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COMPANY PROFILES

DONNA, TX  —  Capitalizing on social media to educate consumers on its tomato products, Kingdom Fresh Farms recently released a series of fun videos. Kingdom Fresh General Manager Guillermo Martinez worked with a Mexican production company to create the concepts and generate the final piece. When The Produce News met with Martinez in mid-May, the firm had completed videos promoting its organic grape tomatoes and its vine ripe tomatoes. The videos... Read more
Crop diversity key for Wiers Farm’s continuing success in Ohio
Ben Wiers, president of Willard, OH-based Wiers Farm Inc., has noticed a shift in the produce industry in the Buckeye State in recent years. “The Ohio produce industry has changed in the last few years with many of the smaller operations going away in the wake of changing food-safety regulations,” he said. “Fortunately, we were way ahead of the food-safety curve 20 years ago and continue to upgrade our facility and all nine of our stainless-steel... Read more
Zespri proud to be the kings of  kiwifruit
“You just do kiwi?” That’s a question Sarah Deaton, marketing manager, North America, of New Zealand-based Zespri hears all the time. And although the answer is “yes,” she assures people that this is no ordinary kiwifruit. “Zespri is a grower-owned company owned by 25,000 growers past and present. What Zespri does and the way it’s set up, we grow for taste,” she said. “We’re not growing to have the biggest... Read more
Giumarra  expecting strong  summer
The Giumarra Cos. has been working with New Zealand for more than 20 years to import fruit to North America, and are gearing up for an expected strong summer season, starting with its Nature’s Partner Meyer lemons program. “New Zealand represents a key supply area for us with excellent quality and volumes of apples, pears, and kiwifruit during a counter-seasonal timeframe,” said Jason Bushong, division manager of Giumarra, based in Wenatchee,... Read more
Blueberries on the mind of Homegrown Organic Farms
Homegrown Organic Farms, based in Porterville, CA, has exclusively grown certified-organic fresh produce since 1998 and Chad Hansen, the company’s blueberry category director, noted it has perfected the operation in its almost two decades doing so. The company consists of more than 80 growers whose aim is to take great care to provide healthy, safe and delicious organic produce. Hansen said Homegrown Organic Farms markets organic blueberries from April through... Read more
Potatoes USA is now accepting nominations for new board members for the 2018-21 term. Fifty-eight members will be elected or re-elected to fill open seats and the seats of outgoing board members who are completing their second three-year term in March 2018. Potatoes USA, the nation's potato marketing organization and the central organizing force in implementing programs to strengthen demand for U.S. potatoes, provides ideas, information, tools and inspiration for... Read more
Pinto Bros. Inc. was one of the original companies to take occupancy on the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market when it opened in the summer of 2011. It has expanded on the market a couple of times since then, including its most recent addition of another new unit this past winter. “We went from three to four units because space is limited at the market and we did not want our company’s growth limited by not having enough room,” said Todd Penza,... Read more
Tommy Kovacevich lauds team member Ry Manos for great job
Tommy Kovacevich, president and chief operating officer for Kovacevich-Philadelphia Inc., located at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, told The Produce News that Ry Manos, a third-generation produce professional, began working for TMK in 2012, and has done an outstanding job for the company. “Ry has done literally every job in the ‘store’ — from selector to inventory control, and most recently as manager of our DSD division,”... Read more
RedLine Solutions celebrates 20 years of customer solutions
RedLine Solutions, a leader in traceability solutions for the fresh produce grower-shippers, is moving to a new facility, which coincides with the Santa Clara, CA-based company’s 20th anniversary in business. RedLine continues its focus on developing exception value for its customers, as it looks into the next 20 years with cutting-edge new products like its new MyProduce.com solution, a Food Safety Modernization Act-compliant, web-based, warehouse management... Read more
First round of training set for South Carolina in June on federal food-safety law
The first round of training on the new federal food safety law is scheduled for produce growers in South Carolina on June 20-21 at the State Farmers Market in West Columbia, SC. The accompanying state legislation to give the South Carolina Department of Agriculture authority has passed the House with only 11 dissenting votes and was poised to pass the Senate in early May. The legislation had been reviewed and endorsed by Clemson University, the South Carolina Farm... Read more
