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U.K.: Tesco to stock world’s hottest chilli pepper

A cursory YouTube search for the Carolina Reaper chilli pepper is a curious exercise in Schadenfreude, which is a German word defined as “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune”.

However, the demand for extremely hot peppers is clearly there with last year’s launch of the Komodo Dragon pepper at Tesco proving a hit with shoppers.

Now the retailer has upped the ante with the Carolina Reaper going on sale today.

In a release, Tesco highlighted the pepper was the hottest in the world according to the Guinness Book Of Records, measuring an average 1.5 million Scoville units, but another independent test recorded last year registered a Carolina Reaper grown in Bedfordshare as reaching a mouth-numbing 2.2 million Scovilles.

To give some idea of the phenomenal heat – it is about more than 400 times hotter than a jalapeno, the chilli pepper commonly used on spicy take away or supermarket made pizzas.

Carolina reaper - Tesco

“The Carolina Reaper is absolute meltdown material – it’s one for absolute hot food connoisseurs,” said Tesco chilli pepper buyer Phoebe Burgess.

Tesco said the pepper still had a wonderful fruity taste despite it being astonishingly hot, suggesting only a sliver is needed to add exciting flavor to a curry.

“Last year the Komodo Dragon became our most popular chilli pepper ever and since then we’ve been inundated with requests from customers to see if we could go one better and thanks to the fantastic growing skills of our chilli producer we’ve done that,” Burgess said.

The Carolina Reaper is being grown by the UK’s largest producer of chilli peppers, Salvatore Genovese whose seven acre farm is based in Blunham, Bedfordshire.

Genovese only started growing chilli peppers 15 years ago after he took over his parents’ cucumber business.

Since then chilli peppers have become so popular that he now grows about one million, or 15 metric tons (MT), each week just to satisfy U.K. demand.

“Chilli pepper culture has become very popular in the UK over the last five years and on the back of the acclaim I’ve received from supplying Tesco I now get requests from all over the world,” Genovese said.

“The fantastic success of the Komodo Dragon proved that Brits are among the world’s greatest lovers of chilli peppers.

“But I wonder if the Carolina Reaper will test British palates just a touch too much?”

Tesco has become well-known for its top of the heat range chilli peppers and over the last few years has stocked the Trinidad Scorpion, Bhut Jolokia and Bedfordshire Super Naga.

The trend runs in parallel to similar demand seen across the Atlantic Ocean in the United States, where consumers are also jostling to test their palates with the world’s spiciest peppers.

Tesco pepper chart

www.freshfruitportal.com

FreshFruitPortal.com

Chile pepper grower seeks support for improved grades and standards for category

A Florida-based grower-shipper of chile peppers is lobbying the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Division to establish a USDA Grade and Delivery standard for the category, positing that it will benefit the industry at large.IMG 3585

Steve Veneziano, vice president of sales and operations for Oakes Farms, based in Immokalee, FL, said the company grades its own chile peppers as everyone else does Bell peppers, with grades of Fancy, No. 1 and No. 2 quality. He believes that if all shippers followed similar guidelines, the chile pepper category would benefit.

“With no grade contract established, the chile pepper category is fairly stagnant because they don’t have the proper sell-through, they have a lot of shrink, and produce managers don’t want to merchandise them because it’s a high-shrink category,” he said. “And especially during transitional times, some shippers mix No. 2s and poor-quality peppers in the box and they get away with it. Having a grade contract would eliminate that and help the entire industry. The chile pepper category has evolved tremendously over the past five years, and this is what it needs to continue moving forward.”

Veneziano said he recently contacted Jeffrey Davis, business development specialist with the USDA’s specialty crop program, who confirmed that grades and standards currently exist only for sweet peppers, and was told he would need to drum up support from the industry to move forward with his petition.

John Guerra, head of Eastern vegetable sales for S. Katzman Produce in the Bronx, NY, said he is in “100 percent in support of the petition.”

Guerra said the lack of quality standards for various hot peppers has really affected what the consumer thinks a hot pepper or varietal pepper should look like because there is very little restriction.

“Particularly from a terminal market point of view, on a tightly allocated market, everything goes into a box without any consideration on quality or grading, and you pass this along to a consumer who is expecting a certain quality, and it is frustrating,” said Guerra. “We went through a winter of some very unusual weather patterns in Florida, which created some limited availability. While many other grower-shippers were putting anything and everything into a box, Steve was separating them and giving us differentiated product. I feel very lucky that we had Oakes in our portfolio. It’s all about integrity, and Oakes is upholding something that isn’t being followed by all of the industry.”

Guerra said he would be interested in petitioning USDA in support of this movement.

Alan Goldberg, owner of A&B Tropical Produce in Miami, is another proponent of the concept, stating it is “long overdue” to have grading standards for the chile pepper industry.

