Archive For The “News” Category

Hispanic Conumers Lead in Avocado Consumption

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avocadoGirlIt’s no surprise Hispanics are avocado buyers, but a recent Hass Avocado Board study shows that even as consumption of the fruit has risen in many demographic groups, Hispanic consumers continue to outpace others in many areas.

The study, Hispanic Avocado Shopper Trends,  and a companion document giving retailers ideas on how to capitalize on the findings, Hispanic Avocado Shoppers Trends Action Guide, is based on retail data from the IRI Consumer Network, according to a news release.

Hispanic household purchase trends of avocados outpace non-Hispanic households in these areas:

  • The percentage of total U.S. households that buy avocados
  • The average avocado spend per household; and
  • The percentage of households that buy avocados at the “super” level ($25.36 and more a year)

“Hass avocados are continuing to gain widespread popularity,” Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board, said in the release. “And this study shows that Hispanic households are particularly involved in the avocado category and play an important role in its growth.”

In 2017, Hispanic household avocado purchases averaged $33, 45 percent more than the $22.69 spent by non-Hispanic households, according to the release, and average per-trip purchases were $4.46, compared to $3.83 for non-Hispanic households.

The Hispanic “super households” (the HAB breaks down purchase levels into super, heavy, medium and light) are the main reason for the gap between their purchases and non-Hispanic households, with 36 percent of them in the super category, versus 24 percent of non-Hispanic households meeting that level.

Hass Avocado Board is the essential online resource for the Hass Avocado industry providing timely relevant data and research for the domestic producers and importers it represents.

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Steady Progress at Index Fresh Pharr Facility Since Opening

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A333By Index Fresh

Riverside, C.A. — Since its opening on January 9, 2018, the Index Fresh facility in Pharr, TX, has seen steady progress and is rounding out support for the company’s operations across the United States. The leading avocado marketer broke ground on this 60,000 sq. ft. ripening, packing and distribution center just over a year ago in June.

“The bagging and repacking in the facility has increased in the last few months,” said Manrique Palacios, Distribution Center Manager of Index Fresh in Pharr.

With its proximity to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, the facility has been a great point of contact for Index Fresh expanding its Mexican program this year, said  Santiago Pacheco, VP of Operations at Index Fresh.

“Mexico is a year-round source and we bring all of our Mexican products through Pharr. It’s an integral part of our operation. We use it for staging, for shipping loads into the Midwest, Northeast, and the West.,” said Dana Thomas, President and CEO of Index Fresh.

Index Fresh is the first occupant in the Pharr Produce Park, a big step for Pharr’s economic development as construction of other facilities continue at the Produce Park.

The Index Fresh facility is equipped with 2600 pallet positions, 10 ripening rooms, and three bagging machines. “We are expecting our second Mexican season and complete our first year of operations. We are performing an analysis to enhance our bagging capacity for the next season and working on business development to expand our ripening volume in Texas and the Midwest,” said Palacios. “We are also open to offering 3PL services that include storage, ripening, bagging, and distribution to potential customers.”


Index Fresh is a worldwide marketer of avocados, sourcing from all major growing regions around the globe, including California, Mexico, Peru, and Chile.  Headquartered in California, the company has facilities spread across Texas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, and Illinois. Early this year, Index Fresh also started operations at its new packing, bagging, and ripening facility in Pharr, TX.

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Shipping Trends from the Red River Valley, Ohio and Wisconsin

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DSCN0821Here’s a preview of Red River Valley potato plantings for product that will start shipping in late summer….Also, Mastrondardi Produce has opened another greenhouse operation….In Wisconsin, shipper is now distributing Badger State grown celery in the mid-west.

The USDA recently reports slightly fewer potatoes planted in North Dakota this as acres declined from 75,000 in 2017 to 74,000 acres this year.  The report shows more russets and fewer red potatoes were planted in North Dakota.  In 2017 reds accounted for 27 percent of the potato acres, in 2018 that fell to 18 percent.  Meanwhile russet acres jumped from 37 to 44 percent. White and yellow potato acres remained relatively steady at 36 and 2 percent respectively.

