Posts Tagged “feature”

Apples are being Tied with Health for National Heart Month

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LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Apples can help keep your heart healthy, along with a balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables. The Michigan Apple Committee works with expert Shari Steinbach, M.S., R.D. to communicate the health benefits of regular apple consumption.

February is American Heart Month, so now is a great time to tout the importance of consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Apples are naturally fat-free and provide an excellent source of fiber – both soluble and insoluble types. In a 2012 study conducted by Ohio State University, the daily consumption of apples was associated with reduced level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol. Their research showed that middle-aged adults who consumed one apple a day for four weeks lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol by 40 percent. Other studies found that eating apples daily appeared to lower levels of cholesterol and two other indicators associated with plaques and inflammation in artery walls. Additional health studies and information can be found at www.MichiganApples.com/Healthy-Living.

“Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, which blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut and encourages the body to use, rather than store this waxy substance. In addition, apple peels are packed with polyphenols. These antioxidants can prevent cellular damage from harmful molecules called free radicals,” said Steinbach. “As far as how much to eat, just follow the apple-a-day saying, and if you eat two-a-day it might be even better!”

In 2018, Steinbach helped the Michigan Apple Committee create a kit as a resource for retail dietitians to help them communicate the many dietary benefits of Michigan Apples. Steinbach tapped in to her extensive experience as a former retail dietitian for Meijer and Spartan Stores to compile resources she knew Retailer RDs would need and use. Everything from recipes, meal plans, social media posts and scripts for media outreach are included in the kit. New sections will be added to the kit in 2020. To request a hard copy or electronic copy, email Staff@MichiganApples.com.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit www.MichiganApples.com.

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California Nut Shipments Should be Plentiful this Season

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California grows and ships nearly 100 percent of the three major U.S. tree nut crops — almonds, walnuts and pistachios.

Golden State growers and shippers are reporting volume may be down on some varieties, but quality of all three is excellent. And despite fewer shipments predicted this season, there should be adequate supplies.

Mariani Nut Co. of Winters, CA sees the popularity of nuts continue to grow as consumers seek healthier snacks choices> Additional nuts are cited as being tasty and convenient. Good heart health is often linked to both almonds and walnuts.

The Almond Board of California in Modesto reports this year’s almond crop already has set a record as the state’s 7,600 almond growers will produce up to 2.5 billion pounds of almonds on 1.2 million bearing acres. This represents a light increase from last year’s production.

Almonds easily lead California’s nut shipments. Over 80 percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California, with about 70 percent of the state’s production being exported.

The almond association attributes the popularity of almonds to health/lifestyle, the growing worldwide middle class and the fact that almonds are a very stable nut with good shelf life and versatility.


The USDA reports walnuts rank second in total nut shipments. However, walnut shipments are predicted to drop around 7 percent this season from last year’s 596.7 million pounds. Sill, adequate supplies are seen.

Walnut consumption continues to increase due to desirable health benefits and the growing trend toward plant-based eating. Some observes predict consumers will likely see walnuts included on more restaurant menus and store shelves in the form of walnut ‘milks,’ plant-based meat alternatives, flours, snack items and more.

It is estimated California supplies two-thirds of the world’s walnut trade.

Nichols Farms of Hanford, CA reports pistachios are the third-ranked tree nut with 487.5 million pounds during the 2018-19 season. Even though a 20 percent drop in volume is seen this season, not shortage is predicted.

The company cites pistachios as being attractive to consumers due to the higher protein, plant-based snacks, and the flavor.


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Allen Lund Company Completes Acquisition of Des Moines Truck Brokers

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B

By The Allen Lund Company

The Allen Lund Company, a transportation and logistics provider, announced today it has completed its acquisition of Des Moines Truck Broker’s, Inc. (DMTB), a distinguished brokerage of over 50 years. February 17, 2020, was the first day of operations. 

