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COMPANY PROFILES

Santa Barbara Farms sticks with three core commodities
Iceberg lettuce, celery and cauliflower are the three core items that have kept California-based Santa Barbara Farms thriving since Ron Berghoefer opened the doors of his company in 1997. Previously, Berghoefer had managed another company’s local deal. The company, which is headquartered in Lompoc about an hour’s drive north of Santa Barbara, has built its business around year-round supplies of these three commodities. Iceberg lettuce is the firm’s top-volume... Read more
Boskovich Farms moves into its winter vegetable crops seamlessly
For many California vegetable grower-shippers, winter marks a shift in production areas and a transition from the central coast to the California or Arizona. That’s not the case for Oxnard, CA-based Boskovich Farms. “Pretty much we grow the same crops all year-round,” said Don Hobson, vice president of sales and marketing. Don HobsonAt some point in its nearly 100-year history, Boskovich had separate deals in Salinas, CA, and Yuma, AZ, and followed the annual... Read more
Wohlford: ‘We think that this year is just the first in a string of record-breaking crops’
Energy and excitement are running high in Washington apple orchards this season. Producers such as Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers in Wenatchee, WA, expect careful long-range planning to pay significant dividends — fruit of exceptional volume, quality and size — in the coming years. “The 2014 crop is up quite a bit over last year,” National Marketing Representative Dan Wohlford told The Produce News. “We’re looking at around 15.5 million boxes of apples with 1.2 million... Read more
Experience the key to Champion’s onion success
Onions have factored into the lives of Champion Produce Sales’ staffers for years and in some cases generations, as John Wong, president of the operation, noted in early November when the 2014 crop was seeing good movement out of the Parma, ID, facility as well as another facility in neighboring Utah. “Our family farms have grown delicious Spanish Sweet onions for more than 60 years,” Wong said, adding that Champion prides itself on providing “such a nutritious... Read more
Family focus and atmosphere is  at the heart of Atlanta-based  Nickey Gregory Co. corporate culture
Nickey Gregory is a Georgia Bulldog, through and through. Make no mistake about it — he bleeds red and black. But he’d never let state rivalries get in the way of good business. That’s why when he saw a chance to get into the Miami market in 2011, roughly a decade after he founded the Nickey Gregory Co. on the Atlanta State Farmers Market, he jumped at it. “We were down there working with a customer and we noticed there really wasn’t an all-around wholesaler there.... Read more
Florida operations keep Baker Farms in the Southern veg game all year
Baker Farms can grow its mainstay premium greens like kale and collards year-round at its Norman Park, GA, farms, but when it comes to Southern vegetables from beets to zucchini, brothers Terry and Joe Baker turn to their Florida operations to cover retail, wholesale and foodservice needs around the calendar. That’s especially important this year, as the Bakers move into the retail space with their own private, premium label for the first time in the family’s almost... Read more
Blueberries and strawberries are the mainliners at Wish Farms
Wish Farms, a third-generation family-owned-and-op-erated business in Plant City, FL, has staked its national reputation for quality and innovation with more than 50 years of expertise under its corporate belt. Amber Kosinsky, director of marketing, said the company is one of the larger strawberry growers and processors in the eastern United States, building its reputation on the core principles of quality, integrity and responsiveness. In addition to strawberries,... Read more
Henry Avocado supplies growing customer base in record numbers
Despite domestic shortages from the drought conditions in California and Chile, the steady rise in avocado production from Mexico has allowed Henry Avocado to supply its growing customer base in record numbers, according to a company press release. Based on the projections Phil Henry has received from his certified growers in Michoaçan, imports will increase from the approximately 1.2 billion-pound levels of last year, to 1.4 billion pounds during 2015. As recently... Read more
Hadley Date Gardens enjoys good harvest after two years of diminished crops
Monsoon rains just before harvest in 2012 and 2013 caused severe losses to the date crop at Hadley’s Date Gardens Inc. in Thermal, CA. If it had happened a third year in succession, “I don’t know if we would have made it out of that,” said Albert Keck, president. “We were down for the count.” Just as the 2015 Medjool harvest began, rain once again threatened the crop, as weather patterns bought tropical storms up from southern Mexico into the California and Arizona... Read more
Stoneridge Orchards dried fruit now available in smaller, store-friendly size