In Minnesota, the USDA reported 46,000 acres of potatoes planted, 2,000 fewer than last year.  Unlike North Dakota, there was little change in the potato type percentages.  Russets made up 69percent of the Minnesota potato crop, the same as last year. Next were reds at 19 percent (down 1 percent), whites steady at 10 percent and yellows moving from 1 to 2 percent.

Ohio Greenhouse

Mastronardi Produce is opening a sixth greenhouse in the U.S., with a 20-acre facility in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

The farm, known as The Ohio Greenhouse Company, will operate year-round, growing Sunset-brand products for shipment to  retailers in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Mastronardi Produce grows on more than 4,000 acres. The new Ohio farm gives the company the ability to triple the acreage there.

Wisconsin Shipping Celery

By Alsum Produce

Markesan, Wisconsin — Alsum Farms & Produce grower partner, Trembling Prairie Farms Inc. started harvesting  Wisconsin celery July 16th with the season expected to go through the first week of October.  Fields are located in the muck soils of Green Lake County.

In 2012, Trembling Prairie Farms started with 3 acres of celery and today has expanded to over 45 acres. The farm starts with a Midwestern selected celery variety that grows extremely well in the Wisconsin climate.

The process of growing celery starts in local greenhouses in late February to early April and is then transplanted in 12 different plantings. Celery planting in the muck soil begins on May 1 with the goal of the last planting to be in the ground by July 1.


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Funding is Approved to Expand Mariposa Road in Nogales

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A33By Fresh Produce Association of the Americas

Nogales, AZ — The Arizona State Transportation Board announced they will fund the full build-out and expansion of State Route 189 (Mariposa Road) to the tune of $134 million.  SR 189, is the main thoroughfare for trucks crossing the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales and heading northbound on I-19 to area warehouses.

The full-funding announcement is a revision from earlier budget commitments to complete the work in two phases over the course of several years.  The funding package also leverages state, federal, and local funding that make up the entire $134 million price tag.

“The road improvement should speed roundtrip delivery from the port of entry to some warehouses by 20 minutes or more per truck, giving companies a valuable incentive to locate their operations in Nogales,” said Lance Jungmeyer, Fresh Produce Association of  the Americas president (FPAA).

“This is the culmination of many years of hard work in unifying support from groups across Arizona about this important roadway,” Jungmeyer said.  “From Flagstaff to Phoenix to Tucson, communities were all talking about the importance of funding this much-needed expansion. We are always looking for ways to speed up the produce superhighway that is Nogales, and this funding is an important step in our continued success.”

Nogales and Santa Cruz County are committing approximately $45 million over the course of several years from their share of a fee paid by produce trucks crossing the border. The State Legislature committed $25 million of general fund money to this project. The road is also recognized as vital on a Federal level as well as evidenced by the investment of $25 million for the project through the award of a Federal Tiger Grant.

The project will fund important enhancements to the entire length of SR 189 and will also construct a flyover ramp connecting SR 189 to I-19, which eliminates stoplights and left-hand turns that currently hamper movement of heavy trucks onto the interstate.  The project is also designed as a crucial safety measure by separating the ingress and egress of local high school traffic from the intersection where it meets with the commercial traffic on SR 189.  The project has been fast-tracked to begin in 2019.

Added Jungmeyer, “SR 189 is the artery that drives our economy by facilitating the movement of trucks and passengers into and out of Arizona, and we are excited about the positive benefits this will bring to our members in the form of faster, safer, more reliable deliveries to their warehouses. Ultimately this will be a major win for our customers and the end consumers because we will have faster deliveries of the fresh, high-quality produce that is synonymous with Nogales.”

About the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas:

The FPAA is a nonprofit trade association headquartered in Nogales, Arizona, that represents over 120 U.S. member companies involved in growing, packing, sales and transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Mexico. Produce from Mexico accounts for approximately 37 percent of fruit and vegetable consumption in the U.S. during the winter months.  The Mariposa Port of Entry located in Nogales is the largest port of entry for fresh produce imported into the U.S. from Mexico.

