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Sun World Expands Import Footprint in North America

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Bakersfield, Calif. – Sun World International LLC (Sun World) announced it has added three importers to its panel of North American licensees. These include GrapeMan Farms, Pacific Trellis Fruit and Sierra Produce. The appointments further expand the company’s panel of licensed importers to 17 companies.

GrapeMan Farms, Pacific Trellis Fruit and Sierra Produce join a select list of Sun World licensed importers in North America, including Camposol Fresh USA, Capespan North America, Dayka & Hackett, Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Divine Flavor International, Fresh Flavor International, Jac. Vandenberg, Southern Fruit Import Co., Star Produce, Summit Produce, North American Produce Buyers, The Oppenheimer Group, Vanguard Direct, and William H. Kopke Jr., Inc. Each of these companies holds a license to distribute and market Sun World’s full line of proprietary grapes in the United States and Canada from licensed Chilean, Peruvian, Brazilian and South African suppliers.

The licenses include the right to import fruit from existing and new varieties developed by Sun World, marketed under the company’s powerful brands, such as AUTUMNCRISP®, MIDNIGHT BEAUTY®, SABLE SEEDLESS®, ADORA SEEDLESS®, and SCARLOTTA SEEDLESS®.

“We are pleased to appoint these extraordinary importers, to further bolster our presence in the global fruit trade,” said Garth Swinburn, Vice President of Licensing for Sun World. “We’re confident that providing further access to our proprietary fruit varieties will allow our licensed growers to maximize their revenues while increasing consumer exposure to our table grapes and related varietal brands,” he added.

Grapeman Farms is a vertically integrated grape grower-marketer based in Bakersfield, California with a proud history of providing premium quality grapes for nearly 50 years. With offices in Arizona, California and New Jersey, the company has established a multinational operation, sourcing the finest quality of product from Chile, Peru, Mexico and California.

Pacific Trellis Fruit established in 1999 and headquarter in Los Angeles, CA with sales offices in Fresno, CA, New Jersey and Arizona is one of North America’s top year-round importers, growers, and marketers of premium fresh fruit, including grapes, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, and citrus. The company partners with growers from Peru, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and California to provide a 52-week availability of quality grapes to our customers. 

Sierra Produce is an importer, marketer, and shipper of fresh fruit products sourced nationally and globally. The company has over 35 years of fruit import experience with long standing and diverse grower/exporter relationships and are committed to providing an assortment of both abundant volume and the latest innovative varieties available.

Sun World International LLC is a global variety development and licensing business. Sun World’s mission is to drive the growth of fruit breeding, varietal development, licensing and agricultural technologies. The California-based company has a network of licensed growers and marketers and maintains offices in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America, Israel, North Africa, and South Africa.

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Michigan Apple Shipments are Setting an All-Time Record

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The 2022-23 Michigan apple crop is shattering shipping records.

Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc., Sparta, MI, reports it has surpassed its all-time production record by 20-25%. The grower/shipper packs more than half of Michigan’s fresh apple crop and has a presence in all but one of Michigan’s apple producing areas.

In August the Michigan Apple Committee announced a crop estimate of a whopping 29.5 million bushels. This is 10 million more bushels than in the 2021-22 season. Michigan apple growers produced 15.6 million bushels last year, according to the USDA. Informal estimates now place 2022-23 volume at about 34-38 million bushels!

Riveridge reports this banner season is especially good news because it follows three consecutive disappointing Michigan apple crops. Part of the reason the 2022-23 crop was so good is that the trees had not been stressed by large crops for a long time. It was a strong bloom and fruit set. This year, Michigan apple trees were tight on maturity, with the fruitlets on the trees ranging in maturity within three to five days. Some years that span can vary by two weeks.

Riveridge’s apple marketing position is stronger because of a short crop in the Pacific Northwest. The company plans on filling those voids.

A strategic move for Riveridge is growing apple varieties and strains wanted by consumers. Galas and Fujis are key varieties for Riveridge. A lot of the apple industry that has focused on expensive, proprietary varieties, which the company believes has confused many consumers.

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“Sky is the Limit” for Mexican Avocado Shipments with Addition of Jalisco

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The USDA formally authorized the export of avocados from the state of Jalisco in Mexico, to the U.S. last July. This is allowing the expansion of operations for some grower-shippers and helping to bolster supplies.

Mexican avocado imports contributed a record $11.2 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2021-22 growing season, according to a recent report from Texas A&M University.