“When issues come up, there needs to be something solid that people can rely on,” said Goldberg. “The chile pepper category is a growing category and the industry needs this. Really, every item should have a grade standard.”

Asked what benefit the grading standards would bring to the chile pepper industry, Goldberg said, “I think it will create confidence all across the board with both buyers and sellers, who will feel better that there is some protection down the line when it comes to settling disputes. It will limit the grey area. To me, anyone not in favor of implementing grade standards is unscrupulous. Why wouldn’t you want law and order?”

Goldberg said that he, too, is planning to contact USDA in support of this initiative. “I’ll do whatever I can to help promote this situation,” he said.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Israeli pepper growers under pressure from Russian crisis

Israeli pepper growers under pressure from Russian crisis

The quick devaluation of the Russian currency is taking a big toll on exporters and will put huge pressure on many of them. Mr Avi Kadan, of the Israeli company Adafresh, states that “the big question is who will survive and who will not, depending on how much the Rouble will fall.”

This situation has coincided with yet another bad start for Israel’s pepper campaign. “The problem is that I don’t see alternative crops in the Arava Valley, but luckily, it’s only the start of the season; we have another four months to go, and if pepper prices are still reasonable with the new Rouble rates, we will be ok,” affirms Avi.

The key aspect to take into account is that Russia is a very important market for Israeli pepper growers, and Avi assures that Government funds may be needed to help palliate their debts. “The situation for exporters will depend on the percentage that the Russian market represented for them and who their clients were. Those trading with supermarkets in U.S. dollars, for example, will be in a good position.”

For Adafresh, the impact of the Russian crisis will not be as bad, as overall, Russia only accounts for 5% of the company’s business. “We have a strong partner with us and are Europe-oriented, but for sure, other companies lacking marketing channels may suffer.”

Meanwhile, in Europe, the situation is similar, and even a little better than last year. However, “a lot of peppers that were intended for Russia will now end up in Europe, so there is a risk the market may collapse,” states Avi.

This naturally has led Adafresh to look for opportunities in alternative markets, namely in America. “We used to be very strong there, until the air freight price became too expensive for us, but with the current oil price sea freight is an option and the U.S. is certainly becoming again a good option for November December, with the advantage that we won’t need to develop it from scratch,” concludes Avi Kadan.

For more information:
Avi Kadan
Adafresh
Email: [email protected]
www.adafresh.co.il

Publication date: 12/24/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Bad start yet again for Israeli bell pepper

Bad start yet again for Israeli bell pepper

After a number of bad years, this season was looking to be better for Israeli bell pepper growers. The Russian boycott was to give the sector good export opportunities. But nothing could be further from the truth, says Frank Mosterd of Gilad. “It’s as if they switched to eating potatoes and carrots instead of bell peppers.”


Risky market
“Everyone thought it would be exceptional, but the opposite is true. Instead of being a very good market, the Russian market is very risky.” That’s what Frank Mosterd of Gilad says about the Israeli bell pepper export to Russia, which doesn’t seem to get off the ground. “The Russian economy isn’t going well, the rouble isn’t working in our favour, and demand is limited,” he explains. “Perhaps the period between the boycott and the Israeli season was too long.” Until a few weeks ago, prices were still reasonable in Russia, but meanwhile a lot of Israeli produce has been shipped. “The market is saturated.” The organic market is having a tough time as well at the moment. “We started out with reasonable prices, but currently the prices are also too low for the time of year.”


Third bad year in a row
For the Israeli bell pepper sector, this is the third, downright bad year in a row. “I was there last week,” Mosterd says, “and I haven’t spoken to a single optimistic grower.” Just like in the Netherlands, many cultivation companies are under water. “Quite a lot of growers are going bankrupt, and instead of those greenhouses being emptied, they’re bought by other growers.” Cultivation companies also rent out their greenhouses to other growers, or to export companies, and the acreage remains constant. “November and December have already been bad in recent years – we have to make our money in January, February and March. If that turns out badly, even more growers will have to quit.”


Improvement
For the coming weeks, Mosterd is expecting improvements. “The market is slowly starting to recover again. Also because of the holidays, we are shipping more now.” Since Friday, there’s been a bit more demand. That means prices of around 7.00 Euro for red and yellow, and 8.5 Euro for orange, per 5 kg box. “From Spain, not a lot of oranges are coming. That’s when you see buyers switching to Israeli produce.” But if there aren’t any shortages, it’s hard for Israel to gain a foothold in Europe. “Just like last year, you see the programmes for packaged bell peppers in Spain, which is the main reason for the limited demand for Israeli bell peppers in the Netherlands.” A pity, actually, Mosterd remarks. “Because the upside is that the quality is really top notch this year.”


