Posts Tagged “feature”

Florida Avocado Shipments Should Rebound this Season

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Normal Florida avocado shipments have not been seen since 2017 and optimism abounds 2019 is the year of rebound for this tropical fruit.

Brooks Tropicals Inc. of Homes reports in 2017 it was Hurricane Irma which devastated the Florida avocado crop and 2018 the fruit was still recuperating.

Southern Florida, where avocados are the Miami-Dade area’s second largest crop, has had excellent weather with warm temperatures and adequate rains. The season for Florida avocados typically begins in June and continues until February or March.

M&M Farm Inc. of Miami expects to grow and ship around 800,000 bushels this season. In 2018 due to the previous-year hurricane and declining (laurel wilt) acreage, the entire Florida avocado industry only shipped about 500,00 bushels.

Limeco LLC of Princeton, FL recently launched its avocado season. The company notes the 2018-19 crop was only about 60 percent of normal, due to the after-effects of the 2017 storms.

Unity Groves of Homestead, FL is looking forward to normal avocado shipments this season as their avocado trees have rebound from the adverse effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

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IMG Citrus Adds 4,000-Acre Grove to Portfolio

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By IMB Citrus

VERO BEACH, FL – IMG Citrus, a family-owned, vertically-integrated citrus grower, packer, and shipper in Vero Beach, FL, announced the acquisition of one of the largest grapefruit groves in St. Lucie County. The 4,000-acre grove increases their control of citrus land management in Florida by over 75 percent, securing their position as an established citrus leader in the state of Florida, and solidifying their commitment to the industry. The grove has been renamed Happy Food Grove, after their main consumer brand “Happy Food,” which can be found in supermarkets across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

“Investing in agri-business is always risky, but citrus is even more so today because of Greening,” said Michel Sallin, IMG Citrus President. “We know Florida grapefruit is the best in the world. We believe in this industry and we believe in Florida grapefruit. A solution to Greening will be found, and when that day comes, we’ll be ready.”

While Greening remains a threat, IMG Citrus’ production model utilizes innovative practices and technologies to keep groves productive and profitable.

“We have adopted a more aggressive approach to production, focusing on high density, and super high density planting methods to help combat Greening by creating a more controlled environment,” said Brian Randolph, Director of Grove Production. “In the new grove, we can optimize nutrient and water management, a critical factor for production in a Greening environment. This level of precision not only helps keep the trees healthy, but it’s more environmentally sustainable by reducing water use and nutrient runoff.”

An additional 397 undeveloped tree acres will be home to the company’s new grove redevelopment project, with 273 acres of citrus trees to be set within high-density planting blocks predicted to produce mature fruit within three years, and 124 acres of trees set within existing traditional blocks.

Their high density planting methods were fine-tuned over the last three years at their groves at Cherrylake, IMG Citrus’ sister company, also founded and operated by the Sallin family.

“Cherrylake was originally all citrus groves,” explains Sallin. “We lost nearly everything during the freezes in the 1980’s. Rather than shut everything down, we adapted by turning our Cherrylake property into a thriving, ornamental tree farm that focuses on landscape construction and maintenance, while moving our citrus operation down south to where it is today. 75 Acres of land at Cherrylake is still dedicated to citrus, where we have been able to explore new varieties and high density planting methods.”

The newly-acquired Happy Food Grove also contains a 300-acre reservoir, and is home to native wildlife including deer, wild turkey, alligators, Roseate Spoonbills, and Blue Herons.

“We are stewards of our environment, and we diligently protect the quality of our air, land, and water,” said  Sallin. “We realize that we do not own our land, but rather, we are borrowing it from future generations. Our best management practices help ensure our horticultural practices are in line with this philosophy.”

In addition to the land purchase, the acquisition also included transitioning 17 existing grove employees to IMG Citrus.

“It was important to us that we did not disrupt the operation of the grove, and more importantly, that the employees felt reassured that IMG Citrus would continue to provide them the opportunity to work and grow within the company,” said Joaquin Perez, Human Resources Manager. “Our goal is to make the transition as easy and as seamless as possible, and I think we’ve done that well through open communication. Employees have kept their same positions, they’re just part of a bigger family now.”

