Posts Tagged “feature”

Trailblazing Women of the Idaho Potato Brand

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Eagle, Idaho – For eight years, the Big Idaho® Potato Truck, a 4-ton spud on wheels, has been turning heads and stopping folks in their tracks everywhere it goes. This summer, there’s another reason why people are taking a second look at the oversized vegetable. The Tater Team, the trio that travels with the Truck promoting famous Idaho® potatoes, is all women, including the driver. According to CNBC, only 6 percent of all truck drivers are female. So if you think a giant spud is a rare sighting, so is a female truck driver.

This year marks Melissa Bradford’s first year driving the Big Idaho® Potato Truck, and she’s a natural. Born and raised in Idaho, Melissa grew up harvesting spuds with her dad. She became a commercial truck driver in 2008, and in 2016 upgraded to a Class A commercial license, allowing her to operate a vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds. Melissa says seeing people’s reaction to the Truck is the highlight of her job, and she’s amazed at how many people ask her if the potato is real. Melissa is also a spokesmodel for the Duluth Trading Company.

Accompanying her are the “Tater Twins,” Jessica Coulthard and Kaylee Wells, Idahoans and best friends who have been traveling with the Big Idaho® Potato Truck for three years.  They’ve trekked across the country countless times promoting the health benefits of Idaho® potatoes to millions of folks who are thrilled to see the largest spud on wheels. “The Tater Team represents the heart and soul of the Idaho® potato brand, and I’m exceptionally proud of Melissa, Kaylee, and Jessica for demonstrating its values on a daily basis,” says Frank Muir, President & CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC).

This summer, the trio will travel approximately 25,000 miles and visit about 60 cities. Some highlights of the 2019 tour include participation in the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hot Springs, Arkansas; a zip around the Indianapolis Speedway track; a stop at the World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle in Collinsville, Illinois; and its annual and highly anticipated appearance at the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. In many of the markets it visits, the Truck supports local charities through its “A Big Helping” program by helping them raise funds and awareness based on their specific needs. The Truck’s complete tour schedule is available at

The Idaho® potato brand has a long legacy of trailblazing women, and the Tater Trio aren’t the first women to represent Idaho® potatoes. In 2013, the IPC shattered the glass ceiling with the appointment of the first female Commissioner, Peggy Arnzen, a shipper from Benchmark Potato in Rexburg. The first female grower, Mary Hasenoehrl of Gross Farms in Lewiston, was appointed to the IPC in 2017. As industry leaders for many years, both Peggy and Mary have long and impressive backgrounds in farming and agriculture. Their perspective and experience have contributed to building impactful marketing programs designed to reach the IPC’s primary target audience, women ages 25-54.

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. These ideal growing conditions are what differentiate Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states. For more information, visit

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Chilean Blueberry Exports to Hit Record Volume this Season

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Chilean exports of fresh blueberries will hit record export volume in the 2019-2020 season, as the country expects to export 115,000 tons this season, 4 percent more than a year ago.

The export increase results from new plantations registered in recent years. Chile has increased by more than 9,880 acres in the last 4 seasons, which will reach full production in the coming years.

Chilean blueberry producers created the winter market for blueberries in the United States, however in recent years there has increasing competition from other couinries including Peru and Mexico.

While Chile was still the number one supplier of imported blueberries to the U.S. market during the 2018-19 season, Chile had a 52 percent market share with Peru at 38 percent and continuing to gain.

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Carrier Transicold’s New Thin-Profile Vector® 1550 Refrigeration Unit

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ATHENS, GA — The new Carrier Transicold Vector® 1550 domestic intermodal refrigeration system features a thin profile enabling greater capacity utilization within a standard 53-foot North American intermodal container. As a result, up to 7 percent more cargo can be carried for greater shipping efficiency over rail and highway.

