Archive For The “News” Category

Mucci Opens Phase 1 of Greenhouse Operation in Huron, Ohio

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A33By Mucci Farms

Huron, Ohio — Mucci Farms announces that they are officially harvesting out of Phase 1 of their 60-acre greenhouse facility in Huron, Ohio.  “After years of hard work and strategic planning, we’re excited to hit another milestone in the Mucci Farms story,” said Bert Mucci, CEO of Mucci Farms.

The entire 60-acre facility will be growing primarily Tomatoes On-the-Vine with some snack sized specialty tomatoes.  The company also announced that the entire 60-acres will be equipped with supplemental High Powered Sodium (HPS) lighting in order to grow through the winter months allowing them to harvest Ohio grown tomatoes 365 days per year.  “We chose tomatoes on-the-vine because of its high demand year round, particularly in the winter months,” said Joe Spano, Vice President of Sales & Marketing.  “With grow lights in the entire facility, it was important to have a product that was always in demand.”

Headquartered in Kingsville, Ontario, this is Mucci Farms’ first expansion into the United States, where the majority of their product is distributed.  “Expanding into Ohio allows us to reduce the food miles for our US retailers and gives US consumers their own locally grown vegetables,” explained Danny Mucci, President of Mucci International Marketing.  “With such a high volume of our product already being shipped to the US, expanding into Huron was strategically done to improve efficiencies with logistics and food safety.  Our proximity to market and avoiding a border crossing improves our opportunity to offer consumers with fresh, flavourful products with maximum shelf.” In addition to the remaining 36-acres of greenhouses being built in two remaining phases, Mucci Farms Ohio will include a 272,000 square foot distribution facility that will be operational this summer.  Harvesting from the final two phases will begin in the spring of 2019 and 2020.

Owning and Operating over 200-acres of tomato, pepper, cucumber, lettuce and strawberry greenhouses in Kingsville, Ontario, Mucci Farms also markets on behalf of 700-acres across the continent.

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ALC Logistics Announces Alchemy Brand

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ALCtkBy Allen Lund Company

La Cañada Flintridge Calif.: ALC Logistics, the software and LTL division of the Allen Lund Company has announced the consolidation of it’s full TMS offering, under the Alchemy brand.  It is a software and transportation solution for the shipping industry, with a focus on perishable freight.  ALC has been committed to the development of their TMS solution for years.  Under the guidance of CIO, Chetan Tandon, the product offering is especially geared to the produce and perishable industry, however, it also offers options to shippers of all sizes and commodities. “From the time I began my career with Allen Lund Company, I found that they were always forward thinking with regard to technology. We’ve recognized the need for automation in this industry and I’ve had the privilege to develop our software, Alchemy, to support our customers’ specific needs,” stated Chetan.  “We are consistently working on new features to make our customers business run as smoothly as possible.”

Alchemy incorporates shipper and carrier modules, freight audit and spot pricing options, load tendering, yard management, business intelligence reporting, and the most recent addition to Alchemy, dock scheduling. The evolution of the TMS through ALC Logistics now sets the standard for software solutions.

From Kenny Lund, VP ALC Logistics, “I am so pleased that we have a new name for our mature and stable transportation systems offering.  We have earned our reputation with our customers as a premier provider of software and expertise to help them move billions of dollars’ worth of freight supported by systems that give more visibility and cost controls.  We want the Alchemy brand to represent the standard for high quality, adaptable transportation solutions.”

About ALC Logistics:

ALC Logistics has been providing transportation software solutions to shippers since 1994. Operating under the Allen Lund Company, LLC umbrella, ALC Logistics is a separate business entity located in Charlotte, NC.

About Allen Lund Company:

Specializing as a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices and over 470 employees, the Allen Lund Company works with shippers and carriers across the nation to arrange dry, refrigerated (specializing in produce), and flatbed freight; additionally, the Allen Lund Company has a logistics and software division, ALC Logistics, and an International Division licensed by the FMC as an OTI-NVOCC #019872NF.  If you are interested in joining the Allen Lund Company team, please click here.

