LLC in Glennville, GA, has been known for its famous sweet onions and Vidalia has been the king of the crop. With demand for sweet potatoes ever increasing, the company believes consumers are ready for another sweet Vidalia treat that’s a perfect complement to Bland’s year-round onion program. The plan is to co-market Bland Farms sweet onions and sweet potatoes where possible. While Vidalia is known as the sweet onion capital of the world,... Read more
Organic mushroom demand growing at Phillips Mushroom Farms
“Organic mushroom demand continues with substantial increases,” said Kevin Donovan, national sales manager for Phillips Mushroom Farms in Kennett Square, PA. “Consequently we’re pumping up production to fill the demand and we’re promoting the category strongly. As organic production increases, prices compared to conventional products are leveling off, which makes them even more highly desired by consumers.” He explained that some retailers have been on the organic... Read more
Tater Man is early out of the gate this year with cured sweet potatoes from Alabama
“The good news is that as of mid-August we were about 50 percent harvested in Alabama,” Jason Bell, account manager for Tater Man, headquartered in Sydney, FL, told The Produce News. “Until about mid-August, the supply line was basically empty nationwide of stored sweet potatoes from the 2013 crop, which is pretty much common knowledge throughout the industry. But we’re right on schedule this year. Alabama harvesting will wrap up around the middle of September.... Read more
SNOW HILL, NC — The family firm, begun with 200 acres in 1975, is now 13,000 acres and growing “by leaps and bounds,” said Stacy Ham, vice president of Ham Produce Co., here. It now reaches from eastern North Carolina to a new pack and ship facility at Live Oak in northern Florida. It can store more than 13 million bushels of climate-controlled sweet potatoes. Last year it shipped 50 percent more produce than in 2012, and this year it will ship 50 percent more... Read more
PURE Bioscience seeks FDA approval for patented prewash that may reduce produce pathogens 100-fold
PURE Bioscience Inc. of El Cajon, CA, has already seen excellent results with its patented antimicrobial agent silver dihydrogen citrate for use in direct contact cleaning in restaurants and food processing facilities. On Oct. 9 the company filed a food contact notification with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to use SDC as a prewash on fresh produce that could eliminate bacteria a hundredfold above current methodology. The company's research has already... Read more
Wayne E. Bailey puts 2013 behind and heads into great 2014 crop
“The crop this year is much better than last year’s,” George Wooten, president of Wayne E. Bailey, headquartered in Chadbourn, NC, told The Produce News on Aug. 20. “Thankfully we started packing the second week of August, and although we aren’t yet in full swing, we’re doing our best to get customers what they want.” He added that the company expected to be shipping stored sweet potatoes the week of Aug. 18, and anticipating shipping stored cured product by Sept.... Read more
Stemilt goes long with new apple packingline
The next generation of apple-packing technology has arrived at Stemilt, and with it one of the longest apple sizers in the world. The Wenatchee, WA-based company recently unveiled a new, high-tech apple line at its Olds Station facility. It features the latest generation of external defect sorting (iQs IV) and internal quality sorting (iFA GeoSort) from Greefa and a long, gentle sizer with 79 drop points to pack apples gently and with great consistency. Jay... Read more
New ownership strengthens General Produce’s stellar reputation
The recent change in ownership at General Produce has been “nothing but positive,” according to Randy Lineberger, executive vice president and general manager at General Produce LLC. The Castellini Group of Cos. acquired General Produce, which is headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of Forest Park, GA, this past June.   The acquisition has allowed Cincinnati-based Castellini to continue its expansion into the southeastern United States.  “As far as logistics... Read more
Southern Produce aligned  for a great sweet potato crop
“This season’s harvest schedule is expected to run from August 20 through October 25,” said Stewart Precythe, president and chief operating officer for Southern Produce Distributors Inc., headquartered in Faison, NC. “We have experienced an exceptionally good growing season this year compared to that of last year. There were a few setbacks early on with cool nights holding back our sprouts, which also put planting behind. After planting, however, we encountered... Read more
Volume, sizing down, but quality excellent for Quail H Farms
Although California’s water shortage will have some impact on this year’s crop of sweet potatoes, Larelle Miller, sales manager at Quail H Farms LLC in Livingston, CA, said the company still anticipates a high-quality crop. “Water has been an issue for us,” she told The Produce News. “We had to reduce our planted acreage to match our water allocation. “California is known for its quality sweet potatoes,” she continued. “They have very smooth skin and very few blemishes.... Read more
Nickey Gregory Co. serves Southeastern states from headquarters on the Atlanta Market
The Atlanta State Farmers Market is perfectly positioned to serve Southeastern states from the center of the South. The Nickey Gregory Co. is headquartered there for that exact reason. “I’ve spent the majority of my life on the Atlanta market,” said company founder and President Nickey Gregory, who launched the business in 2000 after working his way up the ranks elsewhere. “This market is the hub of the Southeast produce business. Think of how many areas you can... Read more
JJ Jardina celebrates 90 years in business
FOREST PARK, GA — This year will mark the 90th year of business for JJ Jardina, based here. “Our grandfather started JJ Jardina in 1925 and the business has grown over the years to support three generations of our family,” said Chief Executive Officer Mike Jardina. Today, three brothers, Mike, Larry and Matt, operate all facets of the company on a daily basis. The brothers are continuing to grow the company’s product line and are focused on providing high-quality... Read more
In 2014, newly designed trade advertising by the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association “will continue to promote the strength of the red potato market over the last couple of years,” said Ted Kreis, the group’s marketing and communications director. Ted Kreis, NPPGA marketing and communications director.The trade will also be reminded that the Red River Valley is “the leading producer of red potatoes,” Kreis told The Produce News. In a Sept. 5 press release,... Read more
Merrin-Cravens Co. at the top of its game
FOREST PARK, GA — Broker Merrin-Cravens Co. is continuing to do what it does best — supply the wholesale and food service industry with top-quality produce from around the world. The company has a lot of return business because of its longstanding reputation that has been ongoing since it was founded in 1923. “We try to be fair and honest,” said David Rose, president of Merrin-Cravens Co. “We are brokers, and we buy and sell product.” Merrin-Cravens buys its... Read more
SunRain brings new and improved potato varieties to Potandon, other producers
Bringing to market new flavorful and unique potato varieties is a major focus of Idaho Falls, ID-based Potandon Produce LLC, and in pursuit of that objective, the company formed a subsidiary, SunRain Varieties LLC, also in Idaho Falls, “to do our seed production and hold all our varieties and also do grower seed for our production farms,” according to Melvin Davenport, president of SunRain and co-chief executive officer of Potandon. Since its founding, SunRain... Read more
Wada Farms introduces two new potato products
Wada Farms Potatoes Inc. in Pingree, ID, whose potatoes are marketed by Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC in Idaho Falls, ID, has for several years been putting a lot of emphasis on developing innovative potato products, with regard both to potato varieties and value-added packaging. Among the value-added products are the “Easy-Baker” with individual potatoes sealed in a microwave-ready plastic wrap, and the “Microwave in Bag” line with russet, red or yellow potatoes... Read more
Eric Nagelberg of Panorama Produce in Mamaroneck, NY, said the firm’s mango business continues to grow steadily. “Each year we grow, which is a great because it is a very important crop for us,” said Nagelberg, a son of one of Panorama Produce’s founders. Jeff (Eric’s dad) and Rick Nagelberg started Panorama Produce more than 30 years ago. Mangos have grown into one of the firm’s top items. Initially, the company brokered mangos 12 years ago, but now Panorama... Read more