For more information:
Gilad Produce
Tel: +31 174 518 530
Fax : +31 174 528 502 
Frank Mosterd
Mob: +316-2255 6700
www.giladproduce.com

Publication date: 12/17/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Vision Produce expands chili pepper program

Vision Produce Co. has expanded its chili pepper program and announced the debut of its own grower direct deals that encompasses a year-round program with fields in Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja Mexico in addition to Southern California.  20141210 111320

The first harvest was shipped the week of Dec. 8 and included Jalapeños, Pasilla, Serrano, Caribe and Tomatillo. In the spring, Vision will be adding Habanero and Manzanos to complete the full line offering.  All varieties will be packaged under the “California Chile Co.” and the “Rodriguera Farms” labels. 

“This was the next natural evolution in our ongoing goal to get closer to the source,” Donald Souther, vice president of marketing and sales development, said in a press release. “With the growing popularity of chili peppers, it was important for us to have our own product controlled from seed to distribution.” 

“This will allow us to have complete control over quality and availability to best service our growing customer base,” he said. “Certified Food Safety will accompany both labels as an additional feature.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Jewish bell pepper grower Avi Ben-Zion murdered in cold blood

Jewish bell pepper grower Avi Ben-Zion murdered in cold blood

Jewish grower and exporter Avi Ben-Zion was murdered on Monday. The perpetrators were Palestinian car thieves. They pulled him out of the car and hit him with an iron bar. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.


Soldiers of the Duvdevan elite unit arrested three Palestinian suspects. Ben-Zion’s wife and four daughters are convinced that the motive was nationalistic: Avi Ben-Zion was murdered because he was a Jew. “Otherwise they would have just taken his car.” His family decided to donate his organs. Avi Ben-Zion was 63 years old.

Avi Ben-Zion had been working as a bell pepper grower in the Jordan Valley since 1976, where Palestinian inhabitants have taken over through the years. He cultivated around 60 hectares of bell peppers, and a few hectares of grapes. In addition, the company sold cherry tomatoes and exotic fruit. His wife Niva worked in fig sales, and handled the bell pepper business. Last month, we visited her in Israel.

David Elhayani of the Jordan Valley Regional Council remembers him as “a great man, humble, modest and a farmer through and through.” According to neighbours, Ben-Zion worked with hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian workers, all of whom he treated equally and with respect.


Pieter de Ruiter of 4 Fruit Company knew Avi since 2007, and formed a special bond with him. “He was a really friendly man. It’s unbelievable that this had to happen to him. Where his colleagues in the Jordan Valley carried a weapon, he consciously chose not to do so, because he thought this radiated aggressiveness. My wife is also Jewish, so there was a connection there right away. I wasn’t allowed to go to Israel without my wife, and they always visited us together as well when they were in the Netherlands. The four of us also went on trips to Jordan and Koper. When there was a small business conflict, he immediately tried to find a solution in a mild and friendly manner. When his daughters were serving in the army and didn’t get good food, he drove 200 kilometres to bring them nice food, he was that kind of man!”

Publication date: 12/4/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Jewish bell pepper grower Avi Ben-Zion murdered in cold blood

Jewish bell pepper grower Avi Ben-Zion murdered in cold blood

Jewish grower and exporter Avi Ben-Zion was murdered on Monday. The perpetrators were Palestinian car thieves. They pulled him out of the car and hit him with an iron bar. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.


Soldiers of the Duvdevan elite unit arrested three Palestinian suspects. Ben-Zion’s wife and four daughters are convinced that the motive was nationalistic: Avi Ben-Zion was murdered because he was a Jew. “Otherwise they would have just taken his car.” His family decided to donate his organs. Avi Ben-Zion was 63 years old.

Avi Ben-Zion had been working as a bell pepper grower in the Jordan Valley since 1976, where Palestinian inhabitants have taken over through the years. He cultivated around 60 hectares of bell peppers, and a few hectares of grapes. In addition, the company sold cherry tomatoes and exotic fruit. His wife Niva worked in fig sales, and handled the bell pepper business. Last month, we visited her in Israel.

David Elhayani of the Jordan Valley Regional Council remembers him as “a great man, humble, modest and a farmer through and through.” According to neighbours, Ben-Zion worked with hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian workers, all of whom he treated equally and with respect.


Pieter de Ruiter of 4 Fruit Company knew Avi since 2007, and formed a special bond with him. “He was a really friendly man. It’s unbelievable that this had to happen to him. Where his colleagues in the Jordan Valley carried a weapon, he consciously chose not to do so, because he thought this radiated aggressiveness. My wife is also Jewish, so there was a connection there right away. I wasn’t allowed to go to Israel without my wife, and they always visited us together as well when they were in the Netherlands. The four of us also went on trips to Jordan and Koper. When there was a small business conflict, he immediately tried to find a solution in a mild and friendly manner. When his daughters were serving in the army and didn’t get good food, he drove 200 kilometres to bring them nice food, he was that kind of man!”