The trade organization Avocados from Mexico of Dallas, TX has said “the sky is the limit” when describing potential growth of the Mexican avocado industry. Avocados grow year-round in the Mexican state of Michoacán, providing a steady supply. And with the addition of the state of Jalisco to the import program, there are even more avocados available for U.S.

Seald Sweet of Vero Beach, FL notes the approval of the Jalisco area has significantly changed its avocado business.

The company has partnered with Las Tarascas, a family-owned company that has grown produce in Mexico for more than 20 years. The two companies have aligned with providing sustainable and high-quality product to the U.S. market with a direct line to the grower and product.  

While avocados from Jalisco still represent a modest contribution to the U.S. supply chain, they may help to break records in the future. Seald Sweet projects it will import a record amount of avocados this year.

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Pears Rank High in Dietary Fiber

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“Pears are a healthy and nutritious selection for the whole family that can be enjoyed a bit longer, when stored properly,” says Jim Morris, marketing manager at Pear Bureau Northwest. “Simply move your ripe pears to the refrigerator to extend their life 3-5 more days. With food prices on the rise, choosing produce that keeps and that offers a nutritious bang for the buck is all the more important.”

Pears rank higher than almost any other fruit when it comes to dietary fiber, with 6 grams or 21% of the recommended daily value in just one pear. Fiber aids in gut health and supports bowel regularity. Fiber-rich diets can also help in the prevention of various conditions and diseases, such as heart disease and some types of cancer.

Further, pears contain other essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and potassium. These compounds are vital for normal metabolism, tissue repair, proper immune function and protection from infectious diseases.

How to Store and Ripen Pears
Pears are among the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Rather, they reach maturity when stored at room temperature. This makes pears a perfect choice for decorative fruit bowls or weekend produce shopping that will last throughout the week. To determine when a pear is at its juiciest, USA Pears suggests to “check the neck.” If a pear yields when gentle pressure is applied with a thumb to its neck near the stem, then it’s ripe and ready to eat. Once ripe, pears can be stored in the refrigerator to slow aging and extend the fruit for a few more days.

To learn more about the health benefits of pears and explore recipes, visit

About USA Pears
The Pear Bureau Northwest, promoted under the brand USA Pears, was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote and develop markets for top-quality fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon. The organization represents nearly 900 grower families and 50 packers and shippers. Combined, Washington and Oregon are the nation’s largest pear producing region. They produce approximately 88% of all fresh pears grown in the United States, and more than 96% of all winter pears (non-Bartlett varieties such as Bosc and Anjou). They also account for 92% of America’s fresh pear exports.

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California and Arizona Citrus Growers Anticipate Strong Shipping Season

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California and Arizona citrus growers got off to a strong start in October and forecast a good performance for the 2022/23 season, predicting strong volumes of large fruit this winter.

USDA reports last season was down about 19%, but citrus growers in California and Arizona are optimistic. The California and Arizona citrus crop is anticipated to rebound from 2021/22’s off season.

Sunkist Growers of Valencia, CA reports this past season, California citrus had a shorter crop with most varieties. It is looking forward to a new season. Shipments of California-grown Sunkist Navel Oranges started in November, alongside the exceptionally large pummelo and Sunkist California Mandarins, followed by cara cara oranges, blood oranges and minneola tangelos.

Sunkist anticipates peak citrus volumes by January with all varieties.

At shipper/packer Bee Sweet Citrus of Fowler, CA, the company is citing larger-than-average navel oranges registering higher-than-normal Brix levels for this this time of year. The San Joaquin Valley operation notes citrus volume in California is slightly up compared to the 2021/22 citrus season, while Florida’s harvest is down substantially.

While Florida Department of Agriculture’s early estimates of the total crop damage for the state’s citrus region totaled over 80% of acres impacted, because Florida produces a very small segment of the overall fresh citrus market, Bee Sweet Citrus believes Florida’s hurricane impact will have a minimal effect on the California shipments.

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New Report: Potato Consumption is Not Associated with Cardiometabolic Health Outcomes

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Potatoes are a nutrient-rich vegetable and one of the top sources of potassium in Americans’ diets, yet they are often singled out as a food to limit.

This recommendation is often based on misperceptions that eating potatoes is linked to increased cardiometabolic disease risk, even though potatoes contribute to overall fruit and vegetable consumption. However, a newly published study in the Journal of Nutritional Science finds that advice may be unwarranted.