Established in 1976, the Allen Lund Company was selected as the 2017 Supply & Demand Chain Executive, 2017 Food Logistics 100+ Top Software and Tech Provider, a 2016 Top IT Provider by Inbound Logistics, 2015 Coca-Cola Challenger Carrier of the Year, 2015 Top Private Company in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal, 2015 Top 100+ Software and Technology Providers, 2015 Top 100 Logistics IT Provider by Inbound Logistics, a 2014 Great Supply Chain Partner, and was placed in Transport Topics’ “2014 Top 25 Freight Brokerage Firms.”  The company manages over 365,000 loads annually in 2015, and received the 2013 “Best in Cargo Security Award.”  In 2011 the company received the TIA 3PL Samaritan Award, and the NASTC (National Association of Small Trucking Companies) named Allen Lund Company the 2010 Best Broker of the Year. More information is available at

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Truck Shortage Results in Lost Business for Red Potato Shippers

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DSCN0802By Ted Kreis – NPPGA Communications

Truck shortage cause shippers lost sales.

Marketers in the Red River Valley held the base price for #1 size A reds at or above $15 per hundredweight (cwt.) from September through February but a chain of events this spring sent the market on a big decline with some loads being sold as low as $8.00 per cwt. in mid-April.  That is a 14-year low.

  1. 1. Big Crop – The Red River Valley had a big red potato crop, perhaps the largest since the 1970’s. Shippers knew it would be a challenge, but there was hope it may turn out okay like another big crop year, 2015-16.  But one key event happened that year that baled the Red River Valley out; a crop disaster in Florida.  That didn’t happen this year.  With both regions having a large red crop, the late winter market became very competitive.

2. Transportation Shortage –  There is a well-documented shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. for various reason. Areas outside busy shipping lanes, like us here in the Red River Valley, have been hit particulary hard.  Finding trucks to move loads out of the valley has been exasperated by this year’s big crop.

3. Lost Business – Because of the inability to get trucks earlier in the season, ads with large retailers had to be turned down because shippers could not promise on-time deliveries.  Multi-load sales opportunities for Thanksgiving and Christmas ads were lost.   This likely led to the loss of return business for the remainder of the season.   Retailers began running fewer red potato ads; statistics from AMS’s National Retail Report confirm this.   A year ago, grocery retailers ran 96,201 red potato ads nationwide from October through February.  This year they ran only 68,019, a 29 percent decline, or the loss of over 28,000 promotions!

The Northern Plains of North Dakota and Minnesota is the 3rd largest potato growing region in the country. Over 250 growers produce over 40 million hundredweight of potatoes a year. The region is the home of famous Red River Valley Red Potatoes, three french fry plants, two potato chip plants, several refrigerated product producers, and over 60 certified seed growers.

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US Apples Hit with 20% Retaliatory Tariff In Mexico Trade Spat

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A37By the Washington Apple Commission

Wenatchee, Washington State, USA – In response to the Trump Administration’s tariffs on aluminum and steel, Mexico has announced effective immediately imports of apples from the U.S. would be subject to a retaliatory tariff of 20 percent.  Under WTO rules, countries hit with unilateral tariffs are allowed to levy tariffs equivalent to the amount of injury.  Apples are just one item on the list of U.S. products that Mexico is targeting.

Washington State, home to over 1,300 apple growers, is the source of almost all apple exports to Mexico.  The state produces approximately 65 percent of all apples grown in the US and over 90 percent of U.S. fresh apple exports.  Mexico is the top export market for Washington apples, and during the 2016-17 season Washington growers shipped 13.7 million 40 lb. bushel cartons valued at more than $215 million to the market.  During the current season, shipments have been ahead of last season by 13 percent and were on track to exceed 15 million bushels, worth an estimated $241.8 million.  This new tariff now puts that goal in doubt.

“Any tariff is clearly going to have economic impact to our industry – especially when you consider its cumulative effect along with the tariffs imposed by China and expected within the next few weeks from India, also major Washington apple export markets, in retaliation to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs” stated Todd Fryhover, the President of the Washington Apple Commission.  “The economic impact to individual growers will vary depending on the strategic importance of Mexico to their sales, but collectively Washington apple growers will see a decrease in what they are paid for their crop due to the 20 percent duty.”

The Washington Apple Commission is the international marketing arm of the Washington apple industry and conducts promotions in foreign markets to drive consumer demand for apples from Washington State, USA.  Washington Apple Commission provides promotional support to international retailers, wholesalers and importers with innovative marketing programs and activities to grow consumer awareness and brand loyalty.