Publication date: 12/4/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Jewish bell pepper grower Avi Ben-Zion murdered in cold blood

Jewish bell pepper grower Avi Ben-Zion murdered in cold blood

Jewish grower and exporter Avi Ben-Zion was murdered on Monday. The perpetrators were Palestinian car thieves. They pulled him out of the car and hit him with an iron bar. He was transported by helicopter to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.


Soldiers of the Duvdevan elite unit arrested three Palestinian suspects. Ben-Zion’s wife and four daughters are convinced that the motive was nationalistic: Avi Ben-Zion was murdered because he was a Jew. “Otherwise they would have just taken his car.” His family decided to donate his organs. Avi Ben-Zion was 63 years old.

Avi Ben-Zion had been working as a bell pepper grower in the Jordan Valley since 1976, where Palestinian inhabitants have taken over through the years. He cultivated around 60 hectares of bell peppers, and a few hectares of grapes. In addition, the company sold cherry tomatoes and exotic fruit. His wife Niva worked in fig sales, and handled the bell pepper business. Last month, we visited her in Israel.

David Elhayani of the Jordan Valley Regional Council remembers him as “a great man, humble, modest and a farmer through and through.” According to neighbours, Ben-Zion worked with hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian workers, all of whom he treated equally and with respect.


Pieter de Ruiter of 4 Fruit Company knew Avi since 2007, and formed a special bond with him. “He was a really friendly man. It’s unbelievable that this had to happen to him. Where his colleagues in the Jordan Valley carried a weapon, he consciously chose not to do so, because he thought this radiated aggressiveness. My wife is also Jewish, so there was a connection there right away. I wasn’t allowed to go to Israel without my wife, and they always visited us together as well when they were in the Netherlands. The four of us also went on trips to Jordan and Koper. When there was a small business conflict, he immediately tried to find a solution in a mild and friendly manner. When his daughters were serving in the army and didn’t get good food, he drove 200 kilometres to bring them nice food, he was that kind of man!”

Publication date: 12/4/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Aftermath of Russian boycott bound to result in interesting pepper season

Aftermath of Russian boycott bound to result in interesting pepper season

Arava Export Growers is having a good pomegranate season; fruit which is very dependent on good weather. A good campaign is also expected for avocados and peppers, as the weather has been optimal. “This week we’ll begin exporting capsicum; that will be 1 week earlier than last year,” said Malou Even.

Regarding the situation with Russia, Malou says, “Arava wants to continue working as it is used to, shipping half to Russia and the other half to Europe. Ultimately, I want to continue delivering produce to the clients with as much normality as possible.”

She also states that, “It might be possible, due to extreme price differences between Europe and Russia that we’ll have to ship more volumes in either direction in order to secure the best prices possible for the growers.”  Another issue is the rouble’s devaluation, which involves an additional risk. “I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but we’ll just strive to deliver to the markets, as we have always done. If drastic changes take place, we will simply have to adapt.  Additionally, we also have programmes that need to be adhered to.”

When it comes to citrus fruits, Israel currently faces competition mainly from Turkey, Morocco and Egypt. “Normally, a lot of citrus is imported by Russia, and that benefits these countries, because they can produce cheaper and of course Turkey is geographically closer. They are also making great progress regarding cultivation.”

For peppers, Arava competes mainly with Spain, as well as Morocco to a lesser extent. “I have heard that the Dutch season will finish earlier, and we’ll also come in a little earlier, so that will be nice” states Malou.

Everything will depend on the market situation. “I’m really anxiously waiting to see how the season will start; it will most probably be quite an interesting season with all the developments following the Russian boycott.”

For more information:
Malou Even
V.P. Business Development & Global Sales
Arava Export Growers Ltd.
Tel : +972-3-972-8-104
[email protected]
www.arv.co.il

Publication date: 11/7/2014
Author: Juan Zea Estellés
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Aftermath of Russian boycott bound to result in interesting pepper season

Aftermath of Russian boycott bound to result in interesting pepper season

Arava Export Growers is having a good pomegranate season; fruit which is very dependent on good weather. A good campaign is also expected for avocados and peppers, as the weather has been optimal. “This week we’ll begin exporting capsicum; that will be 1 week earlier than last year,” said Malou Even.

Regarding the situation with Russia, Malou says, “Arava wants to continue working as it is used to, shipping half to Russia and the other half to Europe. Ultimately, I want to continue delivering produce to the clients with as much normality as possible.”

She also states that, “It might be possible, due to extreme price differences between Europe and Russia that we’ll have to ship more volumes in either direction in order to secure the best prices possible for the growers.”  Another issue is the rouble’s devaluation, which involves an additional risk. “I don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but we’ll just strive to deliver to the markets, as we have always done. If drastic changes take place, we will simply have to adapt.  Additionally, we also have programmes that need to be adhered to.”