The acquisition brings Allen Lund Company’s exceptional reputation and operational excellence together with DMTB’s award-winning proven track record with their product-diverse customer base.

“With this acquisition, company culture was an important factor for ALC. While doing our research, the executive team was very impressed with the people and the culture they have created at DMTB” said Eddie Lund, president of Allen Lund Company. “We can confidently say that DMTB has a group that is team-oriented, maintains a strong work ethic, values customer service, and enjoys what they do. We are certain they are a great fit for our company.”

“We take great pride in the business my father started and our fifty-year reputation,” said Jimmy DeMatteis DMTB president and CEO. DeMatteis continued, “I have tremendous confidence in our DMTB team. Very few companies do what we do the way we do it and the Allen Lund Company does it the right way too! I have always admired the Lund’s and the business they have built. As we have grown, I would be lying if I said we didn’t try in some way to emulate ALC. Both companies have received the NASTC Broker of the Year award, DMTB in 2009 and 2013 and ALC in 2010. I can’t think of another company in this industry that we align with better than ALC. Throughout this process, I have found myself energized and excited to see what we can do as a unified team. Every single person I have dealt with at ALC has been welcoming, warm, and professional. I have been blown away with the many talented people behind the scenes and that we’ve interacted with. I feel blessed that our two teams will come together, and I am eager to see what we can achieve as one.”

Des Moines Truck Brokers was co-founded by James A. DeMatteis (Jim Sr.) in 1969 with Joseph M. and Joseph T. Comito. The Comito family owns and still operates Capital City Fruit. Jimmy DeMatteis became the second employee in October 1984. Much like ALC, the focus from day one was exempt commodities especially fresh produce, eggs, and turkeys. Jimmy served as VP of operations from 1997 to 2003. In 2003 Jimmy accepted the position of president and in 2009 President and CEO.

About Allen Lund Company:

Specializing as a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices and over 550 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 recognized by Food Logistics magazine as a 2019 Top 3PL & Cold Storage Provider for TransKool Solutions, Logistics Tech Outlook for our software division ALC Logistics as a 2018 Top 10 Freight Management Solution Providers, 2018 Food Logistics’ Top 3PL & Cold Storage Providers list, 2017 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Top 100, 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, and received the 2013 “Best in Cargo Security Award.” In 2011, the company received the TIA 3PL Samaritan Award, and NASTC (National Association of Small Trucking Companies) named Allen Lund Company the 2010 Best Broker of the Year. More information is available at allenlund.com


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12% More Apples Remain in U.S. Storages for Shipping

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There are 12 percent more fresh apples remaining in U.S. storages to be shipped this season as of February 1st than at this same time a year ago.

Fresh apples in storage across the U.S were 12% higher on Feb. 1 than a year ago, according to the U.S. Apple Association’s monthly MarketNews report.

The U.S. Apple Association reports there are 87.9 million 42-pound bushels, in storage, a little over 4 percent of the five-year fresh apple numbers.

Apples in storage for processing markets on February 1st totaled 34.9 million bushels, a 20 percent increase from the same time last season. Overall fresh/processing apples in storage February 1st were 122.8 million bushels, a 14 percent increase from the past season, and 4 percent above the five-year average.

The leading fresh variety apples, in millions of bushels, in storage February 1st were:

  • Red delicious: 19.13
  • Gala: 18.72
  • Fuji: 11.16
  • Granny smith: 11.04
  • Honeycrisp: 8.32
  • Golden delicious: 5.88

The availability of Cosmic Crisps dropped from 175,238 bushels to 44,762 bushels.

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Lawsuit by Multiple Growers Accuse C.H. Robinson of Inflating Freight Costs, etc.

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C.H. Robinson/Robins Fresh has been accused of “illegal and deceptive” business practices in a lawsuit by a number of U.S. and foreign growers.


According to press reports, the lawsuit was filedby a group of farmers in mid-January in federal court in Minnesota asking for a total of $1.1 billion for allegedly overcharging shipping costs while pocketing the additional profits and underpaying farmers for various types of produce from both North America and South America.