“With the Vector 1550 unit, Carrier Transicold engineered a space-efficient transport refrigeration system that fits within a trim envelope that is a third thinner than a traditional transport refrigeration unit in the U.S.,” said Patrick McDonald, trailer product manager, Carrier Transicold.
The Vector 1550 unit allows a domestic intermodal refrigerated container to accommodate an extra row of pallets, resulting in cube loads similar to 53-foot over-the-road trailers. The thin-profile Vector 1550 unit also reduces total weight by as much as 570 pounds compared to competitive standard-size refrigeration systems, and by 200 pounds compared to competitive slim-profile designs.

“Compared to its competitive counterpart, the Vector 1550 unit is thinner and lighter, while also being a high-efficiency performer with lower engine run speeds producing as much as 27 percent more cooling per hour per RPM,” McDonald said.

As part of Carrier Transicold’s Vector family, the Vector 1550 unit takes advantage of E-Drive™ technology. Unlike conventional mechanical transport refrigeration units, those with E-Drive technology use a high-output generator direct-coupled to a diesel engine to power a uniquely all-electric refrigeration system. Using intelligent controls, the system can automatically turn on and off individual components, such as the compressor and fans, running only what it needs, precisely when needed. As a result, components run fewer hours and last longer than traditional counterparts.

The simplified, clean refrigeration architecture eliminates most of the serviceable items found in conventional mechanical transport refrigeration systems – traditional parts, such as vibrasorbers, clutches, shaft seals, alternators, drive belts and pulleys that require routine maintenance.
As with other units in Carrier Transicold’s Vector platform, the Vector 1550 unit offers integrated electric standby, enabling the unit to be plugged into a power source when parked. This eliminates emissions and noise from the refrigeration unit engine, conserves fuel and reduces operating costs.

The Vector system provides the unit’s full rated refrigeration capacity when on standby, unlike some add-on standby systems that add weight and complexity, without delivering full capacity. The Vector 1550 system also can be coupled with Carrier Transicold’s eSolutions™ telematics system for remote monitoring of system operation and container temperatures, generation of automatic “proof of temperature” compliance reports to maintain food safety standards, and providing enhanced control features, such as remote software updates and data downloads.

For additional details on the new thin-profile Vector 1550 domestic intermodal refrigeration system, turn to the experts in Carrier Transicold’s North America dealer network.

About Carrier Transicold  Carrier Transicold helps improve transport and shipping of temperature-controlled cargoes with a complete line of equipment and services for refrigerated transport and cold chain visibility. For more than 45 years, Carrier Transicold has been an industry leader, providing customers around the world with advanced, energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable container refrigeration systems and generator sets, direct-drive and diesel truck units, and trailer refrigeration systems. Carrier Transicold is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies. For more information, visit

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Vegetables see mixed changes in processed, fresh markets

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By Ron Sterk, Food Business News

WASHINGTON — Lower harvested area and yields pushed fresh vegetable production down 10% last year, to 35.9 billion lbs, the lowest in 19 years and the largest year-over-year drop during that time, the U.S Department of Agriculture said in its Vegetables and Pulses Outlook. In contrast, 2018 production of processing vegetables was estimated at 35.7 billion lbs, up 7% from 2017.

The four largest fresh crops — onions, head lettuce, romaine lettuce and tomatoes — accounted for 46% of total fresh production and 70% of the decline, the U.S.D.A. said. Planted area of onions, head lettuce and romaine lettuce was the lowest in 17 years. In contrast, fresh-market production of carrots, snap beans, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, garlic, spinach and artichokes increased.

Fresh vegetable prices declined about 5% in 2018 “in spite of lower domestic supply and slightly rising exports, which should put upward pressure on the price,” the U.S.D.A. said.

“Two foodborne illness outbreaks occurred in 2018, substantially slowing the market for fresh leafy greens,” the U.S.D.A. said. The four largest price drops were 31% for romaine lettuce, 16% for head lettuce, 15% for leaf lettuce and 14% for spinach.

Production of most processing vegetables declined in 2018, but the total was skewed by a 17% increase in tomatoes (technically a fruit), to 25.6 billion lbs, which accounted for 75% of processing vegetable production. Tomato production fell sharply in 2017 due to drought in California and high carry-in stocks from 2016, the U.S.D.A. said.

