Posts Tagged “feature”

Del Monte Optimistic About Blueberry Season; Monsanto is Seeking Sweeter Strawberries

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A12Optimism abounds at Del Monte Fresh Produce as the domestic blueberry shipments progress.  Also, Monsanto is looking to genetically alter strawberry to get a sweet taste and longer shelf life.

Del Monte Fresh

By Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc.

Coral Gables, FL – Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. (Del Monte) is optimistic about the domestic blueberry season that spans between March and September.  It began in the south and eastern states, continued to California in April, and later into British Columbia.

Del Monte’s Chilean import blueberry season finished with increased volumes over the prior years and it continues to expand to meet the growing interest from retailers and food service customers. 

“The demand for fresh blueberries in the United States has grown steadily over the past decade. Per capita consumption more than tripled since 2005, exceeding 1.5 pounds per person,” said Dennis Christou, VP Marketing N.A. “Del Monte has been a key player in growing and shipping premium blueberries in Chile for more than 25 years and we continue to expand our operations to meet this growing demand. A major advantage we have is our Del Monte Fresh Cut business which these products support.”

The Mexico blueberry season will begin in early fall.

About Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.  Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. is one of North America’s leading marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.  Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. markets its products in North America under the Del Monte® brand (as well as other brands), a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness and reliability for more than 125 years.

 Sweeter Strawberries

by Erin Brodwin, Business Insider

In a move aimed at securing a place in the rapidly evolving food technology scene, the agricultural giant Monsanto has invested $125 million in a gene-editing startup called Pairwise.

The alliance could tee up Monsanto, long known for its controversial dealings with farmers and its role in popularizing genetically modified organisms, to introduce some of the first produce made using the blockbuster gene-editing tool Crispr. Sweeter strawberries with a longer shelf life could be among the earliest offerings.

The tool allows scientists to accurately target specific problem areas within the genome of a living thing, opening up the potential to tweak the DNA of everything from row crops like corn and soy to produce like apples and asparagus to make the produce taste sweeter, last longer on the shelf, and even tolerate drought or flooding.

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Salinas Vegetable Shipments are Rebounding from a Late Start

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A21Spring weather conditions have gradually improved California’s Salinas Valley produce shipments, which had been hampered by rain and cold weather.

Still, some shippers such as Tanimura & Antle Inc. of Salinas see volume being lighter than normal on some items in late May and early June because of planting delays.

At the same time growing conditions and ultimately shipments are expected to better than in 2017, which had even worse weather conditions.

Salinas Valley vegetable crop acreage increased slightly from 286,637 acres in 2015 to 290,987 acres in 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available from the Monterey County agricultural commissioner’s office.

There has been a significant decline in artichoke acreage in Monterey County, from 7,242 acres in 2006 to 4,050 in 2016.

Weather has been a problem for impacted overall artichoke production for a number of years.  This has resulted in the nation’s largest artichoke grower Ocean Mist Farms of, Castroville, CA

deciding to diversify artichoke growing locations to include areas such as the Coachella Valley, rather than concentrate all of its volume in Monterey County.

D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, based in Salinas, completed its desert lettuce shipments the last week of March after finishing up other vegetable crops in mid-March.  Most Salinas vegetable shipments got underway in early March, but a spring rain descended on the area the last few days of the month, bringing most of the harvests to a halt, and resulting in quality issues. The quality of Salinas vegetables has improved with the weather.

Another Salinas produce company, Coastline Family Farms, started its Salinas vegetable season April 9th following a few days of rains.  Early season leaf lettuce and romaine hearts showed some signs of blister and peel because of an early spring frost, but apparently has experienced a significant improvement in quality since.

Lucky Strike Farms of Burlingame, CA., expects to have a steady vegetable deal this season.

Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $8300 to New York City.


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Michigan Asparagus Shipments; Update on Remaining U.S. Potatoes to be Shipped; Plus Vidalia Onions

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A16Asparagus loadings out of Michigan  have started.  Meanwhile, here’s an update on how many potatoes remain to be shipped for the 2017-18 shipping season.