The lawsuit reportedly claims that these freight profits exceeded $1,000 per load of produce.

Filed January 16th, the complaint claims C.H. Robinson/ Robinson Fresh of Eden Prairie, MN :

  • Represented fees from growers as their own donations to breast cancer organizations; 
  • Structured the transportation of consigned produce in a way — termed freight topping — that benefited C.H. Robinson rather than growers;
  • Contracted for an additional reduction of 2 percent of freight charges and did not pass the savings on to plaintiffs;
  • Received rebates from seed suppliers and didn’t pass them on to growers; and
  • Received rebates from pallet company CHEP USA but did not pass them on to growers.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit was filed by Craig Stokes, of Stokes Law Office, San Antonio.

Plantiffs are:

  • David Moore, doing business as Moore Family Farms;
  • Terry Lusk, Jason Lusk and Justin Lusk, doing business as JTJ Farms;
  • Kevin Rentz, Amanda Calhoun Rentz, Dennis Bruce Rentz and Karla Jo Rentz, doing business as Rentz Family Farms; 
  • Kevin Coggins, doing business as Mek Farms; 
  • Bowles Farming Co. Inc.;
  • Agropecuaria Los Americanos S.C. de R.L. de C.V.; 
  • Phil Sandifer & Sons Farms LLC;
  •  JMB Farm LLC;
  • Powe Farms Management LLC
  • CA Comercial S.A.C.; 
  • Global Fresh S.A.C.; and 
  • Pepas Tropicales Del Peru S.A.C;

C.H. Robinson has until early March to respond to the complaint in court, but the company issued a statement to trade newspaper The Packer February 10 stating the “complaint was designed to capture media attention, and it contains an enormous amount of self-serving falsehoods as well as blatant mischaracterizations and fabrications about our company, teams and the actual agreements signed by the growers themselves.”

C.H. Robinson plans to oppose the plaintiffs’ plan to pursue class-action status of the lawsuit.

“We deny any and all allegations of wrongdoing and look forward to vigorously defending our actions, as well as filing legitimate counterclaims against the growers.”

In the company’s statement, C.H. Robinson said it loaned several of the growers listed in the complaint money to finance their businesses. 

“Now that the money is due to be repaid, these growers are using this complaint to avoid paying their debts. C.H. Robinson will assert its right to collect the significant amounts it is owed by the growers,” according to the statement.

Stokes said plaintiffs are seeking class action status from the court, and that claims of freight topping could apply to “hundreds if not thousands of growers.” Stokes said he was aware of only one grower plaintiff who owes money to C.H. Robinson.

Stokes alleges that C.H. Robinson inflated freight costs and included that number in the delivered cost to the buyer.

“So you take the delivered cost, minus the freight inflated by (X percent), and then that number was reported to the grower as the f.o.b. price,” he said.

While contracts with growers clearly spelled out the sales commission charged by C.H. Robinson, Stokes said the contracts made no mention of C.H. Robinson making money on freight.

“If you are going to charge for something, you put it in the contract and get permission,” Stokes said. “Tell the grower how much you’re going to mark up the truckers’ invoices and get the growers’ permission.”

C.H. Robinson said in its statement that the company did not violate any expressed or implied duties to the growers.

“We are proud of the work we do with our teams, growers, and customers throughout the world, and we look forward to putting this entirely meritless complaint behind us,” said Michael Castagnetto, President of Robinson Fresh, a division of C.H. Robinson.

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Big Increase in Florida’s Brilliance Strawberry Variety

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Brilliance, the new Florida strawberry variety introduced last season, has proven to be to be quite popular.

The fruit’s initial season of commercial production has been reported by the the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Wimauma, FL. to have gone very well.

Entering its second season, the Florida brilliance already accounts for the majority of Florida’s strawberry acreage this season with an estimated 55 percent.