Per capita availability of fresh vegetables also declined while that of processing vegetables increased in 2018. But the gap between fresh and processed vegetable availability has widened significantly since the 1980s, with considerably more processed vegetables available relative to fresh market produce prior to the 1980s.

Prices for processed vegetables increased about 11% from 2017 but were down 6% from 2016, the U.S.D.A. said, “despite increased domestic supply and slowing export volume, which should put downward pressure on the price.”

Per capita (domestic production and imports) availability of fresh vegetables (excluding mushrooms, potatoes and sweet potatoes) was 144.8 lbs in 2018, down 8% from a year earlier, and totaled 183.8 lbs when all items were included, down 9%, the U.S.D.A. said. It was the largest annual decline on record. Of the 24 fresh items included in the total per capita availability list, 15 declined, 8 increased and 1 (mushrooms) was unchanged. The largest declines were sweet potatoes (31%), squash (22%) and head lettuce, romaine/leaf lettuce and bulb onions (19% each). The largest increase was carrots (16%).

Processing vegetable per capita availability (domestic production and imports) was 112.8 lbs, up 8% from 2017, including canning vegetables at 89.96 lbs, up 8%, and freezing vegetables at 22.88 lbs, up 7%. The total jumps to 198.5 lbs per capita, up 5% for the year, when mushrooms, onions (for dehydrating) and potatoes for processing are added.

Total U.S. vegetable imports were a record 23.3 billion lbs in 2018, the highest in about three decades, the U.S.D.A. said. Exports were 11.4 billion lbs. The value of imports was $13.9 billion in 2018 compared with the value of exports at $6.5 billion.

“The United States has experienced an increasing trade volume deficit in total vegetables since 2001,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Based on early trade data, 2019 seems poised to fall behind 2018 vegetable trade levels for imports.”

The U.S.D.A. forecast fresh market vegetable production at 38.5 billion lbs in 2019, up 7% from 2018, and processing vegetable production at 35.4 billion lbs, down 0.8%. 

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Lower Mushroom Shipments are Seen Heading into Fall

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Mushroom shipments are expected to be down this fall due to problems with compost and limited labor availability from some areas.

Phillips Mushroom Farms of Kennett Square, PA had adequate supplies last summer but now has less production because it is using new composting materials that are fresh off the fields. The problems resulted from excessive rains or the past two years. This caused deterioration with hay and straw to the point it could not be used. This has resulted in increasing prices for compost.

Ideally, hay and straw weather in the field for up to a month before going into the compost pile. Due to tight supplies, hay and straw are going directly from the field to the compost pile, which can delay optimum production for up to 6 weeks.

Even with optimum production in the weeks ahead the Phillips Musrooms is uncertain it will be able to have enough production for the holidays. There also have been issues with compost, mold, weather and yield issues in British Columbia as well.

Ponderosal Musrooms & Specialty Foods of Port Coquitlam reports continuin issues with its white and brown ,mushrooms., plus problems with adequate labor supplies.

Ostrom Mushroom Farms of Olympia, WA has taken two grow rooms out of production because of a lack of labor, The company also cites the rising cost of labor in Washington since 2017. In 2020 labor costs will increase an additional $1.50 per hour,reaching $13.50.

Ostorm also reports heavy demand for mushrooms during the spring and summer, when consumers usually cut back somewhat in favor of local berries or stone fruit, also has put pressure on supplies.

Monterey Mushrooms Inc. of Watsonville, CA is more optimistic stating it has 10 farms throughout the U.S. and expects to supply is costomers.

Likewise, To-Jo Mushrooms of Avondale, PA. expects to ship adequate supplies to customers into next year.

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California Pomegranate Shipments Hit Peak Volume

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Peak California pomegranate shipments are now underway and will continue through November, before the season closes at the end of the year.

Observers estimate put the fresh crop loadings this year at close to 6 million boxes in 2019, down 15 to 20 percent compared to forecasts earlier in the season.