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About IMG Citrus:

IMG Citrus is a second-generation citrus grower, packer, marketer, and shipper in Vero Beach, Florida, with over 9,000 acres of productive AGland. Family owned and operated for over 35 years, IMG Citrus was founded by Michel and Veronique Sallin. Born and raised on a French farm, Michel has a genuine love for sustainable agriculture, and an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels a passion for using the most innovative processes and technologies. Today, a second generation of family-operators is involved and working alongside the most professional industry leaders that make up the IMG Citrus team.

About Happy Food:

Happy Food is IMG Citrus’ primary consumer brand, and is marketed in North America, Europe, and Asia. The brand features bright colors, happy fruit faces, and is used to pack citrus including grapefruit, oranges, and mandarins grown in Florida, as well as South America and Mexico. Since its launch in 2013, Happy Food continues to re-energize the citrus aisle with a cheerful, contemporary brand that promotes a healthy, happy lifestyle.

About IMG Enterprises:

IMG Enterprises, the holding company for IMG Citrus, is a Florida owned and operated family agri-business with divisions in citrus, real estate, mitigation banking, and landscape construction. The mission of IMG Enterprises is to manage a sustainable enterprise rooted in the land which benefits its family, employees, and community, while having a positive impact on the environment. With over 500 employees, the company ranks 31st on the list of Top Privately Held Companies by the Orlando Business Journal.

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Good Movement Continues with Apple Shipments

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By Stemilt Growers

WENATCHEE, Wash. – The apple season continues to roar along and Stemilt’s latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts analysis is proof of strong category performance in March 2019.

According to Nielsen scan data, apples made up 8.2 percent of fresh produce sales on average in the U.S. between February 24 and March 30. The volume of apples was down 1.8 percent year-over-year and dollars were up a nominal 0.2 percent.

“With less volume in this crop and supplies starting to dwindle because of seasonality, we expect to see strengthening apple prices in the coming months,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager. “The 2019-20 apple crop is trending two weeks later than last season’s crop start and that will add pressure on supply and demand during the late summer transition.”

Regionally, the Midwest topped the national average, with apples making up 9.4 percent of fresh produce sales in March 2019. The Northeast was second with 7.7 percent of fresh produce sales from apples, followed by the South at 7.5 percent and the West at 7.8 percent.

The top five apple varieties in March 2019 were: Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith. Gala volumes were up 14 percent year-over-year with dollars also up double-digits at 10.7 percent. Gala accounted for 27 percent of March apple sales. Honeycrisp has also seen volume growth of 9.3 percent and dollar growth of 7.2 percent when compared to March 2018. Honeycrisp made up 24 percent of apple dollars in March.

“Gala has been moving in a positive direction all season. The quality of Gala this year has helped this top variety and helped drive consumer demand for apples,” said Shales.

Stemilt’s signature apple, Pinata®, saw sales increases in March 2019 when compared to the year prior. Fueled by good sizing and great eating qualities, volumes of the tropical apple were up 4 percent and dollars up 6 percent in March.

The average retail price of apples in March 2019 was $1.69 per pound. Organic apples were up nearly 2 percent in volume year-over-year and made up more than 9 percent of total apple volumes sold in March 2019. The average retail price for organics was $2.19 per pound, a 30 percent premium over conventional apples.


About Stemilt

Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic tree fruits.

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Largest Peach Shipper in the Eastern U.S. Kicks Off Season

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By Titan Farms

RIDGE SPRING, S.C. –  Titan Farms, the premier grower, packer and processor of peaches in the Eastern United States, has kicked off another season of South Carolina peaches, with initial loadings that took place in time for Memorial Day celebrations.

Titan Farms is the second largest producer of peaches in the country behind California and the largest producer in the East Coast with over 6,000 acres in production.

“We’re the only vertically integrated peach grower on the East Coast. We grow it, we pack it, we sell it. This gives us optimal control over quality at all times,” says Daryl Johnston, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Titan Farms.s

“We’re excited to get peach season started here in South Carolina,” says, Johnston. “We had an optimal winter that will provide our customers with a great tasting peach throughout the season. With an increasing interest in consumer packs – especially the two-pound bag, volume fill and retail promotions, we’re looking forward to an exciting year with our partners. At the end of the day, our goal is to help our retail partners grow their peach category. We are supporting them with a range of different retail promotions to help drive their sales.”