Michigan asparagus shipments are just getting underway and will continue into late June with good volumes coming in time for the Memorial weekend, May 26 – 28.

One of the larger Michigan asparagus companies that grows, packs and ships is Todd Greiner Farms Packing LLC of Hart, MI.  The company recently completed a 20,000-square-foot addition to its packinghouse, which is the second expansion in the last year.  This includes two new controlled atmosphere/cold storage rooms and two new shipping and receiving docks. Greiner Farms also ships other vegetables and watermelons.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Vidalia certified sweet onions are grown in 20 southeastern Georgia counties by 80 farmers and available in the spring and summer months.  However, the majority of the onions are located in only two counties.  In 2017, Georgia shippers had almost 230 million pounds of Vidalia onions.  Similar volume is seen this season, and shipments got underway April 20th.

U.S. Potato Shipments

U.S. potatoes remaining in storages to be shipped as of April 1st were up 2 percent from year-ago.  The USDA reports the 13 major potato shipping states held 134 million cwt. of potatoes in storage.  Potatoes in storage accounted for 33 percent of the fall storage states’ 2017 production, 1 percent more than last year.

Idaho potatoes remaining to be shipped totaled 50 million cwt.  off 4 pecent from 52 million cwt. from last year.  As a percent of production, Idaho potato stocks represented 38 percent of the state’s 2017 production, up 1 percent from a year ago.

In Washington, the state with the second-highest amount of potatoes remaining in storage, the USDA reported 30 million cwt. of potatoes. That was up 3.4 percent from 29 million cwt. the same time a year ago. Washington’s stocks accounted for 30 percent of 2017 potato shipments, up from 27 percent in 2016.

Idaho potatoes from Twin Falls area to New York City – grossing about $5300.

Washington potatoes from the Columbia Basin – grossing about $4500 to Chicago.



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Green Giant Fresh Launches New Fresh Vegetable Meal Bowls Line

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A2By Green Giant

Salinas, CA – Green Giant™ Fresh has launched a new line of fresh vegetable Meal Bowls with six distinct world flavors. All bowls are microwave-safe and ready in just minutes making them a convenient meal option for time-starved consumers and people who are on the go but don’t want to forego nutrition or flavor for fast foods or quick meals. Just heat, stir in included sauce/seasoning packet and enjoy!

Plans for expanding this line are already in the works, while the original Meal Bowl flavors include:

  • Burrito Bowl
  • Fried Rice Bowl
  • Pad Thai Bowl
  • Rancheros Bowl
  • Buddha Bowl
  • Ramen Bowl

The bowls are comprised of different Green Giant Fresh value-added vegetable mixes and blends including items from their Cauliflower Crumbles® line—the original chopped cauliflower product that kicked off the riced/chopped veggie craze in 2016—and items from their 2017 Vegetable Noodles line.

Each vegan-friendly meal bowl comes with a sauce/seasoning packet that’s full of flavors ranging from sweet and tangy to zesty and savory. Other bowl additives include roasted chickpeas (Buddha Bowl) and dry roasted edamame (Ramen Bowl).  Other protein preferences (e.g. chicken, shrimp, beef, tofu, egg) can also be easily added to any of the bowls, delivering the versatility to customize bowls to any palate, or to create a complete rounded meal.

“We know consumers are on the go and looking for healthy and nutritious foods, swaps and meal alternatives,” said Jamie Strachan, chief executive officer, Green Giant Fresh. Continuing, “Our meal bowls line was developed in response to this demand, then refined and perfected with our premium vegetable products, along with desirable flavors that give each bowl its distinctive personality.”

About Green Giant™ Fresh

Green Giant™ Fresh is an industry-leading fresh vegetable brand in the U.S. with a full line of commodity vegetables, as well as many first-to-market products. Their comprehensive line of fresh vegetables – covering every major commodity and vegetable category – is complemented by their extensive line of unique and innovative value-added items.