When it comes to citrus fruits, Israel currently faces competition mainly from Turkey, Morocco and Egypt. “Normally, a lot of citrus is imported by Russia, and that benefits these countries, because they can produce cheaper and of course Turkey is geographically closer. They are also making great progress regarding cultivation.”

For peppers, Arava competes mainly with Spain, as well as Morocco to a lesser extent. “I have heard that the Dutch season will finish earlier, and we’ll also come in a little earlier, so that will be nice” states Malou.

Everything will depend on the market situation. “I’m really anxiously waiting to see how the season will start; it will most probably be quite an interesting season with all the developments following the Russian boycott.”

For more information:
Malou Even
V.P. Business Development & Global Sales
Arava Export Growers Ltd.
Tel : +972-3-972-8-104
[email protected]
www.arv.co.il

Publication date: 11/7/2014
Author: Juan Zea Estellés
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Retail Outlets Remove Chile Pepper Varieties From Sale Due to Potential Salmonella

Following last week’s recall of fresh Serrano chile peppers by Bailey Farms Inc., Giant Food Stores LLC and Martin’s Food Markets announced that they removed from sale Serrano, Anaheim, Red Cherry Hot and Finger Hot peppers sold in a variety case due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The following product is included in this recall: Serrano, Anaheim, Red Cherry Hot and Finger Hot Peppers, PLU 4691, purchased on or after Oct. 9, 2014. The stores have not received any reports of illnesses to date.

Martin’s Food Markets and Giant Food Stores operate in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Both retail chains are owned by Netherlands-based Ahold.

Customers who have purchased the product should discard any unused portions and bring their purchase receipt to Giant/Martin’s for a full refund.

Consumers looking for additional information on the recall may call Bailey Farms at 888-820-2545. In addition, customers may call Giant/Martin’s customer service at 1-888-814-4268 for more information. Customers can also visit the store websites at www.giantfoodstores.com or www.martinsfoods.com.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy.

The most common manifestations of Salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Food Safety News

Dr Pepper Snapple Group: 2014 Supplier Leadership Award winner for Collaboration

With two out of three 7-Eleven customers purchasing something to drink, the c-store chain is always on the lookout for new and exclusive beverages. So when market data indicated that lemonade consumption was on the rise, 7-Eleven brand marketers took to social media to investigate the trend. “Users told us that it wasn’t just lemonade that they were drinking, but blended flavors. That armed us with the right information to go and talk about this to Dr Pepper Snapple,” said …

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Supermarket News

Spain is the EU’s largest pepper supplier

Spain is the EU’s largest pepper supplier

During the first six months of 2014, the European Union (EU) has purchased a total of 650.02 million kilos of fresh and refrigerated peppers, paying around 13.87% lower prices than in the same period last year, according to data from the statistical service Euroestacom (Icex-Eurostat). 

Within the period at hand, the volumes purchased have dropped by 4.89% compared to the same period in 2013. 

The EU countries paid a total of 971.47 million Euro; a 17.84% drop compared to the previous year.

Spain is the leading pepper trade in the EU market, with a total of 302.03 million kilos; 46.46% of the total, followed by the Netherlands with 156.93 and Morocco with 52.44 million kilos. Regarding the Spanish exports, Almeria is the largest exporter with 71.05% of the domestic total, followed by Murcia (12.65%) and Alicante, which carried out 6.71% of all Spanish pepper exports to the EU. The province of Almeria’s exports accounted for 171.74% more than the total sold by the Netherlands.

The fourth largest pepper supplier to the EU is Israel (41.97), followed by Germany (22.87), France (14.77), Turkey (14.59), Belgium (8.60) Greece (6.65) and Slovenia, which closes the Top 10 with 6.02 million kilos.

Source: Hortoinfo

Publication date: 9/5/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Russia: Sharp increase of mushroom and pepper prices

Russia: Sharp increase of mushroom and pepper prices

A group of countries, including India, Brazil, Kyrgyzstan and Serbia, appear to be benefitting from the Russian boycott. Sanctions are lifted, contracts and demand for their products increases. In Moldova, traders are relieved. Russian imports are shifting to former Soviet republics and the sanctions still seem to have caused little damage. This is different in the EU, particularly Hungary, which registers daily losses of nearly 300,000 Euro. Russia itself has registered sharp increases in mushroom and pepper prices, but heavy investments are being made in domestic production. 

Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan 

Last week, Kyrgyzstan was still lobbying at the Eurasian Economic Union to be granted access to Russia’s fruit and vegetable market, and was eventually successful. Kyrgyzstan wants its export volumes to Russia to increase to the level of 2008: 195,000 tonnes. In recent years, this volume had dropped from 13,700 tonnes in 2012 to 7,500 tonnes last year. 