About Titan Farms

Titan Farm peaches will be shipping from the end of May through early September to retailers across the U.S.

Based in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, Titan Farms is the premier grower, packer and shipper of over 3 million boxes of fresh peaches, broccoli and bell peppers annually.

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Melon Varieties are Added to Mix at Dan Andrews Farms

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Two varieties of melons are being added to the line up this season by Dan Andrews Farms LLC of Bakerfield, CA.

Over the year the firm has grown honeydews, cantaloupes and watermelons and this season is adding orange-flesh honeydews as well as hami melon that shaped like a football, which have white flesh and an exterior yellow rind with a touch of green.

Hami melons taste similar to honeydews, but are more of an Asian specialty melon.

The company has reduced cantaloupe acreage to add the new melons, which were requested by customers. The produce will bein June and July.

Andrews Farms also has gone back to growing carrots after dropping the item a couple of years ago. The carrots will include jumbo and short-cut carrots for Grimmway Farms in Bakersfield.

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2016 Presidential Election was the Perfect Storm for Trump

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By Larry Oscar

Now that the Mueller investigation is completed, you just have to marvel at the absolute stupidity of it all.

It’s not hard to figure out why the 2016 presidential election turned out the way it did. After all it was a perfect storm. And it sure was fun watching it happen. To understand the sequence of events you need to go back to the 1992 election. In 1992 Bill Clinton defeated George Bush because of an independent named Ross Perot. Ross Perot got about 19 percent of the conservative vote which cost George Bush the election.

Now you fast forward to 2016 and you can see what the Clintons were afraid of. This time around they had an independent candidate that was running for president named Bernie Sanders. The only problem, he was a liberal. This must have struck fear into old thunder thighs Hillary. She could see the same thing happening to her as happened with George Bush. So, she cooked up a new strategy.

The Clintons needed to defeat Bernie Sanders in the primary election. That would insure he used up almost all of his campaign funds and prevent him from competing in the general election by running as an independent. So they invited him to compete in the Democratic primary election. The only risk factor was that the Clintons needed to assure themselves there was absolutely no way Bernie could win the primary. They did this by loaning the Democratic Committee over $20 million and rigging the primary election process with so called super delegates. This would insure just in case the primary voters actually voted for Bernie they could nullify the voters choice and coronate queen Hillary.

This is something that every Democrat voter should be up in arms about, but they’re not. Well, maybe one Democrat was. As usual the best plans of mice and men always seem to go awry. Here is good lesson we all should learn. You almost never get into trouble for what you don’t say. You almost always get into trouble for what you do say. With all of their money and political hacks in place there was no way Hillary could lose except for one small detail. Hillary and her cronies had communicated their plans by email to Debbie Wassermann-Shultz who was the DNC party head at that time. And they did it on a server that some stupid Democrat set the computer password to “PASSWORD”.

Now you just can’t make this stuff up. How absolutely stupid can you be? It’s my guess someone who was a Bernie supporter found these emails and was livid about what they had discovered. They turned them over to Wiki Leaks who published them and blew the entire rigged election scheme wide open. Wasserman-Shultz had to resign.

Enough Bernie supporters stayed home or voted for Donald Trump and the rest is now history. Now you throw in all the fake news the Russians posted on the internet. Mix it well with all the stupid things Hillary told the voters like, “We’re going to put a lot of you coal miners out of work. But don’t worry we’re going to retrain you for other jobs.”

Another good one was when she tried to get people who were voting for Trump to support her by calling them deplorable. Every good politician knows you can insult voters into voting for you don’t they? My guess is the one who was most surprised by the 2016 election results was Donald Trump himself.

Now all the while this was going on the FBI and DOJ had their own issues. If they went hard on Hillary for her other e-mail scandal then they were going to be in the Clinton crosshairs after she won the election. They didn’t want to lose their big fat government retirement checks. So Comey, McCabe, Struck, Page, and the rest all played along and let Hillary slide. Then they cooked up an “insurance policy” to prevent Trump from winning by using a Clinton paid for fake dossier from Russia. All to get a FISA court warrant to spy on Trump. This was better than an old Pink Panther movie.