As the only fresh produce brand featuring Box Tops for Education™ clips, Green Giant Fresh has contributed over $2 million to this worthy cause, which benefits America’s K-8 schools nationwide. Box Tops clips can be found on over 100 of their products. Related website:

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Chilean Citrus is Coming; Ecuadorian Gooseberries a New U.S. Import

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A49Here is a look at imports involving Mexican limes, Chilean citrus and Gooseberries from Ecuador.

Lime Shipments

By last March Mexico has provided 97 percent of the U.S. total lime shipments, with only light volume reported from Colombia.  Lime supplies are finally improving after being in short supply due to weather factors. Pro*Act LLC of Monterey CA imports Mexican limes and sees retail prices dropping as supplies improve. 

Chilean Citrus

Nearly 48 tons of Chilean clementines from Valparaiso departed for the West Coast of the U.S. April 2nd kicking off the new season.

The season was launched a week earlier than the season of 2017.  Observers expect volume to increase quickly as more orchards begin harvesting, according to a news release from the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association in San Carols, CA.

The Chilean Citrus Committee expects a strong season with increased clementine volume, according to the release.

“We’re expecting consistently high-quality fruit this year. We had very favorable temperatures this autumn, with warm days and cooler nights, and last year’s strong rainfall has also provided plenty of water for irrigation,” Juan Enrique Ortuzar, committee president, said in the release.

Ecuadorian Gooseberries

The USDA has approved fresh Ecuadorian cape gooseberries being imported by U.S. under a new proposal from the ag department.

Comments on the proposal will be accepted until June 18, according to the USDA.

Imports of the fruit — also called ground cherries, goldenberry and physalis — will be allowed from Ecuador under what the USDA calls a systems approach.

U.S. import levels for fresh cape gooseberry fruit are not known, according to the USDA, because the fruit is combined in U.S. trade statistics with black, white, and red currants.

In 2015, the U.S. imported approximately 78.7 metric tons of gooseberries and currants valued at about $476,000.

The U.S. does not produce fresh cape gooseberry fruit commercially, according to the USDA



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Study Shows Fewer, but Larger Produce Farming Operations

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applepixA new study shows the size of fruit and vegetable farming operations is steadily increasing.

While the report does not address it, does this mean more loading opportunities for produce haulers at fewer locations?

“Three decades of consolidation in U.S. agriculture,” a U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service report said that the midpoint acreage (half of farms are below the midpoint acreage and half the farms are above it) for fruit, nut and berry operations increased in 19 of 20 crops between 1987 and 2012, with the average increase pegged at 110 percent. Except for lemon farms, which declined in size 16 percent from 1987 to 2012, all other fruit operations grew in size, the report reads.

The report was written by James MacDonald, Robert Hoppe and Doris Newton.

There has been evidence that average farm size has been slowing in the last decade, MacDonald said, but he added the long-term trend has been large and persistent across all crops.

For vegetable and melon crops, there has been a “clear slowing” of consolidation from 2007 to 2012 for vegetable and melon crops.  Midpoint acreage declined in six of 20 crops, and the average increase was 10 percent over that five-year period, compared with previous five-year gains averaging 20 percent.

Technology has been a driver in larger farm sizes, MacDonald said.

For fruit and vegetable crops, Florida has faced urbanization pressures that have held down average farm sizes. Over the past 30 years, California has seen growers move out of field crops such as grains and into almonds, fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops.

Across all crops, the USDA reported 51 percent of the value of U.S. farm production came from farms with at least $1 million in sales, up from 31 percent in 1991.