The Ministry of Agriculture of Kyrgyzstan has great prospects for exports. Some figures mentioned include: 15,183 tonnes of tomatoes, 10,830 tonnes of onions, 50,980 tonnes of potatoes, 11,013 tonnes of apples; grapes, 41 650 tonnes; melons (cantaloupe and watermelon) 3,020 tonnes; nuts 76.2 tonnes; 193 tonnes of dried fruit and 172.5 tonnes of canned vegetables.

Kazakhstan also registers greater demand from Russia. The country is investing in intensive family fruit farms with an area of ​​5 hectares. This year, 100 hectares of such plantations will be funded with an expected yield of 4,000 tonnes of apples. 

India and Brazil 

Indian trade is also to benefit from the sanctions, according to Tarun Arora, exports director of the organization IG International. While competitors are no longer allowed access to Russia, the doors are now open for Indian exporters and importers. The country receives increased Russian demand for potatoes and grapes, and additionally, other European countries are queuing to be granted access to the Indian market.

Russia lifted trade restrictions to the Brazilian meat sector. This gave the country further access to the Russian market. The majority of Brazilian exports to Russia consist of meat.

The EU licks its wounds 

EU countries are looking for new markets, with all eyes set on the Middle East and Asia. Indian and Chinese traders are allegedly already negotiating with European producers of fruit, meat and cheese. The Committee on the Common Organization of the Agricultural Markets, an EU body, said last week that a budget of 29.7 million Euro was available for peach and nectarine growers willing to to give the fruit away for free, and an additional 3 million has been set aside for promotional purposes. The bulk of the funds will go to Italy, Spain, Greece and France. 

Poland seeks access to the American market for its fruit and vegetables. The Polish government is looking for ways to meet the import requirements of the United States, as apples in particular need to be shipped to this market. 

The Hungarian agricultural sector registers daily losses of 295,000 Euro because of the sanctions. The Hungarian industry is as vulnerable as Poland’s or Greece’s, although the Hungarian Minister hopes that exports will increase. 

Moldova is relieved 

The grape harvest is estimated at 100,000 tonnes, and how much of this will be exported will depend on the quality. The main export destination is the Commonwealth of Independent States. White grapes are especially popular in Ukraine and Belarus, which are also the largest markets for the grapes. Russia demands especially the blue varieties, which are not affected by the ban. In the list of largest grape exporters to Russia, Moldova stands second, behind Turkey. Because European growers switched to the white varieties, Moldovan blue grapes are also popular in the EU. 

Serbia signs retail contract

The Russian retailer Dixy announced an increase in the import of fruit and vegetables from Serbia. The supermarket chain, with more than 2,000 stores, was already importing small volumes of Serbian produce. In response to the sanctions, the chain aims to increase this volume. The contracts are expected to be signed in the short term.

Turkey used as intermediary 

While before the ban some Turkish growers were using the label ‘Made in EU’ as a quality brand, the situation has quickly reversed. European growers are now using the label ‘Made in Turkey’ to still be able to make their shipments to Russia. The opening of the Russian market also entails an opportunity for Turkish growers to increase their exports. 

Belarus has “plenty available” 

The harvest in Belarus is so good that in addition to supplying the domestic market it will also be possible to export, according to the Belarusian Ministry of Agriculture. The country registers yields of 26 tonnes per hectare for cabbages and 24.7 tonnes per hectare for potatoes, while a year earlier these figures stood at 17.4 and 20.7 tonnes per hectare, respectively. 

It is expected that 200,000 tonnes of vegetables and 1 million tonnes of potatoes will be available for export. Exports to Russia this year will be 40% higher. 

China 

For tropical products, Russia can also resort to the Chinese north-east. In a greenhouse complex, China has managed, despite the cold winters, to grow strawberries, bananas and exotic fruits. Chinese apples, grapes and cucumbers are also already exported to Russia. 

Russia: higher prices and substantial investments 

Meanwhile, the Russian population sees prices growing. Mushrooms have become two Euro per kilo more expensive and now the last Dutch peppers remain on the shelves, whose price has doubled. In any case, the Russians are mostly managing to replace banned products with quality domestic produce. Additionally, new suppliers are also sought to replace these boycotted products.

To increase domestic production, Russia is investing in new projects in different regions. Overall, domestic growers seem to benefit from the sanctions. In Murmansk, a greenhouse complex has been built covering an area of 5.8 hectares that has cost $ 1.6 billion. The project has received plenty of funding from the Government. Cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs will be grown in greenhouses and the first harvest is expected in 2015. 

The Murmansk region expects little impact from the sanctions, with only 3% of the products consumed being banned. The impact for Siberia will also be small, as the region produces the largest part of its food, including tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, in greenhouses.