The Clintons are out millions and lost the election. The Mueller investigation cost tax payers well over $25 million. The Democrats are in complete chaos and have a bunch of total losers running for president in 2020. Congress remains dysfunctional and has a group of air heads like AOC and Omar to deal with. And the UK was inspired by this mess and voted to pull out of the European Union.

Now let’s not forget our good old friends the Russians. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in disrupting our country. I bet they are sitting around, sipping vodka, and wondering… “How could we have possibly lost that ‘Cold War’ thing to these idiots?”

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California Cherry Shipments Taking Plunge Due to Rains

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Following the wettest May in memory, not only is the season getting a late start, but California cherry growers see fewer shipments due to rain-related fruit damage.

Chinchiolo Stemilt (Stockton) California, whose cherries are marketed by Stemilt Growers of Wenatchee, WA., estimates the statewide cherry crop to be slashed 50 percent, or 5.25 million boxes, of the 10.5 million boxes estimated at the season’s start.

The company relates it may come in lower, depending on the condition of the fruit on the remaining trees.

Harvest of the bing variety, the state’s largest-volume cherry may suffer the most damage of any of the varieties.

Early season estimates for bings were 4.5 million cartons, which was conservative. The California cherry industry plans to continue packing into the middle of June, but volume is expected to be significantly reduced.

If the current rough estimate holds true, production would be close to the 6-year average of 6.5 million boxes. Quality cherries are predicted to be shipped from June 5 to the 20th, despite orchards having significant fruit damage.

El Camino Packing Inc. of Gilroy, CA., grows and packs cherries from about 200 acres. The operation is reported 20 to 40 percent of its early cherries being cracked because of excess rain. Later blocks appear to have less damage.

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New Dry Onion Joint Venture is Launched by California, Oregon Shippers

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By Coastline Family Farms

SALINAS, CA – Coastline Family Farms a western vegetable grower/shipper with locations in Salinas CA, Yuma AZ and Brawley CA., has announced the formation of a new dry onion growing and packing joint venture with Madison Ranches located in Echo, OR. The new venture will be named Madison-Cox Onions, LLC.

The Madison-Cox Onions joint venture will produce red and yellow bulb onions in Hermiston Oregon with the first harvest in September 2019 and shipping through March of 2020. Madison Ranches will be responsible for the production, storage, packing and shipping for the new venture.

Larry Cox, the CEO and grower/owner of Coastline said “My family has been growing red, yellow and white dry onions in the Imperial Valley of California for over 35 years. With the dynamics of the produce marketplace, we wanted to consolidate our onion sales under the Coastline Family Farms structure and develop an all year round onion program on the west coast.

We have known the Madison family for some time, they have a reputation for producing high quality premium onions in the Hermiston region of Oregon and knew they would be the right partner to help expand our production footprint.”

“Larry, myself, and our teams began discussing working together in the Pacific Northwest last fall. We are very excited about the opportunity to put together a quality oriented, year round onion program.” said Jake Madison, a 4th generation farmer and CEO of Madison Ranches. “Our two family farming companies are very similar which helps build a strong foundation of trust, shared values and a focus on a customer centric business model”.

“We started construction…on our new packing and storage facility which will feature a state-of-the-art, optical grading, sorting and packing line, capable of meeting the needs of our clients with onion bags ranging from 10-50lb. We focused the design on automation and state of the art equipment in order to deliver a premium product to our customers. ” added Jonathan Miller, General Manager of the Madison-Cox Onions joint venture..

“Coastline Family Farms will handle the sales and marketing for the joint venture.” said Tonya Giotta, Vice President for Foodservice Sales. The onion and vegetable sales veteran is joined by Carly Kwak-Bauch, Vice President of Product and Channel Development. Both women previously worked together at River Point Farms and were tapped by Coastline to develop a new dry onion business unit.

“The addition of the Madison-Cox joint venture in Oregon, gives Coastline a year-round, integrated west coast supply base. This enables us to provide national and regional foodservice operators, distributors, wholesalers and retail clients with a consistent year-round supply of premium dry onions.” added Tonya.

