Archive For The “News” Category

Superior Fruit to Expand Strawberry Farming, Shipping Operations in California

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dscn5995By Murray Wise Capital LLC

OXNARD, Calif. — Superior Fruit LLC has entered into an agreement with Eclipse Berry Farms LLC, advised by Murray Wise Capital LLC, to assume certain agricultural leases to expand its California strawberry growing operations.  Superior has been formed by Bobby Jones and his brother RC Jones, long-term California growers, and will begin farming operations in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Castroville, California.

Founded in the early 1990’s by Norman Gilfenbain and Robert Wiviott, Eclipse Berry Farms is one of the largest vertically integrated grower, packer, shipper, marketer and processors of fresh-picked strawberries.  Mr. Gilfenbain, who managed the day to day business of the Company until his death in 2013, started marketing produce under Eclipse’s Cal Fruit label in 1963.  Mr. Wiviott then succeeded Gilfenbain as the CEO of the Company until he passed away in January of this year.

According to Rudy Garza, President & CFO of Eclipse Berry Farms, “This transaction with Superior Fruit is the first step towards an orderly downsizing of the Company’s operations.  The management and employees of Eclipse look forward to working closely with Bobby and his team to ensure a smooth transition of these leases. At this time, Eclipse will continue growing, marketing and selling berries from Santa Maria, Castroville and Mexico and processing and marketing fruit from its Oxnard and Castroville facilities.”

Eclipse Berry Farms was advised on this transaction by Robert Marcus Esq., Chief Restructuring Officer for the Eclipse Berry Farms and Murray Wise Capital LLC as exclusive financial advisor.

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Eco Pack Unviels Next Generation of Transport Packaging

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EcoBy Eco Pack Systems

Eco Pack Systems, a groundbreaking maker of transport packaging, is rolling out its new low-weight container solution to the US market. The new container, which made its debut recently at the PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans, enables fully customizable point of purchase branding, dramatically reduces transportation costs and is made from food grade material. It maximizes food safety, reduces product spoilage and damage with maximum airflow control and is the most sustainable packaging solution available today.

The patented Eco Pack system consists of an easy-to-assemble plastic frame and two lightweight plastic sleeves that together create an economical, multipurpose, recyclable box. The frame has the same dimensions as standard paperboard cartons and plastic crates, and is suitable for palletizing. The bags are customized for specific commodity and product application, and designed for optimal ventilation, hygiene, food safety and waste reduction. There are currently multiple sizes with three base dimensions at several heights, plus a unique tray for bananas. Additional sizes can be produced upon request.  “The Eco Pack box is efficient, clean, has multiple uses and is recyclable. It’s perfect for fresh produce retailers, grower/shippers, exporters and other distributors and suppliers. We believe it provides a financially preferable alternative to the paperboard boxes and plastic crates now prevalent in the industry,” said Danny Bartal, CEO of Eco Pack Systems.

Benefits of the Eco Pack solution include:

  • Recyclable – 100% reusable packaging that can be recycled indefinitely
  • Weight – 50% less than similar cardboard or plastic packaging
  • Economical – 30%-70% lower cost than competing packaging systems, as the frame is reusable and only the recyclable sleeves need to be replaced
  • Hygienic – New, clean box every time, with an optional fully organic biodegradable sleeve
  • Green – Lower energy requirements for production and in transportation than any other solution
  • Versatile – Suitable for a wide variety of products, including fruit, vegetables, seafood, baked goods, dairy and fresh meat and poultry.
  • Customizable – Fully adaptable sleeves for a wide variety of merchandising applications.

About Eco Pack Systems

Founded in 2008, Eco Pack Systems is a privately held company that markets a unique, patented container solution to the extended retail supply chain. The solution offers users cleaner, greener and healthier transportation of fresh and processed foods at a reduced cost.

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New Warehouse Move To Cater To Growth Of TransKool Solutions

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DSCN0247By Allen Lund Company

La Canada Flintridge Calif. – TransKool Solutions, a joint venture with the Allen Lund Company and Santos International has moved its location into a new, larger 40,000 sq. ft. facility.