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Study Shows Fresh Categories Drive Almost 50% of Dollar Growth

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A98Fresh categories are driving nearly 49 percent of all dollar growth across fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), according to Nielsen’s latest Total Consumer Report, with fresh and perishable foods accounting more than $177 billion in sales.

Although fresh categories are performing well in Retail stores, the sector still has some room for improvement, according to the June 2018 report.

Some findings include:

  • Ecommerce is still maturing within food and beverage, but fresh perishables are an opportunity in stores today. Amazon and Whole Foods merged a year ago, and ecommerce within grocery continues to grow, but is still maturing. During the past year, online food and beverage sales represented 13 percent of the overall dollar volume seen online. Fresh and perishable foods generated sales nearly 14 times as high as all online food and beverage sales this year.
  • On-the-go fresh produce fails to keep pace with clean snacking.  Americans  are not rushing to on-the-go fresh produce opportunities although they rank eating more fruits and vegetables as the top factor for healthy eating. They often prefer other snack options. On-the-go fresh produce — pre-cut produce that has been portioned intentionally for snacking purposes — declined by nearly 2 percent in dollars and 6 percent in unit volume over the past year.  On the flip side, salty snacks are proof that consumers are seeking indulgence in their snacking purchases, too, as sales grew nearly $1 billion year over year.  Still, clean-label products represented more than 35 percent of salty snack dollars in the past year.

In the battle of the burgers, frozen is still winning, but fresh is catching up; meanwhile, alternative protein growth remains strong.   Frozen patties are still the staple in the burger category, as frozen meat-based burgers have seen 2 percent dollar growth from last year.  However, fresh meat burger patties (up 8 percent) and prepared burgers from the deli section (up 15 percent) are both growing and asserting their importance to the future of the category.  Within the past year, sales of alternative-protein burgers have experienced dollar sales growth of nearly 21 percent.  However, alternative-protein burgers represent just 6 percent of the overall burger category. Despite this, frozen alternative-protein burgers grew 17 percent year over year, which highlights an area for potential expansion.

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A Big New Spud for Next Tour of Big Idaho Potato Truck

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A4By Idaho Potato Commission

EAGLE, ID  – With much anticipation the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) unveiled Big Idaho® Potato 2.0. Weighing in at 4 tons, the fiberglass potato is just as impressive as the original, but with a few subtle differences. While the Truck is still 28 feet long and 11.5 feet high, it’s a little trimmer in the middle (10 feet wide), and two tons lighter so it can travel to more places.

When folks saw the original potato, the most commonly asked question was, “Is it real?” There’s no doubt the Tater Team (the Truck’s traveling trio), will continue to be asked that same question. If the potato was real, it would…

  • Be the equivalent of 21,562 medium-size potatoes
  • Make 20,217 servings of mashed potatoes
  • Make close to 1 million French fries
  • Take nearly 7,000 years to grow
  • Take about 2 years to bake

The Big Idaho® Potato Truck originally launched in 2012 in celebration of the IPC’s 75th anniversary and was supposed to be on the road for just one year. Instead, it became an instant success from coast-to-coast and a part of pop culture. After traveling 155,000 miles, visiting more than 7,200 cities and being included in more selfies than we’ll ever be able to count, the original potato became too road worn to travel and is now retired in its home state of Idaho.   During its seven years on the road, the Truck did some pretty cool things!

  • Traveled on a barge around New York Harbor passing by the Statue of Liberty and going under the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Took a lap on a NASCAR track in the Poconos
  • Appeared in many iconic parades including the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Parade, the SeaFair Festival Parade in Seattle and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Parade in Canton, OH
  • Visited NASA in Houston where an astronaut did the “moon walk” on the big potato and declared America now has its own “Spud-nick”!
  • Helped fulfill a Make-A-Wish dream for a Virginia boy born with a rare form of dwarfism
  • And starred in the IPC’s popular nationally-televised commercials!