The very earliest pomegranate varieties — principally granadas and early wonderful — got underway in mid-August. The wonderful variety accounts for about 70 percent of the state’s total volume.

The USDA reports California fresh pomegranate shipments totalled 38.9 million pounds in 2018, more than double 2017 shipments of 14.4 million pounds.k

Beyond whole fresh pomegranates, fresh pomegranate arils (seeds), are gaining in popularity and retailers such as Costco and Walmart have expanded their fresh aril offerings. Trinity Fruit of Fresno, CA is now shipping dried arils.


Pomegranate acreage in California has been growing fast over the past 20 years. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported bearing and non-bearing acreage of pomegranate totaled 30,917 acres, down slightly from 32,226 in 2012 but up from 24,458 in 2007, 9,529 acres in 2002 and just 4,672 in 1997. 

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Eating Produce Improves Life Expectancy, Quality, Research Says

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Family selecting fruits and vegetables while grocery shopping in supermarket

Eating more produce reduces chronic disease risk and improves quality of life, is among the results of a wide – ranging review of research on fruits and vegetables and how consuming them affects health outcomes. The research was commissioned by The Produce for Better Health Foundation.

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition published the paper recently. Taylor Wallace, a professor in the department of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University, was the lead author. Wallace is also the acting chief food and nutrition scientist for PBH. Wallace led a group of 13 nutrition scientists on the review project.

“Our findings confirm that eating at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day has benefits far beyond providing basic nutritional requirements,” Wallace said in a news release. “Increasing fruit and vegetable intake not only helps to ward off chronic disease but also extends both life expectancy and quality.”

The scientists reviewed nearly 100 studies in an effort to summarize the benefits of produce as supported by research. The review will also inform future research priorities and public health messaging strategies.

The group of authors found eating at least 5 servings of produce daily can meaningfully reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. They also found there are “hundreds of fiber structures in fruits and vegetables that support the good bacteria in the gut, which scientists are increasingly recognizing as integral to overall health.”

Research also showed produce supports eye and bone health and may help prevent a range of diseases, including certain cancers.

Another conclusion was all forms of fruits and vegetables offer “generally consistent nutritional benefits” that can improve health quality.

“The time is now for industry stakeholders across the produce supply chain, as well as health professionals, food influencers, chefs, scientists, thought leaders and other advocates, to work together and inspire Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables,” Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of PBH, said in the release. “We’re committed to providing Americans with smart strategies to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day for happy, healthy and active lives.”

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California Navel Orange Shipments Forecast to be Down 7 Percent in New Season

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California navel orange shipments are predicted to be off 7 percent from last seasone.

With harvest expected to begin this month, the USDA predicts California navel shipments will be 76 million (40-pound) cartons, down 7 percent from the previous year.

Of the total navel orange crop in California, the USDA reports 73 million cartons are estimated to be in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Survey data indicated a fruit set per tree of 319, below the 5-year average of 366. The average Sept. 1 diameter was 2.169 inches, about 2 percent below the five-year average of 2.225 inches. The cara cara orange set was 268 with a diameter of 2.185 inches.

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Mediterranean-Style Eating is Touted for Treating Anxiety, Depression with Potatoes

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San Francisco, CA  – Side Delights® shared trending findings on how potatoes and other vegetables may actually help make people happy.  The link to diet and depression has become an increasingly hot topic following the American Psychiatric Association’s recent 2019 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, where medical experts presented research showing that the Mediterranean-style diet, associated with a reduced risk of cancer and longevity, may also help protect against depression. 1 At the meeting, Dr. Konstantinos Argyropoulos claimed that people who adhere to a Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop symptoms of depression later on in life. The Mediterranean diet, which U.S. News and World Report calls the diet a “well-balanced eating plan”, suggests that for optimum health, consumers should adopt new dietary guidelines: no grains, no dairy, less sugar, more healthy fats, medium amounts of protein, and most importantly, lots of vegetables.