The new location will accommodate the growth of the company, providing a stronger local presence in Texas and a more flexible and accessible venue for its customers.

Commenting on the move, Eddie Lund, VP Sales & Branch Operations, said: “This new warehouse allows us to provide better customer service, be more diverse with our products, and allows us to grow.  We are excited about the expansion and the opportunities that are now available to TransKool.  We also want to thank our current customers who trusted us from the beginning and have made this possible.”

Established in 1949, Santos International is a leading international freight forwarding company providing warehousing and U.S. Customs brokerage services to industries across the U.S. and Mexico.  Allen Lund Company is a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices working with shippers and carriers across the nation to arrange for dry, refrigerated (specializing in produce), and flatbed freight.

Scott Fletcher, Manager of ALC Dallas office stated, “Our first year with TransKool was extremely successful from an operational standpoint though we learned that we needed additional accommodations to be more efficient during the peak seasons.  With our new facility we meet these goals and we also almost doubled the number of dock doors adding further efficiency.”

Carlos Santos of Santos International, also commented, “After a successful first year, we are excited to be moving into our brand new facility in McAllen, Texas.  With both a great location and a great design, we will be able to continue to offer a high quality of service that our customers have come to expect from us.”

TransKool Solutions provides a range of services from warehousing, transportation, and customs brokerage.

For more information about TransKool Solutions and its range of services, please visit

New Facility Address:

TransKool Solutions

6800 S. International Parkway

McAllen, TX 78503

About Allen Lund Company:

Specializing as a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices and over 450 employees, the Allen Lund Company works with shippers and carriers across the nation to arrange dry, refrigerated (specializing in produce), and flatbed freight. The Allen Lund Company arranges over 320,000 freight shipments annually. 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.

Established in 1976, the Allen Lund Company was selected as the 2017 Supply & Demand Chain Executive, 2017 FL100+ Top Software and Tech Provider, 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 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100, a 2014 Great Supply Chain Partner, and was placed in Transport Topics’ “2014 Top 25 Freight Brokerage Firms.”  The company also received the “Best in Cargo Security Award” in 2013.  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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NatureFresh Farms & Eminent Seeds NL Introduce the World’s Smallest Tomato

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TomatoBy NatureFresh Farms

Leamington, ON – This past PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans in October, NatureFresh Farms and Eminent Seeds NL reached a proprietary agreement within North America. NatureFresh Farms will exclusively grow and market Tomberry tomatoes in Canada, United States and Mexico. Jan van Heijningen, Director at Eminent Group, and John Ketler, Farm Manager at NatureFreshâ„¢ Farms, finalized the agreement during the tradeshow.

In spring of 2018 NatureFresh Farms will begin growing and commercially marketing this exciting new variety of tomato from its Leamington Ontario Greenhouse. Plans are to expand the production of the Tomberry tomato over the next few years, as the category grows to meet consumer demands for snacking tomatoes.

This past year NatureFresh Farms trial and development team has worked with Eminent NL Seeds to explore new tomato varieties that would fit the growing trend in the snacking category. Not only does the Tomberry deliver in flavor, it brings a new look and ingredient to the culinary world of food service. These attractive berries are very versatile in the use of salads, hot dishes, and visually appealing.  The World’s Smallest Tomato, The Tomberry tomato is about 0.5 to 1 cm in diameter with an average fruit weight of 1 to 2 grams, perfect for snacking.

“The Tomberry is unique in size and has caught the interest of our retail partners,”  explained Matt Quiring, Executive Retail Sales Manager.   “The snacking trend in North America has exploded and we continue to search for new items that will help grow our snacking category.  This pearl sized fruit’s unique size is something hard to miss and even more difficult to pass by without picking up.  Once a consumer tries them, we are confident that they will be coming back for more. Visually, it is candy to the eyes. From a sensory standpoint, we can back that up.”