The original potato was donated to Kristie Wolfe, a former Tater Team member, who is in the process of turning it into a tiny house in Idaho.  And, if it’s anything like her other tiny houses – a Hobbit Inn in Washington state, a treehouse in Hawaii and a reclaimed Forest Service Lookout in Idaho – it will be a sight to see! Follow the transformation on Instagram @bigidahopotatohotel.   The Big Idaho® Potato Truck’s charity component, A Big Helping – Idaho Potatoes Supporting Local Causes Nationwide, will continue. In many of the markets the Truck visits, it works with local charities to help raise funds and awareness about the organization or the important cause it supports. In 2017 the Truck donated $500 each to 32 charities across the country.

To see when the Big Idaho® Potato Truck will be in your neck of the woods visit

About The Idaho Potato Commission

Established in 1937, the IPC is a state agency responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho®” seal, a federally registered certification mark that assures consumers are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation, and rich volcanic soil give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance, which differentiates them from potatoes grown in other states.


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Dragon Fruit, Turmeric, Jackfruit are Among Specialties Gaining Popularity

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DragonFruitAmong specialty  produce items gaining in popularity with U.S. consumers are Asian vegetables and tropical items.

“What is interesting about the specialty category is the crossover between the products and which category they fall into,” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager for Frieda’s, based in Los Alamitos, CA, who recently appeared in a feature in the trade publication The Packer.

“Many fruit items that are popular in the Asian culture are also common in the Latin culture, like  dragon fruit (photograph), lychee, rambutan, jackfruit and mangosteen.

“The Asian vegetable category has taken off as many people are becoming more familiar with the items through Asian restaurants,” Jackson Berkley said in The Packer.

“Retailers are looking to compete with the big Asian retailers by bringing in a variety of Asian items at a low retail price. This is going beyond bok choy and napa cabbage. Items like bittermelon, Chinese okra, gai lan and Chinese long beans are more common in the retail (setting).”

World Variety Produce of Los Angeles, which markets under the Melissa’s brand, has seen increasing interest in turmeric, petite baby bok choy and petite Shanghai bok choy, among other Asian items, while jackfruit continues on an upward trajectory despite its massive size.

“The trendiest fruit of them all in the category of tropicals is definitely the jackfruit,” Robert Schueller of Melissa’s added in The Packer article. “It has so much potential.”

“The only problem with the jackfruit and why not every retailer is carrying it is because it’s the largest of all fruit,” Schueller said. “These fruits are typically at least 12 pounds, but on average they are around 20 pounds.”

When the retail price is $2-3 per pound, jackfruit quickly becomes quite pricey.

“It’s a value when it’s per pound, but the thing is that retailers don’t want to deal with cutting it up because there’s a whole art to doing that … It would be considered kind of a tricky fruit to handle,” Schueller said.

Jackson Berkley also noted turmeric and jackfruit as growth items, particularly due to the plant-based eating trend.

Schueller attributed much of the buzz around jackfruit to its use among vegans as a meat substitute.

Both Jackson Berkley and Schueller mentioned dragon fruit has been a hot item as well.

HLB Specialities of Fort Lauderdale, FL report papayas and rambutan are best-sellers for the company, with rambutan experiencing the most growth since HLB began offering it three years ago.

Ecoripe Tropicals of Medley, FL points out rambutan, dragon fruit, durian, longan, lychee, mangosteen and soursop are among the items drawing the most interest for the company.


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New Jersey Vegetable Shipments are Looking Good

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DSCN0801As New Jersey vegetable shipments get underway, here is a look at last season’s volume to add some perspective as to what to expect this summer.

Bell peppers and tomatoes saw significant shipping increases in 2017, while sweet corn acreage was stable.

New Jersey’s top vegetables in 2017 were tomatoes, bell peppers and sweet corn, and total acreage for vegetable crops topped 35,000 acres.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports shipments for 18 vegetables tracked in New Jersey totaled 507.8 million pounds, with area harvested estimated at 35,100 acres.

2017 harvested vegetable acreage of 35,100 was up 1.4 percent from 2016, when 34,600 acres of vegetables were harvested.

According to the USDA, tomatoes, bell peppers and sweet corn together accounted for 51 percent of total vegetable production in the state.

The total value of utilized production in the state was $193.8 million, and tomatoes, bell peppers and sweet corn together accounted for 48 percent of the total.

