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COMPANY PROFILES

The secret is out about GR Fresh
Sometimes telling secrets is a good thing. Often referred to as the “the best kept secret” in the produce business, maintaining that position is not in the plans of Tony Incaviglia, the vice president of sales and marketing of the McAllen, TX-based firm with the DBA GR Fresh. GR Fresh has a new focus on custom growing — providing products to fill specific and existing customer demand. Value-added packing is another new feature at GR Fresh. With... Read more
Ruiz Sales president says agriculture is driving economic boom in RGV
Ruiz Sales, a leading importer and distributor of tropical fruits from Mexico and a fixture in the Rio Grande Valley, believes the region is on an upswing with a bright future ahead. The valley is currently experiencing tremendous growth of many different businesses and industries, from produce to construction to retail to specialty stores, according to Richard Ruiz, president of the Edinburg, TX-based Ruiz Sales. “The expansion of our infrastructure, with... Read more
Kingdom Fresh expanding  its successful formula
donna, tx — Kingdom Fresh Produce Inc., a year-round Mexican tomato grower-shipper, has production in 550 acres of greenhouses. The firm specializes in vine ripe, roma and conventional and organic grape tomatoes. Kingdom Fresh has modern sales offices and distribution facilities in South Texas, but the company’s farm and offices are based in Torreón, Coahuila — about 400 miles west of Donna. Jaime Garcia Jaime Garcia, who was named general... Read more
Limoneira building a community
Limoneira Co.'s Harvest at Limoneira project broke ground with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by government officials and community members on Wednesday, Nov. 8 following a decade of hard work and dedicated planning. Built on Limoneira Co.’s East Area 1 property, the development will span 500 acres and will host 1,500 new homes and apartments; new school facilities; community facilities for health care; new commercial spaces; a sports park; an amphitheater... Read more
Val Verde Vegetable growing healthy vegetables
 mcallen, tx — The entire produce category deserves its reputation for providing consumers with healthy products. But some items provide more nutritional benefits than others. Frank Schuster, president of Val Verde Vegetable Co. Inc., is placing an emphasis on producing brassica family vegetables — cauliflower, beets, turnips, kale and kohlrabi. He said the variety is important to avoid soil-borne diseases by altering crops from year to year. On... Read more
Homegrown urges expansion of organic citrus category
The citrus category has been expanding quite nicely in recent years and embracing that expansion may be the best bet for retailers looking for organic citrus to promote this fall. “There will be promotional opportunities (for organic citrus),” said Craig Morris, citrus category director for Homegrown Organic Farms, in Porterville, CA, “but it may require expanding the product line.” Cara Cara oranges from Homegrown Organic Farms.Of course... Read more
Mission knows how to Do The Ripe Thing
With the avocado continuing its trendy ways, Oxnard, CA-based Mission Produce is concentrating on educating front-line clerks on handling practices and giving consumers options at the checkout stand. Vice President of Marketing Robb Bertels said that at the recent Produce Marketing Association convention in New Orleans, the company was showing off its best practices handling guide to give backroom and front-of-the-house representatives tips as to how best to handle... Read more
McDaniel increases Chilean avocado imports
In the late summer, early fall period, McDaniel Avocado Co. in Fallbrook, CA, increased its importation of Chilean avocados as a hedge against lower supplies from other sources. “Thank goodness that we had Chile,” said Rankin McDaniel, president of the company. “We sourced a pretty large volume from Chile this year. They filled a large gap we had in our supply chain during that time frame. They served a very vital and active role.”The McDaniel... Read more
BJ's donates $100,000 to Philabundance
BJ's Wholesale Club announced a $100,000 donation from the BJ's Charitable Foundation to Philabundance, a Feeding America member food bank. The donation will help Philabundance's agency partners increase their capacity to distribute perishable food across the region. BJ's grant to Philabundance is part of BJ's Charitable Foundation's $1 million donation to Feeding America, one of the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Philabundance is one of... Read more
Henry Avocado opens distribution center in Charlotte, NC
Henry Avocado has responded to the increasing demand for its ripening service and the anticipated surge in avocado supplies in 2018 and beyond by opening a new ripening and distribution center in Charlotte, NC. The first distribution center east of Houston, TX, and the seventh overall for the Escondido, CA-based year-round grower, shipper and distributor, it will be managed by local fresh-food industry veterans Ricardo Guillen and Gabriel Del Salto under the direction... Read more