About Coastline Family Farms

Coastline Family Farms was founded in 1991 and is owned by Larry and Tina Cox. The company is a year-round grower-shipper of premium vegetables from California, Arizona and Mexico. Four generations of the Cox family have actively farmed throughout California for over 95 yrs. Today the company grows permanent, rotational and vegetable crops on over 10,000 acres of farmland in conjunction with a handful of highly respected, quality-focused family growers. This integrated grower/packer/shipper alignment, provides a product line which includes lettuces (iceberg, red & green leaf, and romaine) and a wide range of vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, green onions, dry onions (red, yellow and white) and more.

About Madison Ranches

Since 1917 the Madison family has farmed the rich soils of the Southern Columbia Basin in Oregon. Today the 4th generation, Jake and Heather Madison manage nearly 10,000 irrigated acres producing onions, vegetables, seed crops, grains, organic crops, cattle, and feed crops. Continuing the over 100 year tradition of sustainable agricultural farming, the Madison’s use pioneering water conservation practices including cutting edge irrigation management systems, aquifer recharge along with aquifer storage and recovery (sub surface water basin replenishment and storage), and green power generation (wind, solar, and hydro).

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Celebrating our 51st Wedding Anniversary!

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Today is the 51st wedding anniversary for my wife Vivian and I.

It doesn’t seem that long ago I met Viv at a 4th of July church picnic. It wasn’t totally by accident as my older bother had invited me to his church a week earlier and I briefly met her there.

It’s been quite a journey and I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. We have a beautiful daughter and wonderful son-in-law, as well as a precious 5-year old grandson.

Throughout my career as a writer, mostly with trucking and produce related publications, I have had her unwavering support. Nearly all of those years I was self employed as an independent contractor. She handles the books, taxes, etc. She also can be a pretty good editor.

During most of my career in journalism there was a lot of travel. I’ve visited many produce shippers, and wholesalers, as well as transportation companies over four-plus decades, located from coast-to-coast.

I give Viv much of the credit for being there during the critical years to raise our daughter who today is an excellent physical therapist in home health. We also are so proud of her for being an extraordinary mother and wife. Our son-in-law is also very special and talented.

My wife is loving, caring and a blessing to all who know her. We are blessed with relatively good health and are thankful for our family and friends. We also are thankful to all of you who make possible.

What a life we have shared and most of it has been made possible by living in the greatest country in the world. May God bless America and each of you.

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Study Sheds Light on Who Buys Produce and Why

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Shoppers of produce who purchase fresh cut (referred to value-added) items often or whenever possible tend to fall into several categories.

Core value-added shoppers were found by The Food and Marketing Institute in a study found that 47 percent have a six-figure household income, 47 percent make three or more shopping trips a week, and 43 percent order produce online. The results have been released in the 2019 Power of Produce report.

Additonally, 40 percent of core value-added buyers are also core local buyers, and 36 percent are also core organic buyers.

“Core value-added shoppers are interesting to retailers, with above-average spending and weekly trips,” FMI wrote in the report. “Much like seen in organic, the presence of children is a point of entry, particularly among high-income shoppers. In urban areas, expanded assortment is likely to do well, including organic value-added assortment and kid-focused solutions.”

Two years ago, 20 percent of shoppers fell into that category. Now the number is 28 percent.

“Despite the increase in purchase frequency, there is significant room for growth, with 64 percent of shoppers being occasional users, at best,” FMI wrote. “Overall, value-added users skew toward higher-income shoppers, older millennials, often with young kids living at home.”

The core value-added shoppers reported several variables that would prompt them to purchase more — better prices (57 percent), longer shelf-life (39 percent), greater assortment (39 percent), greater variety of flavors (36 percent) and better organic offering (32 percent).

Many consumers who land in the category of sometimes buying value-added produce are Gen X (47 percent). Within that periphery group, 49 percent eat fresh fruits and vegetables 4-5 days a week, 47 percent make two trips a week, and 47 percent have a household income of less than $35,000.

For that shopper segment, key triggers to buy more were better prices (63 percent) and longer shelf-life (37 percent), according to the report.

Among consumers who hardly ever buy value-added produce, many are baby boomers (37 percent), limited-assortment shoppers (31 percent), two-person households (33 percent) and people who eat produce less than three times a week (35 percent).

In that group, 58 percent said better prices would prompt them to buy more, but 17 percent said they were unlikely to buy more regardless of changes made.

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