The future of Mexico’s grape industry “is very strong,” in the view of Jerry Havel, the director of sales and marketing for Fresh Farms, in his office in Rio Rico, AZ.   Mexico consistently produces grapes that are “very sweet and large in size year in and year out.  The grape quality is outstanding.” Specifically of the coming season, he said, “I... Read more
Publix Super Markets Inc. and Lowes Foods LLC have announced the companies have entered into an agreement under which Publix is expected to purchase two closed and vacant Lowes Foods stores in North Carolina. The transaction is projected to close later in April. “We’ve opened eight stores in North Carolina within the past year, solidifying our commitment... Read more
Vision Produce's Phoenix facility goes solar
This April, Vision Produce Co. is installing a solar power generation system at its produce distribution center in Phoenix, which also includes offices for its Arizona sales and operational staff. It is expected to supply 59 percent of the electricity Vision Produce consumes in Phoenix every year. The new system will include 1,930 solar panels... Read more
Frieda’s Angelcot season set for mid-June
Frieda’s Specialty Produce’s exclusive Angelcots, which it describes as “heavenly white apricots,” are only available for three weeks starting in mid-June. This specialty hybrid of Moroccan and Iranian apricot varieties is grown in Northern California and packed in 16/one-pound clamshells. Angelcots’ pale-yellow skin — with a pale-peach blush — is covered with... Read more
Retail View: Haggen continues Vons, Albertsons conversions
Since February Haggen has converted about one-third of the Safeway and Albertsons stores it acquired in December to the Haggen brand. There have been 22 conversions in California — including the first one in Carlsbad in San Diego County — 19 in Washington and 22 in Oregon. The company recently announced that it was slowing down its conversion schedule a bit... Read more
SEPC’s STEP-UPP class visits southern Florida
The Southeast Produce Council’s 2015 STEP-UPP class traveled to southern Florida April 7-10 to visit a variety of well-known produce facilities and farms as part of the program’s ongoing learning experience for class members to develop a greater understanding of the fresh produce industry. The Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming Produce Professionals... Read more
Meijer Curbside service offers online ordering, drive-thru convenience
Meijer has launched a new way to shop called Meijer Curbside. This new shopping service allows customers to shop for their items online and enjoy the convenience of picking up their groceries curbside without leaving the car. Currently being piloted at a single store, the Meijer Curbside program enlists specially trained team members to hand select every item... Read more
Versatility key for Idaho fingerlings
With a tender interior and small to medium in size, Idaho fingerlings are popular as a side dish due to their versatility — they can be cooked or roasted whole, stuffed, shaved and chipped, and even braised in oil for a earthy confit. Idaho produces three main fingerling varieties: French fingerlings offer a smooth, dark rosy skin; waxy, yellow flesh interior;... Read more
The Washington fresh apricot crop should hit the market by about the middle of June and be fairly close to the 642,000 24-pound cartons that were produced last year, according to James Michael, vice president of marketing for North America for the Washington State Fruit Commission. James said that represents about 30 percent of the total crop from the West,... Read more
Record numbers of exhibitors, attendees pack 90th annual CPMA show in Montreal
MONTREAL — With almost 300 exhibitors occupying 500 exhibit spaces at the Palais de congrès de Montréal, here, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s 90th annual convention and trade show, under way April 15-17, is the largest CPMA trade show yet. “This is the largest show we’ve had in our 90 year history both in terms of attendees and exhibitors,” said... Read more
Walmart Canada named CPMA's Fresh Health Award winner
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association announced Walmart Canada as the winner of the 2015 Fresh Health Award. Since its introduction in 1998, the Fresh Health Award has been presented to a company or organization that has shown outstanding leadership in its efforts to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to improve population health and industry... Read more
The Public Health Agency of Canada announced that it is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7, commonly called E.coli, with a possible link to leafy greens. The agency said that a specific product has not been identified yet and the investigation is ongoing. "There have been 12... Read more
SUNSET celebrates 20 years of flavor with Campari
It’s been two flavorful decades since SUNSET has introduced the Campari tomato. In 1995, the greenhouse company introduced the unique European variety. Unlike other tomatoes on the market, it was small, about golf-ball sized, and not at all watery like its bigger counterparts at the time. “One of our customers had approached us one day and said ‘let’s throw... Read more
Like clockwork, it’s April, so the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys on California’s coast are the main suppliers of many of the nation’s vegetable row crops, including Iceberg lettuce, all the mixed and specialty lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli and celery. “Huron has finished up, the desert is done — everybody is happy to get back to Santa Maria and Salinas,”... Read more
Peri & Sons Farms launches ‘eat brighter!’ onion packs
Nevada-based Peri & Sons Farms is embracing the national movement to ‘eat brighter!’ by offering consumers a "Sesame Street" branded package of premium onions beginning in May 2015. “One reason we decided to adopt the ‘eat brighter!’ message this year is that it aligns with our company’s recent efforts to internally promote health and wellness at Peri &... Read more
Martin’s to launch small-format banner
Martin’s Super Markets, headquartered in South Bend, IN, will open its newest store, a Martin’s Express, on May 7 in Goshen, IN. It will be the company’s 22nd store; however, the 26,200-square-foot location will be Martin's first execution of a new smaller format. The company said the store's easy-to-shop layout will feature everything fresh that... Read more
Voting opens for Opal’s Youth Make a Difference initiative
Public voting is now open for Opal Apple’s Youth Make a Difference initiative, a campaign designed to provide financial support to causes led by youth ages 6 to 25. Voters are being asked to help select charities to receive up to a combined $150,000 in funds at For the third consecutive year, Opal Apple’s Youth Make a Difference initiative... Read more
Freska kicks off mango season with Disney designs
This month Freska Produce International LLC is launching fresh mangos featuring beloved Disney characters on display-ready boxes, stickers and in a mango recipe and activity eBook. Four varieties of Mexican mangos — Tommy Atkins, Kents, Keitts and Ataulfos — will be available at grocery retailers nationwide now through August. The campaign launches with the... Read more
National Watermelon Association has eye to the future
The National Watermelon Association believes the future success of the industry lies in developing the talent and interest of its younger members. In fact, NWA is so passionate about this belief that it is gearing its five-year plan around building value for members of Generation Y. At the NWA’s annual convention in February, NWA Executive Director Bob Morrissey... Read more
Mexican mango crop expected to be a big one
The 2015 mango crop projections from Empacadoras de Mango de Exportación, the organization that represents Mexico’s mango export packing facilities, indicate this will be a significant year for Mexican mango production and for mango exports to the United States. Due to the projected increase in import volumes, the National Mango Board is working with retailers... Read more