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Two Unique Items are Coming Your Way: Chocolate Peppers and Tree Tomatoes

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Chocolate Peppers from Canada and tree tomatoes from Equador are two unique items coming to America!

by Zing! Healthy Foods

Leamington, ON – As summer approaches and people are entertaining more, why not impress your guests with a healthy dose of chocolate?  Chocolate Bell Peppers that is.  Zing! Healthy Foods has a great line up of specialty peppers, but the most unique is the Chocolate Bell.

“It’s not something you see every day in the produce aisle,” said Jordan Kniaziew, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Zing! Healthy Foods.  “We are trying to turn more people on to this variety to add some Zing! to their meals and snacks.”

Zing! Healthy Foods gourmet Chocolate Bell Peppers are remarkable and sweet.  The flesh inside is crisper and sweeter than a traditional bell pepper.

“Any pepper that looks so different from your classic bell pepper colours should have a unique taste and flavour profile.  This pepper doesn’t disappoint,” adds Jordan.  “The sweet taste and deep colour is ideal for those adventurous foodies who want to impress their guests with something unexpected.”

About Zing! Healthy Foods

Zing! Healthy Foods is brought to you by Orangeline Farms, an award-winning, boutique grower of specialty greenhouse products. The family-oriented business operates year-round in Leamington, Ontario. They are committed to promoting active living and delivering healthy, nutritious produce to our communities.

Tree Tomatoes


Washington, D.C.  – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will allow fresh tree tomatoes from Ecuador into the continental United States.  After careful analysis, APHIS scientists determined that tree tomatoes can be safely imported under a systems approach. 

A systems approach is a series of measures taken by growers, packers, and shippers that, in combination, minimize pest risks prior to importation into the United States.  In this case, the systems approach requires the importation of commercial shipments only, orchard pest control, post-harvest safeguards, registration of orchards and packinghouses, and shipment identification. A phytosanitary certificate must also accompany each shipment stating that it meets these conditions.

This rule will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, or on July 5, 2018.

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Consumer Demand for Fresh Fruit Drives Increases Across the Board

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A4by Travis Minor and Agnes Perez, USDA ERS

Fresh fruit availability, production, and imports are increasing. However, rather than seeing increased supply lead to depressed prices, strong consumer demand appears to be supporting healthy growth in the prices of fruit commodities as availability grows, according to ERS’s annual update of the Fruit and Tree Nut Yearbook.

Decade averages show fresh fruit per capita availability increased by 21 percent over the past 40 years, from around 90 pounds in the 1980s to 110 pounds between 2000 and 2016. The opposite trend is seen in processed fruit and fruit-for-juice per capita availability, which has slowly declined over the decades. Since their relative peaks in the 1980s, availabilities for both processed fruit and fruit for juice have declined approximately 26 percent, to 29 and 88 pounds per person, respectively.

Domestic juice, processed, and even fresh-citrus production has been steady or slightly trending down since the 1980s. The growth through the mid-1990s was mainly driven by oranges for processing, traditionally around 50 percent, but falling to 35-40 percent in the most recent years. Citrus bearing acreage, mainly for processing, has been declining in Florida (focused mostly on the citrus processing sector) due to disease pressure (most notably citrus greening) and hurricane impacts.

Over the same period, domestic production of fresh fruits, primarily driven by non-citrus production, has been modestly increasing, suggesting that the market may be shifting from processed to fresh preparations. Citrus bearing acres are also declining in California, which dominates U.S. fresh market citrus production, where some producers are switching to higher value crops, including tree nuts such as almonds.

Trade plays an increasingly important part in both fresh and processed fruit markets. The United States imports more fresh and processed fruit than it exports. In 1980, fresh fruit imports were 27 percent of domestic availability, and processed fruit (excluding wine) imports were about 9 percent of domestic availability. By 2016, the import share of domestic availability nearly doubled, to over 53 percent, for fresh fruits and rose nearly fivefold, to 44 percent, for all processed fruits.

Growth in both markets is partially explained by two phenomena. First, growth in counter-seasonal imports has expanded as southern hemisphere trade partners like Chile have become more export-oriented to satisfy U.S. consumer demand for year-round availability of popular fruits. Second, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened up trade with Mexico, a significant U.S. supplier of fresh fruit. However, across all markets, strong, steady growth is observed even before the mid-90s, reflecting the long-term global trend of expanded agricultural trade. The export market for fruits, which may have been similarly impacted by NAFTA, has grown at a slower pace.