In the south of Russia, near the Black Sea, investments have been made in the Republic of Adygea’s apple production. The largest orchard (132 hectares) is equipped with an irrigation system and an anti-hail net. The first harvest in 2013 was 7 tonnes per hectare, which in the coming years is expected to increase to 50 tonnes per hectare.

Publication date: 8/25/2014
Author: Juan Zea Estellés
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Scorpion a unique hot pepper

Scorpion a unique hot pepper

Kovi Ziv-av is a grower based in the Arava Valley, in Israel, specialised in the cultivation of all kinds of hot peppers. Recently, he discovered a new variety, the Arava Scorpion, which he obtained by “growing some seeds together with the orange Habanero. After a few years, I had this amazing variety with a surprising spiciness, which reaches between 800,000 and 1,000,000 in the Scoville scale,” affirms Kobi.

The extremely hot and dry climate of the Arava Valley has some impact on the flavour not only of this variety, but also of the Habanero, which differs from the ones grown in Mexico. Kobi explains that “those who have managed to train their palates to the taste of hot peppers say it is not just different, but also really good. At the moment I’m trying to combine it with the Trinidad Scorpion.”

Kobi Ziv-av not only deals with fresh produce, as the hot peppers that cannot be sold fresh are dried and/or used in the production of powder. “Last week, for example, we sent a shipment of dried Habaneros to South Africa and we also have orders from countries such as Turkey, Uzbekistan and Nigeria, which is quite impressive considering we are only a small farm,” says Kobi.

It is currently summer in Israel and for Kobi Ziv-av this entails intermission between seasons. “We will grow Habaneros again in August, so at the moment we are fully devoted to the manufacture and shipment of dried products. We are not looking to expand internationally with our fresh produce, but we will see what the future brings.”

For more information:
Kobi Ziv-av
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/9/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Costco Warns of Black Pepper Possibly Contaminated With Salmonella

Costco Wholesale is warning members not to use its Kirkland Signature Coarse Ground Malabar Black Pepper with a best-before date of March 2017.

NBC reports that Food and Drug Administration officials detected Salmonella Duisburg in some samples of the product in Texas. Costco has since used automated calls to inform 130,000-140,000 members of the issue. A letter from the company is expected to follow.

Salmonella Duisburg is a rare serotype of the pathogen. Only 21 cases of laboratory-confirmed infections were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2000 and 2010.

There have been several large-scale Salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years that were associated with contaminated spices. This prompted FDA to launch a major investigation into spice safety, and a study released in June 2013 found that nearly 7 percent of imported spices — which account for more than 80 percent of the U.S. supply — were contaminated with Salmonella.

When FDA released a draft of its spice risk profile last October, the agency stated that, “People’s tendency to eat small amounts of spices with meals generally lowers the probability of illness from contaminated spices relative to similarly contaminated foods consumed in larger amounts.”

Related illnesses could also be underreported because it can be difficult to make the connection in multi-ingredient foods.

Food Safety News is following this story and will update this page as soon as more information is available.

Food Safety News

Nitrogen management studied in greenhouse pepper production

As consumer demand for year-round fresh produce increases, vegetable and fruit producers are facing significant environmental and sustainability issues, and are being challenged to examine traditional production practices in order to improve product quality while limiting environmental impact. A recent focus on both the positive and negative effects of nitrogen applications has researchers across the globe working to find methods that can increase crops’ “nitrogen use efficiency” (NUE) to contribute to more sustainable, responsible agricultural practices.

A study published in HortScience contains strategies for increasing NUE in greenhouse bell peppers, and demonstrates how the environmental impact of intensive agriculture can be minimized without harming fruit yield or quality.

Nitrogen, the most important and widely used agricultural nutrient, is also a major environmental contaminant. In many regions increased levels of nitrate found in groundwater have been attributed to the high rates of nitrogen fertilizer applied to surrounding crops. But sufficient nitrogen–an integral part of protein and chloroplast structure and function in plants–is essential for plant growth and development. According to Hagai Yasuor of the Gilat Research Center in Negev, nitrogen deficiency has been studied on the majority of horticultural crops, but the effects of an oversupply of nitrogen are not as widely understood. Yasuor and colleagues designed a study to investigate ways to reduce environmental pollution by increasing nitrogen use efficiency in vegetables without negatively affecting fruit yield or quality.

The scientists used bell pepper (Capsicum annum L.) in a case study for intensive vegetable cropping. “Pepper production is becoming commercially important in various regions of the world, including Israel, Spain, southern Europe, and north Africa, where the crop is grown from fall to spring in greenhouses and net houses,” the authors explained. They selected two pepper cultivars with different growth habits for the study, and drip-irrigated the greenhouse plants with solutions containing four different nitrogen concentrations. They then measured fruit yield, quality, and nutritional value of all plants.