Over the next few months, NatureFresh Farms will be developing packaging and branding for a launch scheduled in spring 2018.

About NatureFreshâ„¢ Farms –

NatureFresh Farms has grown to become one of the largest independent, vertically integrated greenhouse vegetable growers in North America growing operations in Leamington, ON and Delta. Family owned NatureFresh Farms ships Non-GMO greenhouse grown produce year-round to key retailers throughout North America.

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SeaLand’s Technology to Monitor Produce in Transit; CA Citrus Packing Acquisition

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Sealand-web-picRemote container management technology is being introduced by Sealand, providing exporters and importers the ability to monitor conditions of fruits and vegetables from inside the containers in which they are shipped.

SeaLand, Maersk Transport and Logistics division’s regional ocean carrier to the Americas, said in a news release the technology monitors temperature, humidity, oxygen levels and the location and ventilation of the containers in transit, whether on land or at sea.

“Moving fresh produce to and from markets in the Americas is an exciting and important business,” Sealand CEO Craig Mygatt said in the release. “Consumers today want access to fresh produce all year long. We’re making that possible whether it’s bananas and pineapples from Costa Rica and Panama to the U.S. or tropical and exotic fruits such as mangoes.

Porterville Citrus acquires packing operations of LoBue Citrus

Sunkist citrus shipments will increase this season, with a member of the cooperative acquiring another shipper.

Porterville Citrus of Terra Bella, CA is a Sunkist grower who has acquired the packing operations of LoBue Citrus of Lindsay, CA., according to a news release.

Under the terms, the LoBue family will continue to own and operate its 1,000-acre citrus farming operation.

“LoBue Citrus has a rich history in the industry, and we are pleased to be able to help them continue that legacy through our organization,” Jim Phillips, president of Porterville Citrus said. “The purchase also marks further growth for Porterville Citrus, positioning us for a strong season ahead.”

For the 2017-18 season, Porterville Citrus will integrate the LoBue Citrus packing facility in Lindsay into its operations and also add a large portion of the organization’s grower network. That will increase the navel orange, mandarin, lemon and specialty acreage of Porterville Citrus and the Sunkist cooperative as a whole”.

“It’s a great to start the season by adding more high quality volume to our mix,” Russ Hanlin, president and CEO of Sunkist Growers said.

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Supervalu Agrees to Acquire Associated Grocers of Florida

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DSCN0415A planned purchase of Associated Grocers of Florida for $180 million has been made by Supervalu.

AGF of Pompano Beach, serves independent retailers in South Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Asia, according to a news release.  The company generated $650 million in revenue in its fiscal year ending last July.

Associated Grocers will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Supervalu when the deal is complete.

“Associated Grocers represents a great opportunity for us to further expand our wholesale business into another important region,”  Mark Gross, president and CEO of Supervalu, said in the release.

The transaction has been approved by the board of directors of each company and is expected to close by the end of 2017.

Quarterly report

Supervalu generated $3.8 billion in net sales in the second quarter, up 35 percent from last year, according to a news release. The increase in sales came mostly on the wholesale side of the business, which saw a major increase in the wake of Supervalu’s acquisition of Unified Grocers, a move the company made last summer.

Supervalu reported a net loss from continuing operations of $25 million, partly due to costs of integrating Unified Grocers.

Gross profit was $428 million, or 11.3 percent of net sales, down from 14.1 percent last year. The company stated the decrease is mostly due to Supervalu shifting its business segment mix toward wholesale.

On the retail side, same-store sales were down 3.5 percent. Second-quarter retail sales were $1.02 billion, down 1.1 percent from last year.

“We continue to make tremendous strides in driving our strategy, evidenced by another quarter of strong growth from our core wholesale business which now represents over 70 percent of net sales,”  Gross said.  “Additionally, our results now include the benefit of Unified Grocers, where I’m pleased the transition is going well. We have a lot to be excited about as we turn our focus toward the back half of our fiscal year.”

