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COMPANY PROFILES

Farm Star Living celebrates first anniversary
Farm Star Living, a national lifestyle brand highlighting farms, farm-fresh foods and the farm-to-table food movement, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. The company’s mission is to elevate the image of farmers and support their world, making farmers and farms more accessible to the public by creating a new lifestyle that’s easy for anyone to embrace. Farm Star Living, which launched October, 2013, now enters its second year of business and is growing strong. “Whether... Read more
Cerasuolo continues goals of excellent customer service and high-quality produce
Ken Cavallaro, treasurer of John Cerasuolo Co. Inc., located at the New England Produce Center in Chelsea, MA, told The Produce News that the company was pretty much in full swing in October with at least some product coming from just about everywhere. “Things will quiet down with production in the Northeast pretty soon, and will start to peter out,” he said. “We’ll then start working with Southeast, Mexico and California suppliers. Cavallaro noted that the company... Read more
Success at S. Strock & Co. based on honesty, quality, relationships
“All varieties of apples are currently in demand,” said Michael Strock, director of business development for S. Strock & Co. Inc., located at the New England Produce Center in Chelsea, MA. “The old standbys; Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and McIntosh apples are moving very well. Others, however, are making big inroads, such as the Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Pink [Lady]. MJ Lauria, buying and sales representative for S. Strock & Co., shows... Read more
Garden Fresh Salad: Consistent business through summer into fall
“Our business has been pretty consistent throughout the summer and into early fall,” said Patrick Burke, sales and purchasing representative for Garden Fresh Salad Co. Inc., located at the New England Produce Center in Chelsea, MA. “People are really looking for high-quality products, and they hold us to very high standards. We live up to those standards 99.9 percent of the time by providing good product at a fair price and great service. And we never say no.”The... Read more
“All signs along the East Coast are that harvests went well and will finish early,” Ken Gad, owner of Cambridge Farms in South Easton, MA, told The Produce News in early October. “Like our own crop, we’re also hearing that the East has good quality. Volumes are also good, and prices are OK. Growers don’t expect to hit home runs every year.” He added that when you give customers quality and fair prices, things tend to work out, but if everyone in the country has... Read more
Lone Star focuses on service
There are some things Trent Bishop, sales manager of Lone Star Citrus Groves in Mission, TX, and one of the company’s founders, just can’t control. One of those is the disposition of his competitors. When Lone Star was formed in 2007, there were a bit more than a handful of packer-shippers in south Texas in the citrus industry.Lone Star’s Texas Sweeties packed and ready to ship. Over those years several packers have been sold to companies outside of the Lone Star... Read more
“We are really optimistic and excited about the upcoming crop because we are back to a ‘normal’ year,” following a shortened crop in 2013, said Craig Morris, a salesman at Homegrown Organic Farms in Porterville, CA. “Last year as we came into the season we had a borderline crop failure with regard to Navels” due to a freeze on Dec. 5 and for several nights following. That created “a difficult situation,” he said. “As it turned out, in the end of the year it wasn’t... Read more
Johnston Farms in Edison, CA, has long been in the business of growing and marketing citrus and potatoes. But lately, “the potato deal has not been too kind to anybody’s pocketbook,” Dennis Johnston, a partner in the company, said in an interview with The Produce News Oct. 17. “Demand is down and oversupply is still a big problem” even though an industry cooperative was “supposed to” facilitate a reduction in potato acreage to stabilize prices. “It hasn’t worked,”... Read more
Booth Ranches LLC in Orange Cove, CA, a grower, packer and shipper of citrus from California’s San Joaquin Valley, “is unique in that we are a fully integrated company only selling the fruit we grow ourselves,” according to Tracy Jones, vice president of domestic sales. Owner Loren Booth “grows 7,500 acres of citrus stretching across California’s Central Valley,” Jones said in a written statement to The Produce News. “We own and operate two cold storages, both in... Read more
Limoneira Co. in Santa Paula, CA, one of California’s oldest citrus growers, is a major producer of California citrus and one of the largest producers of lemons in the United States, with year-round availability of Eureka and Lisbon lemons, seedless lemons, Meyer lemons and variegated pink lemons. The company also grows Navel and Valencia oranges, grapefruit, and an array of specialty citrus such as Cara Cara oranges, Blood oranges, Minneola Tangelos, Satsuma Mandarins... Read more
“We are going to have a pretty good sized stem-and-leaf program this year,” Jeff Olsen, president of The Chuck Olsen Co. in Visalia, CA, said in an interview with The Produce News. That is something “we haven’t had in the past,” so it will be “new for us in the Mandarins.” The company also has acreage increases in its Mandarin production this year, with the harvest expected to start in early November in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The Chuck Olsen Co.... Read more
Suntreat Packing & Shipping Co. in Lindsay, CA, which was founded by brothers Harry Griffith and John Griffith, has been in the business of growing and packing citrus in California for more than half a century. Recently, the company, which grows several select varieties of specialty citrus in addition to lemons and Navel oranges, introduced the “Suntreat Reserve Citrus” label, which it reserves for its finest and best-tasting fruit. That is “a program that... Read more
When J.B. Cutsinger began selling Texas citrus in northern California he was a much younger man and the Texas industry included more than a dozen packer-shippers. A lot has changed in those close to 40 years. But Cutsinger still sells Texas citrus in much of the Golden State and considers his firm — International Citrus and Produce in , Burlingame, CA — the “go-to” citrus supplier for the area, at least for Texas citrus. “Yeah, I think after all these years people... Read more
Peter Condakes Co. moves sales to New England Produce Center
Peter John Condakes, president of Peter Condakes Co. Inc., told The Produce News that the company has made some major location changes in recent times. “Suzanne Polymeros, a vice president and partner is in charge of fruit and western vegetables,” explained Condakes. “Peter Leo Condakes is also a vice president and in charge of Southern and imported vegetables. In March we moved their operations from the Boston Market Terminal to the New England Produce Center... Read more
“We’re doing about the same things that we’ve always done and have built our reputation on, but we’re doing them even better,” Shawn Grant, owner of Grant Stanton Produce Co. Inc., located at the New England Produce Center in Chelsea, MA, told The Produce News. “We had a good summer with basically the same items we’ve been handling, but we moved more product and sales were stronger. I attribute the increases to people loosening up on their spending a little, and... Read more
Veg-Fresh Farms launched its “Good Life” line of organic produce in 2012 in response to the growing demand for organically grown products. Since then, the group has expanded the line to include peppers, onions, tropical fruits and, most recently, strawberries.   Upon the heels of opening its new distribution facility earlier this year, the Veg-Fresh team announced the shipment of the three millionth package of “Good Life” organic produce. “With the U.S. demand... Read more
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