Hurst International LLC, a Southern California manufacturer of the machinery that applies labels to fruits and vegetables purchased at grocery retailers, has filed a lawsuit against competitor Sinclair Systems International in federal court claiming that Sinclair is engaging in unlawful and competitively exclusionary conduct, such as below-cost pricing and entering into contracts in an effort to charge higher prices in markets where Hurst does not compete. In its... Read more
Zespri's year-round supply lets kiwifruit stay gold
Zespri’s SunGold kiwifruit is changing the category due to its sweeter taste and longer shelf life — and consumers can’t get enough. To meet strong consumer demand, Zespri is bringing in kiwifruit from Italy, where Zespri’s Italian SunGold-growers grow for taste and deliver on Zespri’s comprehensive system of quality standards. “We’ve been reconfiguring our business structure and building our team to help our customers... Read more
With more than 300 refrigerated trailers, Giltner Inc. specializes in produce trucking
Giltner Inc. in Jerome, ID, started hauling perishable products 33 years ago on a modest scale and has grown to where the company now has around 250 trucks and 320 refrigerated trailers. Initially, the company handled mainly cheese, but soon found a stronger niche in hauling potatoes out of Idaho, mainly into Texas. As more and more potatoes began moving to market by rail, Giltner diversified into other produce items as well, and today does a significant business... Read more
mcallen, tx — Lance Peterson is a third-generation South Texas produce grower. But since 1996, the now 46-year-old has largely worked in the southern Mexico state of Colima, with regular trips to Pharr to coordinate with the distribution side of his firm, Super Starr International. The company has been in Colima since the late 1990s. Peterson said the firm’s mission for its Mexican products has always been to focus on risk reduction in food-safety... Read more
mcallen, tx — A critical piece of South Texas’ role in fresh produce trade is infrastructure. Cold storage space is critical and construction sites are common occurences. Among the shipper-distributors with new cold storage sites are Marengo and Triple H. Enrique Bracamontes, operations officer, provided a tour of his ultra-modern facility, SmartCold, which opened in 2014. The facility serves not only Triple H, but Mexican exporters shipping to the... Read more
edinburgh, tx — Viva Fresh is a vehicle that enables buyers to see when they want to source, whether it’s from Texas, Mexico or Arizona. The Viva Fresh Expo gives buyers the opportunity to develop new relationships, and continue focusing on their education of the industry. Jimmy Bassetti, president of J & D Produce Inc. in Edinburgh, TX, said, “It’s important to maintain our focus on education.” “Our main goal is to increase... Read more
mission, tx — An established South Texas vegetable grower in recent years has also become a major organic grower. Plantation Produce Co. was established 1972. The firm, which is also known as PPC Farms, is a 12-month producer in Texas and Mexico of conventional and organic commodities. Mission, TX-based PPC Farms grows organic and conventional greens, herbs, peppers, cucumbers, beets, cabbage, broccoli and the famous Texas 1015 sweet onions. The offerings... Read more
mcallen, tx — A new postharvest food treatment center is slated to open in the Rio Grande Valley in early 2018. The McAllen facility will feature ScanTech Sciences’ proprietary Electronic Cold-Pasteurization technology, which will treat fresh produce traveling between the United States and Mexico. ECP can eliminate up to 99 percent of bacteria and pathogens, including listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. The process is approved by USDA, FDA and fully... Read more
edinburg, tx — In an uncharacteristic industry twist, a family with deep roots in one growing area has become a leader in another. Jimmy Bassetti and his wife, Diane Bassetti, both grew up in produce in Vineland, NJ. Diane’s father was the late Ralph Dauito, Jr., of Ralph Dauito and Sons in Vineland. Bassetti’s produce background included working in his family’s Vineland produce brokerage, R&B Produce, which was run by his father, Jim... Read more
pharr, tx — SunFed is entering its third season of operations in South Texas. The firm is based in Nogales, AZ, and operates a modern warehouse facility in Pharr, TX. Craig Slate, who became the firm’s new president and chief executive officer on Aug. 31, met with The Produce News in the Pharr facility to discuss the operations. Slate said currently 100 percent of SunFed’s produce is grown in Mexico. The Texas business “is growing by leaps... Read more