Land consolidation in fruits and vegetables and nuts, 1987-2012

Midpoint for harvested acreage (half of operations larger, half of operations smaller)

1987             2012         Change

Almonds       203                547           169 percent

Apples            83                179           116 percent

Asparagus    160                200            44 percent

Avocados        40                  50            25 percent

Blueberries      50                100           100 percent

Cantaloupe    400                350            -12 percent

Grapes           205                420            105 percent

Grapefruit       320                573               79 percent

Lettuce           949              1,275              34 percent

Pistachios      465                  926              99 percent

Potatoes        350                1,054             21 percent

Strawberries    24                   180             650 percent

Tangerines       55                    336           511 percent

Tomatoes        400                   930           133 percent

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Argentina Lemons will be Available for First Time in Years

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A24Patience is a virtue if you are wanting to get through the bureaucratic red tape and import South American lemons, at least those from Argentina.  But the long wait is over as shipments are arriving at U.S. ports to be trucked across North America.

The first U.S. bound lemons in 17 years from Argentina’s Tucumán citrus growing region arrive this week after departing that South American country April 18th.

Argentina had been seeking to have exports of lemons to the U.S. allowed since 2001, when a U.S. District Court in California overturned a USDA rule from a year earlier allowing lemon imports from Argentina.

Argentina’s provinces of Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy will export between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tons of lemons to the U.S. during the 2018 season.  Most of Argentina’s lemon shipments are expected in June and July.

Argentina’s lemon exports in 2017 totaled 241,000 metric tons, with the top destinations listed as Spain, Russia, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece and Canada.

Argentina Lemons

Argentia’s lemons will be arriving in the U.S. through Citromax, Carlstadt, N.J.

The company has over 13,000 acres of lemons in Tucuman, Argentina. .

“We are very proud to say that Citromax is the only American-owned lemon producer that is packing and selling lemons into the United States retail market,” Vivian Glueck, president of the Citromax Group, said in a news release. “We are thrilled that the recent lifting of trade restrictions has opened up the U.S. market, and we are moving ahead with bringing the highest-quality lemon fruit to American consumers.”

A February court decision in favor of the USDA’s approval of the import of Argentine lemons allows the fruit into the U.S. for the first time in 17 years.

The lemons will carry Citromax brands, and are being imported by Seald Sweet, The Oppenheimer Group and Vision Import Group; those companies will also market the lemons.

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Coachella Valley Shipments of Grapes, Vegetables to be Mostly Average in Volume

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A19California desert shipments for fresh grapes and vegetables from the Coachella Valley are gearing up.

California’s Coachella Valley grape shipments should get underway in very light volume around May 10th, with loadings to be down only slightly from last season.

Table grapes are grown from 7,000-acres in the area located just east of Palm Springs. Volume should be about 4 to 4.5 million 18-pound cartons, down from about 4.8 million cartons a year ago. While some shipping operation finish earlier than others, some such as Richard Bagdasarian Inc. of Mecca, CA continue through the middle of July.

Early variety grapes in the Coachella Valley will have lighter volume due to inadequate chill hours. However, the midseason or later grapes in the Coachella Valley should have more normal volumes, which should start occurring by the end of May, just in time for shipments for Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28.

From Memorial Day into June Coachella grapes shipments should be at a peak.  Coachella grape volume is miniscule compared to grape shipments from the San Joaquin Valley that will get underway by late June or early July as the Coachella season is winding down.

Vegetable Shipments

Coachella Valley vegetable shipments are expected to be average this season with items such as peppers, watermelons and sweet corn, with good volume during May and June.

Prime Time International, which is headquartered in Coachella, is expecting good shipments of colored red, yellow and orange peppers as well as watermelons and sweet corn during May and June. The Coachella Valley shipping season typically lasts about eight weeks and typically ends when the desert temperatures get too hot.   Coachella watermelon shipments are expected to be heavier than normal this season..

Coachella Valley

The Coachella Valley is a desert valley in Southern California extending approximately 45 miles in Riverside County southeast from the San Bernardino MountainsS to the northern shore of the Salton Sea.  It is approximately 15 miles wide along most of its length, bounded on the west by the San Jacinto Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains on the north and east by the Little San Bernardino Mountains.  The San Andres Fault crosses the valley from the Chocolate Mountains in the southeast corner and along the centerline of the Little San Bernardinos. The fault is easily visible along its northern length as a strip of greenery against an otherwise bare mountain.

