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COMPANY PROFILES

Vision Import Group sees mango industry changes
Encouraging customers to handle pre-ripened mangos is “a work in progress,” according to Ronnie Cohen, the vice president of sales and a partner at Vision Import Group. Cohen works in the company’s Hackensack, NJ, office. The mango industry has been encouraging handlers and customers to ripen mangos, as has recently been the practice with avocados and has always been the standard practice for ripening bananas. Cohen said that Vision also... Read more
Apio Inc., a leading provider of Eat Smart-branded packaged, fresh vegetables, has donated 28,000 Eat Smart salads, or approximately 114,000 salad servings, to victims of Hurricane Irma. Eat Smart is partnering with the SOS Foundation and the South Florida Red Cross to distribute these salads to those in need. The delivery from the Apio facility in Bowling Green, OH, is due to arrive in Homestead, FL, on Monday, Sept. 25. Regions of Florida and the Caribbean... Read more
The Hass Avocado Board recently released a survey, titled Avocado Foodservice Usage/Consumption Habits survey, exploring consumer dining behavior when it comes to healthy eating to better understand the drivers behind their dining decisions. The research found that despite the growing trend in heathy eating, 68 percent of consumers still feel their restaurant choices are limited when it comes to healthy eating and 73 percent see a lack of healthy items on menus... Read more
Duda Farm Fresh Foods good as gold
Duda Farm Fresh Foods, headquartered in Oviedo, FL, is a leading grower, shipper, processor and marketer of a wide range of fresh vegetables. The company has been a loyal member of the Southeast Produce Council since its beginning, and has exhibited at Southern Exposure since SEPC held its first conference and expo. The council’s fall event, now titled the Southern Innovations Organics & Foodservice Expo, will take place on Sept. 28-30 at the Westin... Read more
New CEO, big changes at ScanTech Sciences
ScanTech Sciences Inc. announced completion of two critical milestones toward opening its first Electronic Cold-Pasteurization food treatment center in McAllen, TX. The company has appointed Dwayne House as CEO, and it has selected managed labor services provider Freight Handlers Inc. to help staff and operate the ECP facility.  ECP is a clean alternative to post-harvest treatments such as methyl bromide or hot water treatment, and results in pest sterilization,... Read more
Giorgio Fresh remains loyal to the SEPC
Temple, PA-based Giorgio Fresh Co. has been a loyal member of the Southeast Produce Council, its programs, projects and initiatives since the council was founded over a decade and a half ago. And the company has exhibited at every expo since the first one was held. Lucretia Parish, vice president of sales for Giorgio, said the company will once again exhibit at the Southern Innovations Organics & Foodservice Expo on Sept. 28-30 at the Westin Hilton Head Island... Read more
Hard to grow, hard to pack, easy to sell
The University of Minnesota’s Honeycrisp is widely considered to be the U.S. apple industry’s overnight success story, having now risen to No. 6 in national apple production. Except that its success didn’t happen overnight, and its story almost didn’t happen at all, according to a Minnesota apple grower who was in on the ground floor. Pepin Heights Orchards Inc. is celebrating 20 years selling Honeycrisp this fall. And while owner Dennis... Read more
Rice Fruit Co.’s ‘fresh off the trees’ apple harvest now in full swing
In early September, Gardners, PA-based Rice Fruit Co. was in full swing with its 2017 eastern apple harvest. Among the most innovative, forward-thinking and pace-setting apple producers and shippers in the apple industry today had just finished marketing its premier Honeycrisp and Ginger Gold apples. “All varieties of our ‘fresh off the trees’ apples are in high demand,” said Brenda Briggs, vice president of sales and marketing for the... Read more
Double Date with Medjools
Operating out of a state-of-the-art packing facility in Coachella, CA, Double Date Packing provides high-quality Medjool dates, grown in the bright, Southern California sunshine.  “We pride ourselves on giving personalized service and feel that the customer has been neglected in this category,” said Hope Barbee, sales manager for Double Date Packing. “Customers and consumers expect for us to offer them high quality at a good price and... Read more
Lancaster’s value-added division on top of trending segment
Lancaster Foods LLC in Baltimore holds firmly to its commitment of high quality, exceptional service and food safety to its customers and consumers alike. The company continually increases it offerings, including in its growing value-added department. John Gates, president and chief operating officer, told The Produce News that with consumers becoming increasingly more health conscious, the demand for its fresh-cut fruit and vegetable packs is also increasing,... Read more
