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Jim Hunt, former president of PMA and Grant J. Hunt Co., dies at 94
Grant J. (Jim) Hunt Jr., the former president of Oakland, CA-based distribution firm Grant J. Hunt Co. and a former president of the Produce Marketing Association, died at the age of 94. Mr. Hunt graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in agricultural economics in 1943. He joined Grant J. Hunt Co. in 1946 after his rehabilitation from... Read more
Target takes aim at 500-store redesign
Target Corp. has unveiled design elements for the company’s most ambitious store redesign to date, with plans for the first fully reimagined store to open in a Houston, TX, suburb this October. The redesign plans are part of the company’s commitment to invest billions of dollars over the next three years to reimagine hundreds of existing stores. The... Read more
Stellar Distributing continues to pump up volume of fig and kiwi supply
While figs and kiwifruit may not be the biggest markets, fans of these fruits are as loyal as they come, and Stellar Distributing has carved out a niche for satisfying these rabid consumers. “People who love figs and kiwi are crazy about them,” said Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager for Stellar Distributing. “That’s led us to keep finding... Read more
PMA adds Walmart SVP Shawn Baldwin to board of directors
Shawn Baldwin, Walmart Stores’ general merchandise manager and senior vice president of produce and global food sourcing, has been named to the Produce Marketing Association board of directors. Baldwin’s term begins effective immediately. He replaces Jim Corby, who has served PMA’s board since October 2016 and recently announced his retirement... Read more
Stemilt’s Rushing Rivers pears set to bring farm to store this spring
In 2014, Stemilt Growers' newly introduced Rushing Rivers pear brand hit produce department shelves, giving consumers the opportunity to learn where their pears came from. Stemilt is a long-time industry leader in pears and introduced the label to share the unique story of the two locales where its pears originate. Fast forward three years and the Rushing... Read more
Albert Pieri, a founder of Ocean Mist, dies at 90
Ocean Mist Farms, a Castroville CA-based artichoke and vegetable grower-shipper, has announced that Albert Pieri, an original founder of the company and a dedicated employee of nearly 50 years, has died at age 90. Mr. Pieri was a pioneer in the early days of California Artichoke & Vegetable Growers, which was renamed Ocean Mist Farms in 1995. He was honored... Read more
Sun World wins intellectual property court case
Proprietary fruit breeders scored a noteworthy victory when an Israeli court granted a temporary injunction against an Israeli grape grower infringing on Sun World International's intellectual property rights. The injunction prohibited the infringer from continuing to market fruit produced from the proprietary grapevines and led to a settlement whereby the infringer... Read more
More than 15 major produce buyers are scheduled to attend the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Connections: Retail event April 5-6 at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott in Philadelphia. The event features a keynote by PMA Chief Executive Officer Cathy Burns on the power of the consumer, and a new, interactive education format led by participants. PMA Fresh... Read more
Avocados are appearing more often on menus when family and friends gather for holiday celebrations. The Hass Avocado Board recently released a study that shows the growing popularity of avocados as measured by retail sales trends during 13 key holidays and events. Overall in 2016, shoppers purchased 10 percent more avocados than in the prior year, with nearly... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on produce businesses in Arizona, Florida and North Carolina for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry: Trinity Frozen Foods LLC, operating out... Read more
Kroger veteran joins CMI Orchards as VP of marketing
George Harter has joined CMI Orchards as vice president of marketing. Harter will take the reins from Steve Lutz. Earlier this month it was announced that Lutz is shifting into a strategic role with the company. Harter brings more than 20 years of retail produce operations and management experience with the Kroger Co. During his career at Kroger he held... Read more
Jim Allen named VP of marketing at New York Apple Sales
New York Apple Sales Inc. has announced that Jim Allen and Matt Wells have joined the Glenmont, NY-based company. Allen, who served for 17 years as president and chief executive officer of the New York Apple Association, is now vice president of marketing at New York Apple Sales, while Wells, previously a procurement manager for Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, team... Read more
Suspension agreement is again up for discussion
NAVOLATO, SINALOA, MEXICO — The tomato suspension agreement, a trade agreement established between the U.S. Department of Commerce and Mexico in 1996, expires on March 3, 2018. Culiacan tomato grower Rosario (Tolin) Beltran is president of Mexico’s Sistema Producto Tomate Nacional, which is the Tomato National Product System.   Mario Robles... Read more
Targert Corporation announced the appointment of Jeff Burt as senior vice president, grocery, fresh food and beverage on Monday, March 20. In his new role, Burt will help advance and execute Target’s food and beverage strategy, which is centered on defining a differentiated guest experience through a curated assortment, quality products and competitive... Read more
When Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association recently scored his 30,000th career point, the milestone was marked in an unusual way: he received a potato with his picture on it along with a note of congratulations. Unsure who sent the celebratory tuber, Nowitzki took to social media, according to a March 21 story in The Wall... Read more
Kroger names two division presidents
The Kroger Co. announced that Joe Grieshaber has been named president of Fred Meyer Stores, replacing Jeff Burt, who resigned to pursue other interests. Grieshaber has been serving as president of Kroger's Columbus division. Succeeding Grieshaber will be Dan De La Rosa, who has been promoted to serve as president of Kroger's Columbus division. De La Rosa currently... Read more
Retailers see record sales for Pazazz apples this winter
Pazazz apples shattered retail sales targets this winter, less than a year ahead of its nationwide 2018 roll out, according to Honeybear Brands. The variety, which debuted a month earlier than usual in December 2016, sold faster, in more markets and more retail stores than at any other time since its initial introduction. “We’re looking at the sales... Read more
Strong season for Autumn Glory apples
Forty-five million. That is the number of people reached during the successful 2016-17 marketing campaign focused on Autumn Glory apples, the proprietary apple of Domex Superfresh Growers. Due to strong consumer demand, Autumn Glory sold out months before expected. “IRI scan data indicate 161 percent dollar growth this crop season. Retailers are experiencing... Read more
Healthy Avocado, a Berkeley, CA-importer of Mexican avocados, has a robust website ( chock full of up-to-date information to help the U.S. avocado supply chain better market the crop. Paul Weisman, founder and president of the firm, said accurate information is hard to come by with regard to shipments from Mexico.  A look at the data... Read more
Albertsons Cos. and Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. have held preliminary merger talks, according to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the matter. According to the report, the discussions are at an early stage and there’s no certainty a deal will transpire. This morning Sprouts shares rose $0.77 to $23.27 — valuing the company at more than... Read more