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Fresh Produce will Drive Fruit, Vegetable Processing Growth, Study Says

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007By Market Research Hub

Albany, NY — Fruit and vegetable processing industry has taken a new direction and is growing gradually with strong growth rate annually.  Further factors such as rising consumer demand for fresh and healthy products that are easily available and need minimum preparation time are further fuelling the market growth. A new study, titled “Vegetables – U.S. – May 2017” has been freshly added to the vast repository of Market Research Hub (MRH), which analyzes the overall U.S. market current scenario of vegetables and fruits, along with consumer’s behavior which impacts the market positively.  This study is a result of qualitative and quantitative research techniques that aim to drill down to the exact factors that are driving growth, restraining growth and creating new opportunities for growth.

As per the findings of a new study, the vegetable category has experienced stable growth over the past few decades, driven primarily by fresh vegetables and fresh-cut salad. Health concerns are the prime factor which has driven demand for fruits and vegetables as consumers look for healthier and more nutritious options for their diets. The fresh-cut segment has been able to profit as consumers believe fresh-cut is the healthiest format for processed fruits and vegetables. In line with growing health awareness and changing demographics, demand for fruits and vegetables is expected to increase in the long term.

Within the United States, fruit and vegetable production is a major business enterprise and mostly, it focuses on processed fruits and vegetables. Currently, this segment continues to make up a significant share of total fruit and vegetable consumption in the United States. Several types of processing such as drying, canning, freezing, and preparation of jams, juices, and jellies augment the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The research finds that Vegetable sales grow 13% from 2011-16. As technology improved and consumer incomes increased, it became possible to provide fresh produce year-round. Factors such as income, aging of a population, market promotion, and consumer awareness of the importance of produce, contribute to increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

American consumers now expect fresh tomatoes, strawberries, and sweet corn every month of the year. In addition, a strong demand remains for processed fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been shown to be an important part of any diet leading towards good health. As per the research study findings, consumers indicate more interest in vegetables that are fresh, nutritious and natural. Due to this, vegetables category estimated to experience steady growth into 2021, heavily driven by fresh produce. However, frozen produce contains just as many vitamins as fresh even if consumers perceive it differently.

Vegetables emerge as the main offering in restaurant dishes and consumption of fresh vegetable similar to frozen and canned.  It is a prime factor for the market growth.  Total U.S. retail sales and forecast of vegetables, by segement, at current prices for the period 2011  to 2021 is also mentioned in the study.

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A Few Thoughts About What Thanksgiving Means to Me

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DSCN4604Happy Thanksgiving!  Come February will quietly celebrate its 5th anniversary of providing you with what I hope is information worth your valuable time ranging from active produce shipping areas, peak shipping periods, caution when needed about quality problems at shipping point, demand for refrigerated equipment, produce trucking rates, not mention health stories and other news related to perishables.  Unabashedly this site is a proponent of healthy eating and promoting the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fresh produce is a daily part of my diet.

Today, there are nearly 1000 subscribers to HaulProduce and I cannot thank each of you enough.  Since its inception nearly 1900 posts have been placed on this blog.

It has been three years now since retiring after 40-plus years traveling this great nation as a journalist writing about both the trucking and produce industries.  It was this knowledge gained from both industries that led me to create the Produce Truckers Network back in the 1980s.  At its peak it had over 60 radio stations across North America and also was on satellite radio for several years before its completion after 20 years on the air.  The same concept exists today with HaulProduce.

Although officially, retired, this outlet allows me to continue to doing something I love – and at the same time provide something useful to our subscribers.  At the same time it allows spending more time with my kids, grandson and my lovely wife of 49 years.

It is with all of this in mind I plan to fully enjoy Thanksgiving, to appreciate and give thanks for all the opportunities available in the United States of America.

I will thank the good Lord for all those “highway warriors” that deliver over 95 percent of the fresh produce to markets across this great nation, as well as being thankful for everyone else in the distribution chain from growers and shippers, to all forms of companies involved in the distribution chain.  It certainly doesn’t end up on our Thanksgiving dinner table by magic.