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Glut of California Strawberry Shipments has Some Fruit on Consignment

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DSCN0638Strawberry shipments along with mixed vegetables are showing significant increases from the Salinas Valley, including Watsonville, as truck rates to many destinations had double digit increases.  Also, consignment loads should be a concern to truckers.

While Ventura County strawberry shipments are just about finished, Santa Maria and Salinas were providing most of the strawberry volume during the past week.  However, Santa Maria is entering a seasonal decline, while Salinas is just heating up.  For example, between Salinas and Santa Maria this past week over 1700 truck loads of strawberries were shipped.  In the weeks ahead it will the Watsonville area that takes over berry volume.

In the coming weeks California truck rates on produce will be interesting to watch.  In recent days, some truck rates from Salinas to New York City were hitting $9000.

Strawberry shippers are complaining about too much strawberry volume and low prices at shipping.  However, this writer has yet to see significant drops in strawberry prices at his local Wal Mart.

The situation regarding a glut of strawberries is so bad, it could mean trouble for produce truckers hauling the fruit.  Some berries are being sold on consignment.  In other words, product is being shipped in hopes of finding a buyer while it is in transit.  Some product that normally would be sold on the fresh market is going to the processors.

If you are hauling a load of strawberries that are on consignment, be aware you maybe pressured to change your destination if a buyer is found in another city.  Too often, extra miles are added to a trip without adequate compensation for the additional miles being offered.

The USDA reports total shipments of strawberries from all origins for the week of May 6 – 12 totaled 77.9 million pounds, up 31 percent from 59.5 million pounds the same week a year ago.

California strawberry shipments accounted for nearly 99 percent of all commercial shipments, with light volume from Mexico and North Carolina.

California’s shipments of 76.8 million pounds the week of May 6-12 were up 31 percent compared with a year ago, when the state shipped 58.6 million cartons.  California’s loadings of organic strawberries the week of May 6-12 totaled 6.2 million pounds, up 20 percent from 5.2 million pounds the same week a year ago.

California strawberry volume for the fresh market of 9.568 million trays the week of May 6-May 12 was up from a previous projection of 7 million trays for that week.

Through May 12, season-to-date shipments (conventional and organic) of California strawberries totaled 55.01 million trays, down slightly from 56.7 million trays last year at the same time and 57.7 million two years ago.


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Organic fresh produce sales reach nearly $5 billion in 2017

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A33Organic fresh produce items reached almost $5 billion in 2017, an 8 percent increase from the previous year, according to data released by the Organic Produce Network and Nielsen.  Overall, nearly 2 billion pounds of organic produce were sold in grocery stores last year, a 10 percent volume increase from 2016.

Partnering with Nielsen, OPN’s review of 2017 organic fresh produce sales at retail stores across the United States shows dollar sales of organic fresh vegetables were $2.4 billion, while organic fresh fruit sales topped $1.6 billion. Nearly $1 billion in organic value-added produce items brought total sales to $4.8 billion in 2017.

Sales of organic fruit volume and dollar sales were up 12.6 percent from 2016 to 2017, while organic fresh vegetable sales showed a 4 percent increase in dollar sales and a 6 percent increase in overall volume. Organic packaged salad was again the leading organic fresh produce item sold last year, approaching $1 billion in sales. Packaged salad still accounts for one in five organic dollars, but the 2.3 percent growth rate was below the department average.

Organic fruits led the growth with a 23 percent increase in organic berry volume sales.  Not far behind was the growth of bananas and apples.  Organic berry sales, which include strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, topped $586 million in 2017, with volume up 22 percent from last year.  Organic apple and banana volume increased 11 and 17.5 percent respectively last year, while the average retail prices for each category down 8 and 3 percent.

“What’s most impressive about these two categories is the growth they were able to achieve in organic despite stagnant or declining conventional fresh produce sales. This also highlights that even the most mature categories have opportunity to grow the consumer base and sales through an organic offering,” said Matt Seeley, co-founder and chief executive officer of Organic Produce Network.   “Not many product groups can claim double-digit growth in today’s competitive environment, which reinforces the power and importance of organic produce.”

Rounding out the top five was double-digit growth from organic fresh produce beverages and the herb and spices segment.