“We found that maximum yields occurred when peppers were irrigated with N at 56.2 mg·L-1,” Yasuor said. “Higher concentrations of nitrogen loaded more nitrogen into the environment, while the 56.2-mg·L-1 concentration was almost completely taken up and used by the plants.” The experiments also showed that nitrogen treatments had no significant negative effect on pepper fruit physical or chemical quality, including sugar content and acidity. Additionally, reduced nitrogen application did not affect nutritional quality components of the pepper fruit such as beta-carotene and lycopene content, nor did it reduce total antioxidant activity.

“Our results demonstrate how the environmental impact of intensive agriculture can be minimized without harming fruit yield or quality by reducing nitrogen application level and adopting cultivars with improved nitrogen use efficiency,” the authors concluded.

The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/48/10/1241.abstract

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Baloian Farms increases packing efficiency and speed with new mini pepper equipment

As a leader in West Coast pepper product, Baloian Farms has recently expanded its production possibilities with a new line of equipment designed to process mini peppers.baloian2

The new equipment, purchased in the spring of 2013, can serve multiple purposes — its main position will be for packing mini sweet peppers, but will also work for packing baby Bells and hot chilies as well.

“Making these necessary upgrades and capital investments in new machinery will help us to grow our leadership position in pepper production, and continually provide high-quality, competitively priced products to consumers year-round,” Jeremy Lane, sales manager of Baloian Farms, said in a press release.

Lane also said the new equipment will also greatly improve the speed and efficiencies of packing.

“All across our company we are attempting to increase efficiencies in everything from farming to packing,” he said. “And while these new machines came as a big initial investment, we are already experiencing increased return on investment at the packing level, and have ordered additional equipment to continue this momentum.”

The new equipment is intended to pack Baloian’s value-added mini sweet peppers and baby Bell peppers. Using the bridged production areas of Culiacan, Mexico, and California, Baloian Farms offers year-round supply of mini sweet peppers, baby Bell peppers, squash and other mixed vegetables.

Baloian Farms is a fourth-generation, vertically integrated family farm with year-round operations specializing in peppers and mixed vegetables grown in California and Mexico.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Baloian Farms increases packing efficiency and speed with new mini pepper equipment

As a leader in West Coast pepper product, Baloian Farms has recently expanded its production possibilities with a new line of equipment designed to process mini peppers.baloian2

The new equipment, purchased in the spring of 2013, can serve multiple purposes — its main position will be for packing mini sweet peppers, but will also work for packing baby Bells and hot chilies as well.

“Making these necessary upgrades and capital investments in new machinery will help us to grow our leadership position in pepper production, and continually provide high-quality, competitively priced products to consumers year-round,” Jeremy Lane, sales manager of Baloian Farms, said in a press release.

Lane also said the new equipment will also greatly improve the speed and efficiencies of packing.

“All across our company we are attempting to increase efficiencies in everything from farming to packing,” he said. “And while these new machines came as a big initial investment, we are already experiencing increased return on investment at the packing level, and have ordered additional equipment to continue this momentum.”

The new equipment is intended to pack Baloian’s value-added mini sweet peppers and baby Bell peppers. Using the bridged production areas of Culiacan, Mexico, and California, Baloian Farms offers year-round supply of mini sweet peppers, baby Bell peppers, squash and other mixed vegetables.

Baloian Farms is a fourth-generation, vertically integrated family farm with year-round operations specializing in peppers and mixed vegetables grown in California and Mexico.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Baloian Farms increases packing efficiency and speed with new mini pepper equipment

As a leader in West Coast pepper product, Baloian Farms has recently expanded its production possibilities with a new line of equipment designed to process mini peppers.baloian2

The new equipment, purchased in the spring of 2013, can serve multiple purposes — its main position will be for packing mini sweet peppers, but will also work for packing baby Bells and hot chilies as well.

“Making these necessary upgrades and capital investments in new machinery will help us to grow our leadership position in pepper production, and continually provide high-quality, competitively priced products to consumers year-round,” Jeremy Lane, sales manager of Baloian Farms, said in a press release.

Lane also said the new equipment will also greatly improve the speed and efficiencies of packing.

“All across our company we are attempting to increase efficiencies in everything from farming to packing,” he said. “And while these new machines came as a big initial investment, we are already experiencing increased return on investment at the packing level, and have ordered additional equipment to continue this momentum.”

The new equipment is intended to pack Baloian’s value-added mini sweet peppers and baby Bell peppers. Using the bridged production areas of Culiacan, Mexico, and California, Baloian Farms offers year-round supply of mini sweet peppers, baby Bell peppers, squash and other mixed vegetables.

Baloian Farms is a fourth-generation, vertically integrated family farm with year-round operations specializing in peppers and mixed vegetables grown in California and Mexico.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.