Wada helps promote NC produce
Eric Beck, director of marketing for Wada Farms Marketing Group, headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID, sees the company as another strong voice to represent the value of North Carolina produce with a specific interest in potatoes and sweet potatoes. “Wada takes pride in offering quality North Carolina sweet potatoes and potatoes to a very diverse portfolio of customers throughout the domestic and international markets,” he said. “Success is yielded... Read more
Southern Produce forging ahead
The produce industry is still mourning the loss of David Stewart Precythe, president and chief executive officer of Southern Produce Distributors Inc., who passed away on April 20 at the age of 68. “His legacy is one of honesty, integrity, hard work, loyalty, and he was a man of his word,” said his son, Kelley Precythe. “He did what he said he was going to do every time. He was a great leader. We always knew he was there. He was the mastermind;... Read more
Western Fresh expands into vegetables
Western Fresh Marketing has always been a family affair with President George Kragie handling the farming and his wife, Susan Bidvia-Kragie working the phones and heavily involved in sales. In addition, George’s son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Misty Kragie, work for the company in different capacities at the headquarters in Madera, CA. Fresh whole and cut Calimyrna and Mission figs from Western Fresh. Photos courtesy of Western Fresh.And as of Jan. 1,... Read more
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage at 136 stores with another dozen planned
When Margaret and Philip Isely launched their cottage industry that was appropriately named Vitamin Cottage in Golden, CO, back in 1955, they did so with a borrowed $200 and a door-to-door sales program that focused on Margaret’s homebaked bread and nutritional information. Today Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage retains the founding principles of the Iselys and is in fact still a family business headed by Margaret and Philip’s offspring. Son Kemper... Read more
Mexico remains good market for MVPG
With supplies on hand and shipments on track to run through July 20, Monte Vista Potato Growers in Monte Vista, CO, continues to see good business with Mexican receivers inside the 26k buffer zone. “That program is going great for us,” General Manager Jason Tillman said on April 25. “Right now our overall movement is staying steady, and Mexico is taking a lot of size A from us,” he added. Monte Vista Potato Growers General Manager Jason... Read more
HERMOSILLO, SONORA — Agricola Cactus S.A. de C.V. was recently commended by CEMEFI, a major philanthropic organization in Mexico, and AliaRSE, a Mexican group promoting social responsibility. AgriCactus is a large grape producer on Sonora’s coastal plain, several miles west of Hermosillo. AgriCactus received the Distintivo ESR 2017 award for promoting the quality of life of its employees, being an ethically responsible company and its diligent work... Read more
Jimmy Myrick, vice president of Edward L. Myrick Produce in Pompano Beach, FL, said since the company represents farmers in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Honduras, it keeps close tabs on everything that’s happening in those locales to ensure it has a good season. He admits that while the year hasn’t been great, it’s been decent, and he’s encouraged by what he’s seen and heard in Georgia. “Luckily, our farmer... Read more
King Farms is no stranger to the subtleties of being successful in Georgia, having grown and shipped in the state for the last 20 years. “What is unique is that Georgia has two full seasons — summer and fall,” said Steve Oldock, owner the Naples, FL-based company.   The offerings from Georgia growers has remained rather constant through the years, with squash, Bell peppers, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, hot peppers, cabbage and melons... Read more
When Delbert Bland, president and owner of Glennville, GA-based Bland Farms, looks at the produce landscape in Georgia, he sees a major transformation that has happened over the last five years. “It’s changed drastically and it seems like more produce is being featured out of this area now,” he said. “I know ourselves, we have increased our line from the traditional Vidalia sweet onions to sweet potatoes, and that’s done... Read more
Now in its third year of commercial volume, the SunGold from Zespri is setting the pace for the kiwifruit category, according to Steve Woodyear-Smith, Oppy category manager for tropicals. Woodyear-Smith told The Produce News in late April that the New Zealand fruit “continues to grow, and this season we’ll have fruit across the size range.” He added, “It’s really a great-eating piece of fruit, and we’re seeing incredible growth.” In... Read more