“Potatoes, grapes and citrus all rank in the top 10 for conventional sales but fail to crack the top 10 in organic sales, which shows that some categories still have opportunity for an increased market presence, said Matt Lally, an associate director at Nielsen. “Understanding and setting pricing strategies between conventional and organic varieties is critical for success. People will pay a premium for organic, but at some point, they will trade to conventional or out of the category all together.”


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Billy the Kid Onions to be Marketed by L&M

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A12By L&M

Billy the Kid Produce, LLC in Deming, NM has entered an agreement with L&M to be their exclusive onion marketer. Both Billy the Kid and L&M are family-owned businesses with strong values and a shared focus on excellent quality and customer service.

“We are honored to be working together with Billy and the Franzoy family to service our customers and help them grow their businesses. Over the years, the Franzoys have made impressive investments in their operation. The scale and progressive nature of their culture made it a natural fit for L&M,” said John Oxford, President & CEO of L&M.

Billy the Kid operates a state-of-the-art facility within 20 miles of all of their onion fields. The packing facility boasts over 100,000 square feet with photo optic sizers and robotic palletizers that ensure maximum efficiency and consistency in sizing, sorting, and stacking.

Billy the Kid will grow approximately 700 acres of onions this season, beginning harvest in late May and continuing through mid-August.

“Our new partnership with Billy the Kid fits very well with L&M’s onion program. Our California crop wraps up at the end of May and we begin harvest on our Kansas crop in mid-August. This partnership will allow for a seamless transition and an uninterrupted supply of quality onions for our customers,” said Derek Ennis, L&M’s Potato & Onion Sales Manager.

“We’re excited to be working with L&M and look forward to a long future together,” said Billy Franzoy, Billy the Kid’s founder and a grower for the partnership.

“For the past 30 years I have represented my family to the onion industry. My decision to step out of onion sales was driven by the fact that I need to spend more time focused on the growth of the Hatch Chile Factory,” said Chris Franzoy, President & CEO, Young Guns. “The decision to hand over the onion marketing reins to L&M was an easy one to make. They have a great track record and are leaders in the industry. I’m very excited for both L&M and Billy the Kid, and I know for a fact there is no better company to represent my family,” he continued.

L&M is a grower and shipper of fresh fruits and vegetables with more than 54 years in the industry, specializing in potatoes & onions; Eastern & Mexican vegetables; and apples, pears & cherries.

Formed by Billy Franzoy, Billy the Kid Produce has been growing onions since the 1970’s. Today – along with his 4 sons – this 4th generation farming family has become a preeminent onion grower in New Mexico.

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San Francisco Market Changes Name, Look; Calilfornia Stone Fruit Shipments Start

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A4The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market has shortened its name to The SF Market.  It also is rebranding with a new look to highlight the market’s role in the Bay Area’s food economy.  The market’s 31 produce vendors include wholesalers, distributors and online grocery delivery companies, according to a news release.

The rebranding effort comes as the market has signed a 60-year lease with the City of San Francisco and recognition as a historic asset by San Francisco’s Legacy Business Registry.  The SF Market name and logo, developed by Trinity Brand Group, will be on the market’s website, on market signage and on merchant trucks, according to the release.

“With its innovative track record of helping food businesses grow at every stage and size, The SF Market has played an instrumental role in how the Bay Area has evolved into a leading food destination,” Matthew Youngblood, co-founder of Trinity Brand Group, said in the release.

“We have been thrilled to have the expertise of Trinity Brand Group behind us as we took this important step to rebrand our organization,” Larry Brucia, president of the board of directors, said in the release. “Through our collaboration with Trinity and the roll-out of our new look, our goal is to increase awareness of the enormous positive impact of The SF Market and to connect with food purveyors and the community in a bigger, better and more meaningful way than ever before.”

The SF Market is currently working on a $96 million reinvestment project to upgrade and expand the facility in Bayview-Hunters Point, including an 80,000-square-foot building, according to the release.

Stone Fruit Shipments

California stone fruit shipments have just got underway, with a later and lighter start.

Giumarra Cos. office in Reedley, CA, started harvesting white and yellow peaches and yellow nectarines this past week.  The company plans to begin its white nectarines and apricots new week, followed by plums a few days later.

Simonian Fruit Co. of Fowler, CA kicks off  its stone fruit season about May 20th, about a week later than normal.

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