A recent article in Healthline about treating depression and anxiety with a vegetable-based diet, cited two studies supporting the claims. In the first study, after clinically depressed participants ate a modified Mediterranean diet for three months, their symptoms were significantly better. In the other study, Spanish researchers found people who closely followed the Mediterranean lifestyle were 50 percent less likely to develop depression than those who didn’t.2  In another Healthline article dedicated to the health benefits of potatoes, points out that they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; can help with weight-loss by curbing hunger pains and cravings, and are naturally gluten-free. 3 

“Potatoes have been known as America’s favorite vegetable for decades, and as research continues to build on the health advantages of vegetable-heavy eating plans, consumers are embracing filling, flavorful ways to incorporate vegetables into more meals, “said Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network. “Potatoes have a high-satiety factor and are extremely versatile – making them the perfect addition to a vegetable-based diet plan that can not only improve overall health but can help relieve depression.”

For more information on Side Delights® products, programs and recipes, visit

About Fresh Solutions Network®, LLC:  Fresh Solutions Network (FSN) is the exclusive supplier of Side Delights® potatoes and onions.  FSN is a group of family-owned potato and onion growers and shippers who help fresh potato and onion buyers grow their categories, maximize category investment, and increase sales. FSN delivers category insights, collaborative innovation, and customized assortment. Fresh Solutions Network, LLC partners include: Sterman Masser, Inc. (Masser Potato Farms and Keystone Potato Products in Sacramento and Hegins, PA), Michael Family Farms, Inc.  (Urbana, OH), Basin Gold Cooperative, Inc. (Pasco, WA), Green Thumb Farms, Inc. (Fryeburg, ME), Red Isle Potato Growers, Ltd. (Prince Edward Island, Canada), NoKota Packers, Inc. (Buxton, ND), Sun-Glo of Idaho, Inc. (Sugar City, ID) and Mack Farms (Lake Wales, FL).

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Apple Imports: Mexico has Sizeable Increase; Canada is Off Slightly

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A significant increase in Mexican apple shipments are seen this season, while a small decrease in Canadian apple loadings are forecast.

Mexican Apple Shipments

The estimated 27 million 42-pound cartons are 20 percent larger than an average year.

The Chihuahua region is the leading Mexican apple producing and is expecting a crop of 23 million boxes this year, up substantially from its average of about 18 million cartons.

The total crop in Mexico is projected at 27 million cartons. Of that total, about 7 million cartons will be put in controlled atmosphere storage and 10 million will be put in conventional storage.  The balance of the crop be marketed immediately.

Because Mexico never supplies export markets, the Mexican apple market will be flooded until January 2020.

However, U.S. apple exportersl are still expected to be sending fruit to Mexico. Each year, Mexico consumes about 38 million cartons of apples. This leaves about 11 million cartons this year for the U.S. and other countries to fill the need for more apples.

During the 2018 shipping season, the U.S. moved about 12.8 million cartons to Mexico, and Mexico is the biggest export market for U.S. apple exporters.

Since 80 percent of Mexico’s apples are golden delicious, the country produces very few galas. This presents opportunities for U.S. exporters to export a lot of the more popular galas to Mexico,

Canadian Apple Shipments

Canada is estimated to have 18.8 million cartons of apples this season, down 2 percdent from 201. Compared with the five-year average, 2019 production in Canada will be up 1 percent.

By Canadian province, apple shipments are forecast at:

  • Ontario predicted to be down 11 percent to 7.3 million cartons, 2 percent below the 5-year average;
  • British Columbia is forecast at 4 million cartons, 15 percent more than the 5-year average;
  • Quebec apple output is rated at 5.3 million cartons, down 5 percent from the 5-year average;
  • Nova Scotia apple estimate is 2 million cartons, up 16 percent from the 5-year average; and
  • New Brunswick output is forecast at 144,000 cartons, down 12 percent from the 5-year average.

Mcintosh variety apples account for 26 percent of the Canada crop, followed by gala with 17 percent and Honeycrisp with 7.5 percent. U.S. apple exports to Canada in 2018 totaled about 6.8 million cartons.

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