Researchers at Boston University examined the impact of potatoes as part of overall diet and lifestyle patterns on cardiometabolic disease risk. They found no change in cardiometabolic risk factors associated with intake of either fried or non-fried potatoes in adults from the long-running Framingham Offspring cohort.

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Chilean Blueberry Exports Forecast to be Down 8 %

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The Chilean Blueberry Committee, together with the consulting firm iQonsulting, have estimated a volume of 98,228 tons of fresh blueberries from Chile for the 2022-2023 season.  Small shipments to the U.S. market have already begun and will continue through February.

Volume estimated for the 2022/23 season has declined eight percent from last year.  This has resulted primarily from the Chilean blueberry industry’s intense focus on providing only the best quality blueberries to its export markets.  The industry is undergoing extensive variety renewal, with some varieties being shifted into frozen exports and other industrial uses. At the same time, growers are planting new varieties with better post-harvest conditions that will allow the fruit to arrive with the full flavor and sweetness characteristic of Chilean blueberries.

The U.S. continues to be Chile’s main market for fresh blueberries, receiving 54% of total volume.  It is followed by Europe with 34%, Asia with 11% and the remaining 2% within the Middle East and Latin America.  Chile ships 75% of all fresh organic blueberries to the U.S.  During the 2021/22 season, 22% of all blueberries shipped to the U.S. were organic, and 78% conventional.

With peak arrivals expected around the last week of December/first week of January, the U.S. marketing team is working with retail chains large and small to design programs that will drive Chilean blueberry sales.  Trade promotions will commence by early January and continue through February.

States Andres Armstrong, Executive Director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, “Our #1 priority is delivering the highest quality blueberries to our international markets.  Planting and exporting the right varieties is key, but the industry is also strengthening logistics through new programs like the Blueberry Express. This service will begin in Week 49 and continue throughout the 2022-23 season, with less than 2 weeks transit time to the U.S. market.  It guarantees the maintenance of the cold chain, which is crucial for protecting fruit quality.”

The industry anticipates better conditions for the export of fresh blueberries. Cooler temperatures have enhanced fruit quality, and there has been greater availability of labor for harvesting, packing and logistics operations, factors that made last season challenging.  

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November Florida Orange Estimate is 28M boxes, Down 30% from Last Season

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Total Florida orange production for 2022-2023 on Nov. 9 was forecast to be 28.0 million boxes. According to USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Board, this estimate is down 32 percent from last season’s final production. 

The total includes 11.0 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, and Navel varieties) and 17.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges. 

The Navel orange forecast, at 300,000 boxes, accounts for 3% of the non-Valencia total. 

The estimated number of bearing trees for all oranges is 44.0 million. 

The forecast for all Florida grapefruit production is carried forward from October at 2.00 million boxes, 40% less than last season’s utilization of 3.33 million boxes. The total is comprised of 1.80 million boxes of red grapefruit and 200,000 boxes of white grapefruit. 

The forecast for tangerine and tangelos is carried forward at 700,000 boxes, 7 percent less than last season’s utilization of 750,000 boxes. This forecast number includes all certified tangerine and tangelo varieties.

The USDA report notes that, on Sept. 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made its first U.S. landfall along the southwestern coast of Florida as a Category 4 storm. The storm traveled directly over four of the five largest citrus producing counties (Desoto, Highlands, Hardee, and Polk), at hurricane strength. The entire citrus area was inundated with heavy winds and excessive rainfall as it made its northeastward movement over the state. Normal grove operations were temporarily halted in all areas.  

The crop season began with harvesting of Navel and Hamlin oranges, red grapefruit, and Fallglo and Early Pride tangerines, primarily for the fresh market.

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Wishing You a Blessed Thanksgiving

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Remaining California Table Grape Loadings More in Line with Last Season

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While the amount of California grapes in storage on the West Coast was significnantly higher than the precious two seasons, the figure has now come down and is much closer to last year.

As of Oct. 31 there were 11.3 million boxes of inventories according to the USDA’s Grape Cold Storage Summary. This is up 8% from the 10.5 million boxes recorded at the same time last year. 

The figure is also down 17% from the 13.7 million boxes registered at the end of October in 2020. 

By contrast, at the end of September there were there were 10.9 million boxes in storage, which was up 18% over the figure recorded at the same point in the 2021 and 2020 seasons.

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