May God bless each of you and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

— Bill Martin



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Hapag-Lloyd is Investing in 3700 Refrigerated Export Containers; L&M Has New Nogales Facility

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MaerskNew refrigerated containers have been ordered by Hapag-Loyd for export expansions…In Nogales, L&M has expanded its warehouse shipping facility.

Hapag-Lloyd is investing in 3700 refrigerated containers, which are used to ship food and other cargo around the world  Of the total, 1,000 of the units have environmentally friendly refrigeration systems.

Another 1000 will also have controlled-atmosphere capabilities specifically for fresh produce.

The Maersk Container Industry Star Cool Integrated containers are being built in Maersk facilities in China and Chile.

“Working together with (Maersk Container), we have been able to refine (controlled-atmosphere) technology to offer our ExtraFresh Plus service,” said Niklas Ohling, senior director at Hapag-Lloyd, in a news release.  “his service enables even extremely sensitive fruit such as blueberries and lychees to be transported to the desired level of quality and degree of ripeness.”

The new containers allows the company to expand the market reach of fresh fruits and vegetables, said Saren Leth Johannsen, chief commercial officer At Maersk Container, in the release.


L&M Begins Winter Season with New Facility

By L&M

L&M’s Nogales location has moved and is now operating in a new, expanded facility.  The new location features over 33,000 square feet of cold storage, including 8 ripening rooms for mature green tomatoes and over 9,000 square feet of office space. This allows L&M to service up to 24 loads at one time. We are happy to offer consolidation services for our customers, as well as in-and-out service year-round.

L&M is already shipping melons, zucchini, yellow squash, hard squash, eggplant and bell peppers. Mature Green tomatoes will be available in December and cucumbers are available year-round. L&M will be adding production on eggplant and hard squash out of Culiacan, Mexico.

L&M Nogales is now located at 1450 W. La Quinta Rd. The company is a grower and shipper of fresh vegetables, potatoes and onions, with farms and offices nationwide


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Idaho Potato Commission’s New TV Commercial is Scoring Big Points

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DSCN0185By the Idaho Potato Commission

EAGLE, ID —  The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) launched its new television commercial during the Boise State University (BSU) vs University of Virginia (UVA) football game that aired live from Albertson’s Stadium in Boise, Idaho in late September.  As a long-standing Bronco sponsor, this marquee game presented an ideal opportunity to unveil the seventh installment of the IPC’s  commercial featuring the Big Idaho Potato Truck, Farmer Mark and his ever-faithful hound.

“Every year the popularity of the Big Idaho Potato Truck grows exponentially due in large part to the national television commercial that airs when the Truck isn’t on the road.  As a result, consumers are exposed to the Truck for an entire year, as opposed to 6-months, the actual length of the tour, explained Frank Muir, President and CEO, IPC.   “Launching the commercial during the IPC’s nationally-televised marquee game at Albertson’s Stadium has become a tradition.  Not only are we further supporting Idaho football but the strength of the brand is reinforced through the prominently placed Idaho’s potato signage throughout the stadium, and the reporters are always excited to talk about spuds.”

During the game ESPN reporters made it clear to their viewers they were in Tater Nation.  From footage of the Big Idaho Potato Truck and non-stop shots of Spuddy Buddy, to a close-up of sideline reporter, Molly McGrath’s loaded baked potato, Idaho’s potatoes were treated like MVPs from the kick-off to the very last play of the game.
The commercial airs through early April on popular networks like CNN, The Food Network, Headline News, Fox News and The History Channel, achieving more than 550 million audience impressions. To view it now, visit the IPC’s YouTube channel.

For more information about Idaho’s famous spud visit:

About the Idaho Potato Commission

Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency that is responsible for promoting and protecting the famous Grown in Idaho seal, a federally registered trademark that assures consumers they 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, that differentiates Idaho potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

Boise State Football

The Boise State Bronco lost the game to Virginia University, 42 to 23.  However, the Broncos have an 8-2 won, lost record.

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