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News Briefs: Idaho Potatoes; Temperature Recorders Introduced; and Oakland Port has New Plan

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A23In the news, Idaho potato crop value soars, while temperature recorders are introduced at Wal-Mart distribution centers. Finally, the Port of Oakland announces 5-year growth plan. 

The value of the 2017 Idaho potato crop was 22 percent more the previous year as it  hit a record $1.2 billion, according to the USDA.

However, harvested acreage in the state was down 5 percent and yields were down 1.2 percent.  Half those potatoes — whether fresh, frozen or dehydrated — end up on restaurant menus and at other foodservice operations, says the Idaho Potato Commission, which accounts for 13 billion pounds.

“Consumers are demanding a broader variety of creative and ethnic foods that would often be too challenging, costly and time consuming to prepare at home,” Don Odiorne, the commission’s vice president of foodservice/website, said in a release.  “A variety of Idaho potatoes products and recipe options help operators meet that demand.”

Temperature Recorders

 Cargo Data temperature recorders have been approved by Wal-Mart distribution centers for use by their inspectors and receivers.  The instruments are provided in self-hanging protective plastic pouches for protection from moisture and other contaminants.  The pouches are also bright orange, which makes it easier for the Inspectors/Receivers to find the instrument within your shipment.  Cargo Data’s Wal-Mart approved temperature recorders are $8.50/ea plus shipping, packed in cases of 20.

Port of Oakland has New 5- Year Plan

A new five-year strategic plan has been announced by The Port of Oakland (Calif.) which will serve as a blueprint for expansion.

Dubbed “Growth with Care,” the plan outlines projections for record business volumes for aviation and maritime businesses, capital investments for major projects and an emphasis on sustainability.

“We can grow, but we want our neighbors to grow with us,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said in a news release about the 21-page document.

Cargo volume should reach 2.6 million 20-foot-equivalent containers (TEUs) by 2022, according to the plan, an increase of 8 percent.

Two projects will help with that increase:

  • Cool Port Oakland, a 283,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center that is set to open this summer, and
  • A 440,000-square-foot distribution center planned at the nearby Seaport Logistics Complex.

Curbing diesel emissions is also a part of the strategic plan, and truck emissions at the port have been cut 98 percent since 2009, and vessel emissions have declined 76 percent.

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California Cherry Shipments are Starting with Fewer Loadings than Last Season

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36287528 - rush trucking. speeding blue semi truck on the american highway. trucking concept.

36287528 – rush trucking. speeding blue semi truck on the american highway. trucking concept.

California cherry shipments are just getting underway in light volume with early season varieties, with the total volume expected to be less this season.

Peak loadings for the early varieties should occur from May 8th to May 20th and good volume coming from the later districts in late May and early June.

While most observers agree total California cherry shipments will be down from last season’s record 9.6 million cartons, just how much of a decline seems open to debate.

Most observers are pegging shipments will fall between 4.5 million and 7 million cartons this season.  Cherry shipper King Fresh Produce of Dinuba, CA has been quoted as expecting total loads to be around 6 and 7 million cartons.  Some others see it being more like 4.5 million to 5 million cartons.

Average to above average cherry shipments are expected from the later producing cherry districts, but this won’t make up for lighter volume starting the season, according to Chinchiolo Stemilt Growers in Stockton, CA.

The five-year average for California cherry shipments is 6.7 million cartons.

Morada Produce of Linden, CA  believes the lighter early season loadings may reduce shipments to about 6.5 million cartons this year.  Bing cherry shipments should start about May 22nd, with the peak bing volume  coming the last week of May and the first eight days of June.

Cherry shipments should be a little lighter from Frenso south although this isn’t quite set in stone yet.

The Patterson district, which is just a little southwest of Stockton, seems to have a strong crop.  Cherry shipments in the coastal district of Hollister and Gilroy should finish about June 15.

Northwest cherry volume could start around June 8th.

Huron head lettuce in the San Joaquin Valley is in final weeks of season – grossing abut $8000 to New York City, $5800 to Chicago.

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