Sweet Corn Shipments

  • Sweet corn topped all vegetable crops in terms of acreage, with 6,200 acres harvested in 2017, down slightly from 6,400 acres harvested in 2016.
  • Sweet corn production of 601,400 cwt. in 2017 compares to 595,000 cwt. in 2016, according to USDA statistics.
  • Value of sweet corn production in 2017 totaled $18.04 million, up from $17.29 million in 2016.

Tomato Shipments

  • Tomato harvested acreage in 2017 totaled 4,000 acres, up 38 percent from 2,900 acres harvested in 2016.
  • Production of tomatoes in 2017 totaled 1.12 million cwt., up 42 percent from 791,000 cwt. in 2016.
  • Value of tomatoes in New Jersey was $39.2 million in 2017, down from $46.3 million in 2016.

 Bell Pepper Shipments

  • Bell pepper harvested acreage in 2017 totaled 3,100 acres, up 34 percent from 2,300 acres in 2016.
  • Production of bell peppers in 2017 was 868,000 cwt., up from 633,000 cwt. in 2016.
  • Value of bell pepper production in 2017 was $35.9 million, up a whopping 80 pecent from $19.9 million in 2016.

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Nunes Co. Reignits Partnership with Brooke Shields

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BrookeThe Nunes Co. and reignited a partnership with well know actress, model and celebrity, Brooke Shields, which originally began in 1989.  Nunes is one of the nation’s largest grower-shippers of conventional and organic fresh produce marketed under the Foxy brand name.

The marketing campaign brings Shields back to the Nunes Co. as a role model and icon of wellness, fitness and healthy lifestyles. These value attributes are at the core of everything the company stands for in their efforts to encourage people of all ages to eat right and take care of their health.

The Nunes Co.’s rollout of this new marketing campaign is expected to commence this month and continue through June 2019. A series of outdoor billboards will appear in specific geographic areas in the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Great Lakes regions. The campaign will also include a matching trade advertising component to support the company’s efforts.

Long known for its creative approach to marketing, as evidenced by the countless clever billboards placed in specific geographic markets, The Nunes Co. plans to launch an outdoor billboard series to compliment the campaign. The billboards will be geared towards Millennial moms, Generation X, and Baby Boomers — audiences with which Shields has tremendous followings. According to Forbes, mothers account for nearly 80 percent of U.S. household purchases.

“Ms. Shields, being an active, working mom, is an ideal role model and brand ambassador for the Foxy brand,” said Mark Crossgrove, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Nunes Co.

Shields’ recent work surrounding health, fitness and beauty can be seen across various media outlets, including television shows like The Today Show, and print magazines like Vogue and Social Life magazine.

Having such a positive experience while working with Shields in 1989, the Nunes Co. felt this year was the right time to reengage such a public role model. The successful 1989 campaign featuring Shields is widely considered a legacy campaign in the fresh produce industry — one which people remember and still talk about 30 years later.

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Thomas Jefferson and Some of His Best Quotes — Happy Independence Day

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Remember our veterans who protect our Homeland as we celebrate our independence. Very thankful for their sacrifices and bravery.

On this 242nd birthday of our beloved country, here are some quotes from one of our greatest presidents. Have a great 4th of July!

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743  at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia, the third of 10 children. He was of English, and possibly Welsh, descent and was born a British subject. His father Peter Jefferson was a planter and surveyor who died when Jefferson was 14; his mother was Jane Randolph.

He was our 3rd president serving from 1801 – 1809.  Here are some of his best quotes.

“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe,

we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”


“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those  who

are willing to work and give to those who would not.”  


“It is incumbent on every generation  to pay its own debts as it goes.

A principle which if acted on, would save

one-half the wars of the world.”


“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the  labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them.”


“My reading of history convinces me that

most bad government  results from

too much government.”


“No free man shall ever be

debarred the use of arms.”


“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms  is,  as a last resort, to protect themselves  against tyranny in government.”


“The tree of liberty must  be refreshed from

time to time  with the  blood of patriots and tyrants.”


“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes,

the propagation of ideas which he  disbelieves  and abhors,

is  sinful and  tyrannical.”

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