Stoneridge Orchards, an expert in dried fruit and the consumer brand of Royal Ridge Fruits, has made a variety of its most popular products available in smaller, single-serving packages. The new three-ounce bags are intended for retailers to merchandise as healthy, on-the-go snack options, and the company is making them available in eye-catching tray displays. The bags also can be hung from pegs in the snack aisles of convenience stores and other retailers. “These... Read more
When Vineland, NJ-based M. D’Ottavio Produce Inc. and Immokalee, FL-based Oakes Farms announced at the end of September that they would be working together for the 2014-15 Florida produce season, farming over 600 acres in Immokalee, they obviously could not predict the exact harvest dates of their first crops or how those crops would look. Now they can. Two of the principal executives in both companies provided exactly that information, and more, in exclusive... Read more
“As a multi-regional, multi-state business with production and shipping locations in Florida, California, Arizona and Michigan, Duda Farm Fresh Foods can provide its customers in the Midwest, Southeast and Eastern markets with the fastest delivery, freshest quality produce and fewest food miles traveled,” said Eastern vegetable sales manager for the company, Jason Bedsole. “Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ Florida advantage is a win-win situation for its customers, produce... Read more
“We’re past our summer peak, but we will have normal volumes of our popular ‘SlimCado’ avocados through January,” Bill Brindle, vice president of sales and marketing for Brooks Tropicals, headquartered in Homestead, FL, said in late October. “The quality and sizing continue to be excellent.” Peter Leifermann, director of sales for the company added, “Passion fruit is coming on strong. Our volumes will triple in November and then double in December. “Red guava... Read more
The number of onion production acres in the Treasure Valley being tested for members of Certified Onions Inc. is a strong indicator of just how seriously food-safety concerns are taken. “We have an estimated 20,500 acres in the valley,” President Kay Riley, who is also general manager of Snake River Produce Co. in Nyssa, OR, told The Produce News. “They’ve tested 86 percent of this acreage.” Members of the nonprofit organization voluntarily undergo stringent testing... Read more
It’s that time of the year when buyers send their trucks down to the California and Arizona desert looking for fall and winter vegetables to fill wet racks back home. It might also be a great time to balance out those loads with some extra pallets of lemons. At least that’s the view of John Carter, director of global sales for Limoneira Co., which has its headquarters in Santa Paula, CA. “A number of produce buyers have told us that during the fall-winter vegetable... Read more
The Javits Center is located at the far west side of Manhattan, with the West Side Highway and Hudson River at its back. It is several “long blocks” (as New York City folk tend to refer to the east-west avenues) from midtown and most hotels. If you like to walk, you’ll enjoy the sprint. Unfortunately, the extremely well-run subway system — which can get you from any one point in one of the five Burroughs to the furthest point in another in a short amount of time... Read more
“We are very excited to be exhibiting at the New York Produce Show again this year,” said Nick Pacia, president of A.J. Trucco, commonly referred to as “Trucco,” located at Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY. “We’ll be at Booth Nos. 413-417 this year at the show. Trucco is thrilled to announce the relaunch of its ‘KiwiStar’ brand. ‘KiwiStar’ has been on the market for almost 15 years, and has recently undergone a complete rebranding with an updated... Read more
Kurt Zuhlke, owner and president of Kurt Zuhlke & Associates, headquartered in Bangor, PA, will be exhibiting at the New York Produce Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center North Hall on Dec. 2-4. He will be at the company’s booth to personally greet customers and prospective customers at the event. “Our line of recycled ‘PETE’ [polyethylene terephthalate] containers is a big hit with retailers today,” said Zuhlke. “They are assured when they see the... Read more
“The New York Produce Show is a great way to have one-on-one time with customers all in one place,” said Bryan Patmore, sales executive for Baldor Specialty Foods, headquartered in the Bronx, NY. “It also provides us with an opportunity to meet with shippers to discuss logistic solutions.” Patmore added that the post-Thanksgiving timing is a good time to hold the show, noting that the holiday time is always a good time to be in New York City, making it a win-win... Read more
“Early December is an exciting time to be in New York City because there are so many holiday related things to see and do when show hours are over,” said Bill Litvin, vice president of sales and national account manager for Giorgio Fresh headquartered in Temple, PA. “We think in addition to the networking opportunities, the timing of the show helps to boost attendance.” Giorgio Fresh will be at Booth Nos. 237-239 at the New York Produce Show, being held this year... Read more