Florida growers have exclusive rights to the variety for three years before it will become available to growers in California and Mexico.

Florida brilliance basically is replacing the Florida radiance variety.

The berry’s most important trait is that it is early yielding, enabling growers to get into the fall/winter market sooner, making it the state’s earliest producing strawberry. The industry also is touting the improved shape of the berry, as well as flavor firmness and quality.


A variety formally called sweet sensation, also developed by the University of Florida, is the other major strawberry in the state, accounting for 25 to 30 percent of production.

Sweet sensation is not as resistant to rain as well as Florida brilliance and also lacks the yields. On the plus is the excellent flavor with a high brix (sugar) rating late in the season, which is important to processors.

Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC of Plant City, FL has shifted primarily away from the radiance to the brilliance variety and cites its fast growth to maturity as well as its high quality.

Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC, Plant City, Fla., is a company that now primarily plants the Florida brilliance variety.


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Imported Mexican Produce Shipments Take Big Hit Due to Weather

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Mexican fresh produce volume will be down well into March because of fewer plantings, the shift to other vegetables and bad weather. And by this late in the winter shipping season, volume tends to gradually wind down anyway.

Foul weather and cold temperatures have plagued major Mexican growing areas since late last year.

Sun Fed of Rio Rico, AZ has no doubt there will be less volume in the coming weeks. The company has many crops in the Guaymas Sonora area being affected by the cold.

Sonora is a Mexican state, in the northwestern Mexico region. Sonora borders the states of Chihuahua to the east, Sinaloa to the south, and Baja California to the northwest.

Some growers lost entire crops. As a result, shortages many be felt well into April. Products most affected at Sun Fed by weather include soft squashes, cucumbers and green bell peppers.

Likewise, Ciruli Bros. of Rio Rico relates volume is “way, way down with no short term recovery in sight.

In early February, for example, Ciruli Bros. usually has seven coolers running, but only had four in operation. Vegetables that normally would be ready for harvest the first week of March, we up to two weeks behind in growth.

Items affected in the northern part of Mexico include zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and romas.

Divine Flavor LLC of Nogales, AZ described January as “rough,” but was still hopeful for good volume with conventional and organic mini peppers as well as bell peppers, grape tomatoes and roma tomatoes.

The company grows a lot of its vegetables in greenhouses or high-tech hothouses, most of it in the Culican, Sinaola area of West Mexico. The operation also has squash and mini peppers in Sonora and bell peppers and grape tomatoes in Jalisco.

However, Divine Flavor reports the cold weather in Sinaloa and Sonora has even adversely affected its greenhouse production.

Fresh Farms of Rio Rico reports the Sinaloa region received 10 to 12 inches of rain around Christmas, resulting in a “disaster” for crops.

Calavo Growers Inc. of Nogales noted even before the weather challenges, many growers planted fewer romas and round tomatoes because of uncertainty about the tomato suspension agreement last summer and not knowing if they would have to pay tariffs. This resulted in a lot of growers shifting to bell peppers and cucumbers.

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Some Cities are Requiring Dollar Stores to Carry Fresh Produce

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Small-box retailers such as dollar stores are being required by more and more communities with no grocery stores to carry some fresh foods.

In Oklahoma City, the Wall Street Journal reports the city council is considering a plan requiring new retailers in the area to designate at least 500 square feet of space to fresh food.

CNN Business published a story recently called “Dollar stores are everywhere. That’s a problem for poor Americans.”

The article notes rising numbers of dollar stores upset some politicans who believe the discount chains “stifle local competition and limit poor communities’ access to healthy food.

Dollar General and Dollar Tree combine for more than 30,000 stores throughout the U.S. and company officials believe there is room in the market for many thousands more. By way of contrast, Walmart has a paltry 4,700 stores, according to the article.

The USDA offers a visualization of food deserts online in a tool known as the Food Environment Atlas. The Wall Street Journal reports the USDA estimates that 39 million people, or 12.8 percent of the population live in food deserts, with few fresh food choices close by and access to transportation is limited.