Giumarra foresees strong blueberry import season
The Giumarra Companies seasonal berry supply continues to get stronger. A 52-week of the year supplier of fresh blueberries, the Los Angeles-based company’s forte is blues and blacks. “To be successful you need to have consistent supply, which is why we’re involved in berries from every major producing area, which includes Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Michigan, California, Oregon and British Columbia,” said... Read more
Gourmet Trading gearing up for blueberry transition
The blueberry category continues to grow in popularity with consumers. In order to consistently supply blueberries year-round, the Gourmet Trading Co. works closely with growers in multiple regions in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Peru.Part of the team at a Peruvian blueberry farm: Diego Castro, Cesar Elias, Luciano Fizman, Scott Hulsey and Raul Lavanda. “When you see where the [blueberry category] was 10 years ago, where... Read more
Certified Onions Inc., is providing the pesticide residue and pathogen testing services offered by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as well as the Idaho Food Safety Assurance Lab. Since its founding, COI, based in Nyssa, OR, has offered sampling for off-label pesticide use and for maximum residue levels. That service was recognized in 2010 by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which presented COI with the “Excellence in Marketing” award. COI... Read more
In two words, Dallas Jensen, grower/industry relations manager at Champion Produce Sales summed up 2017. It’s been, he said, a “real challenge.” Because of the soil saturation, planting for Champion was late. “We finished up around April 20, and our first onions came in Aug 7,” said Jensen. As for finishing harvest, Jensen said in late August, “We hope to be done around Oct. 15, but Mother Nature is the boss when it comes to... Read more
The 2017 season was a month later than last year’s start, yet Haun Packing was still shipping all colors and sizes by late August and expecting to be shipping from storage by Sept. 18, according to Herb Haun, vice president and sales manager of the Weiser, ID, operation. “We started planting in early April and planted all the way to the end of the month,” Haun said. “That’s about a month later than normal.” A cold and wet spring... Read more
It is the last month of cranberry production before harvest that is most significant in determining the nature of a crop, according to Bob Wilson, who owns and is the managing director of The Cranberry Network LLC, which is based in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.    Wilson said Aug. 31 that “we’ll know when we get there” what the nature of the 2017 crop will be. “It’s fairly certain that there will be less overall volume. We are... Read more
Kurt Holland new GM at Cañon Potato
Year two of operations at the Cañon Potato LLC arm of Schmieding Produce came with a “new” face in the general manager’s chair. Kurt Holland, who had worked in sales and transportation at Mountain Valley Produce for nearly 12 years, made the move to Cañon on Jan. 2, 2017. Former GM Darren White and Cameron Oliver from sales moved to the Schmieding offices in Springdale, AR. All sales will be handled out of the Arkansas office, Holland... Read more
The sky’s the limit on Sunny Valley International blueberry imports
Organic and conventional imports of blueberries to North America have been on a steady increase for over the past decade, and this season is no exception. Bob Von Rohr, director of customer relations for Glassboro, NJ-based Sunny Valley International, said the company projects a 15 to 20 percent increase in conventional blueberries from Chile and Argentina for this import season. “We also anticipate that imported organic blueberries will grow by 20 to 25... Read more
Efficiency, quality lead the way for Baker & Murakami
The newly formed Baker & Murakami Produce LLP has gone into its first season of shipping with what co-owner Grant Kitamura termed “decent size and good quality” with its first loads. “The markets now are very high, and demand is good,” he said. “It’s a good transition from growing region to growing region, and while we’re late, people are ready to switch.” Kitamura, whose Murakami Produce Co. joined forces with... Read more
With harvest expected to wrap up in mid-October, Golden West Produce — one of the hardest hit onion shippers in the Treasure Valley during the devastating January snow and ice storms — met its anticipated start date of Sept. 1 for new crop onion shipments. It is operating at its new packing shed and office facility in Parma, ID. Sales are being handled by ProSource Inc. of Hailey, ID, and according to Bernie Pavlock, director of sales at ProSource,... Read more