As a way to counter the effect of food deserts, the USDA also is involves the Healthy Food Finacing Initiative, which distributes some grants to improve fresh food access in under-served communities.

Recent publicity about dollar stores adding fresh produce may be overstated. The Wall Street Journal notes that soon, 650 Dollar General locations will sell produce. However, this is still only just 4.1 percent of the company’s 16,000 stores.

States have been engaged with the issue as well but have tended toward the carrot more than the stick:

  • Nevada lawmakers last year supported legislation providing providing for tax credits for businesses investing in certain fresh food retailers based in underserved communities and similar areas;
  • A Mississippi bill was passed and signed by the governor last year known as the Small Business and Grocer Investment Act” aiming to provide  “dedicated source of financing for healthy food retailers operating in underserved communities in Mississippi, in both urban and rural areas, to increase access to affordable healthy food so as to improve diets and health; to promote the sale and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, in natural and/or frozen form, particularly those that are Mississippi grown and to support expanded economic opportunities in low-income and rural communities.”
  • New Jersey  has a similar bill encouraging more fresh produce consumption. A summary of the legislation titled The Healthy Small Food Retailer Acts seeks to provide support to small food retailers operating in the Garden State, in both urban and rural areas, to sell more fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods at affordable prices to neighborhood residents in an effort to improve the health and wellness of all New Jerseyans.

Finally, CNN Business had an opinion piece by Darya Minovi called “Dollar General isn’t doing enough to bring healthy food to low-income Americans.”

 Minovi, a policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest focusing on healthy retail policies, sums up her piece in this way:

“To make a meaningful difference for consumers, Dollar General will need to prioritize fresh produce and more nutritious options. If not, communities will continue to follow the example of places like Tulsa, OK; New Orleans; and Mesquite, TX, which have instituted policies to limit the rapid expansion of dollar stores, given their anticompetitive impacts. The success of America’s fastest-growing food retailer should not come at the expense of Americans’ health.”

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Eastern Shipping Points: A Look at Loadings

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It certainly isn’t that good, but here are your best bets for fresh produce loading opportunities in the Eastern Time Zone.

Florida

It is Florida hands down, but even here you are looking at multiple pickups and multiple drops in most cases.

Nearly 750 truckload equivalents of Florida tomatoes are being shipped weekly. This is mostly the mature greens, with much smaller volumes found with grape (cherry) and plum tomatoes.

Strawberries from the Plant City, FL area are averaging about 575 truckload equivalents a week. There are modest amounts of fresh grapefruit and oranges, with even smaller amounts of other citrus amounting to around 475 truckload equivalents weekly.

There also are lesser amounts of cabbage, sweet corn as well as a new crop of red potatoes just getting underway.

Florida produce shipments primarily from central and southern areas – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

Port of Philadelphia

Chilean fruit arrivals by boat at Philadelphia are averaging around 750 truckloads a week. This consists mostly of table grapes although there are some peaches, plums and nectarines.

Michigan

Not much here except apples from the Grand Rapids area in the western part of the state, as well as some onions.

North Carolina

Sweet potatoes by shippers mostly in the Eastern part of the state are averaging over 200 truckloads a week.

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More Volume, Longer Season is Seen for California Avocado Shipments

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California avocado shipments should hit 369 million pounds, a 70 percent increase over last season.

Unlike a year ago when shipments were limited primarily to the Western states, much wider distribution is possible, according to the California Avocado Commission.

The forecast for the big increase in shipments is attributed increased rains resulting in improved health of the trees and a better fruit set.

California avocado shipments remain relatively light, but will be increasing through March, with peak volume continuing from April through the summer, with smaller supplies lasting into September.

Despite a much larger crop, California avocado shipments will be going mainly to markets in California and the Western states. California avocado volume pales in comparison to shipments from Mexico, which is the primary supplier to two thirds of the U.S.

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