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Farm Fresh Produce ramps up bell peppers program, cabbage

Farm Fresh Produce ramps up bell peppers program, cabbage

Farm Fresh has 50 acres of peppers. Most of Farm Fresh’s produce is shipped to the East Coast, noted Ceccarelli, because their location in North Carolina gives them cheap freight costs when shipping to markets in the region. Ceccarelli noted that the season hasn’t been the best, but they’re busy providing for their customers.
“Peppers have been pretty good so far,” said Ceccarelli. “The market hasn’t been ideal, but we’re keeping our product fresh and our customers happy.”

Farm Fresh Produce is also in the thick of their cabbage program this year. Like with their peppers, Farm Fresh’s cabbage program is focused on East coast markets, which they can reach in about two days from their facilities in North Carolina.

“We’re going to do a lot of cabbage this year,” said Farm Fresh’s Steve Ceccarelli. They began harvesting Napa cabbage at the beginning of last month, and harvesting of regular green cabbage and Flathead cabbage began shortly after. The Napa variety is what Farm Fresh produces the most, with 70 acres dedicated to that kind of cabbage, while 30 acres are dedicated to the Flathead variety.

“We have an advantage from a freight standpoint,” said Ceccarelli. “It’s cheaper for us to ship to the East Coast and the Eastern part of Canada than it is for competitors who aren’t in this region.” Another big program for Farm Fresh is their line of sweet potatoes, which they also predominantly sell on the East Coast. Currently, Farm Fresh has grey, yellow and green sweet potatoes available.

For more information:
Steven A. Ceccarelli
Farm Fresh Produce
Tel: +1 910-508-8933
[email protected]

Publication date: 6/28/2013

Three new varieties of eastern bell peppers introduced

Gridiron, Blitz and Touchdown
Three new varieties of eastern bell peppers introduced

Sakata Seed America has introduced three new varieties of Eastern Bell Peppers expected to please growers and consumers alike. The three players – Gridiron, Blitz and Touchdown have been specifically bred to thrive in Eastern regions, and are sure to be a top draft pick.

Always striving for innovation, Sakata’s team of experts and analysts have been hard at work creating a line of bell peppers for the East with outstanding yield, adaptability, disease resistance, shelf life and flavor, and are proud to present their winning line-up. “From a development perspective, emphasis is placed on features and benefits for the complete customer chain, from growers to the final customer,” states Bryan Zingel, Senior Product Development Manager for peppers. Grower friendly, the bells deliver improved returns and satisfied customers.

To learn more about Eastern Peppers, including a pathology report and column by pepper-industry expert Kevin Ratchford, growers can also download the Eastern Bell Pepper Bulletin.

For more information:
Alicia Bush
Sakata Seed America, Inc.
Tel: +1 408-782-5391
Fax: +1 408-778-7768
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 12/23/2014

New SunSelect greenhouse grows California peppers year-round


SunSelect, a leading Canadian greenhouse grower, will ship its first-ever California-grown tomatoes this week. This historic shipment marks the beginning of a new era for the British Columbia-based grower, as the doors to its brand new 32-acre greenhouse officially open to fresh opportunities.

Along with cocktail and traditional tomatoes-on-the-vine, SunSelect’s high tech, state-of-the-art facility, located in Tehachapi, CA, will produce sweet Bell peppers year-round. Notably, this makes SunSelect one of the only large-scale greenhouse growers in the Golden State to produce peppers in the winter, enabling attractive programs for retailers seeking California sweet Bells during the colder months of the year and beyond.

SunSelect’s expansion into California has also deepened its long-term partnership with The Oppenheimer Group, an investor in the new facility. And even as SunSelect prepares to ship its first product from the new greenhouse, construction of a second facility is already under way in Tehachapi.

“We have started building an additional 32 acres, which will double our current size and significantly increase our year-round pepper volume,” Len Krahn, SunSelect co-owner, said in a press release. Peppers grown in this second phase will be available in late 2015.

“We chose Tehachapi for a few reasons, including the high light levels to promote uniform plant growth, the plentiful water and low humidity,” said Len’s brother and SunSelect co-owner Victor Krahn. “And because the temperature in this valley is lower than surrounding areas, it is naturally free of many pests.”

Inside the fully sealed greenhouse, SunSelect has employed the latest technology to assure an optimal growing environment where sustainable practices are undertaken. From water recycling to re-introduction of waste CO2 as fertilizer to natural air heating, cooling and re-circulation systems, SunSelect extends the commitment to sustainable growing it pioneered in British Columbia to its new California greenhouse.

“We are serious about growing the best tomatoes and peppers in the most sustainable manner we can,” Victor Krahn said.

SunSelect tomatoes-on-the vine will be available at the end of October, and peppers will follow about a week later. While product will ship throughout the U.S., part of the sustainability strategy includes a focus on the local California market.

“We are launching a new series of packaging that emphasizes the California origin of our new items,” he said, noting that the iconic California bear is featured on the packs. “We anticipate that a considerable amount of our early product will be sold here, and we are eager to build a local following.”

Aaron Quon, greenhouse and vegetable category director for The Oppenheimer Group ― SunSelect’s marketing partner ― points to the significant impact the new facility could have: “This is an important step in the evolution of the North American greenhouse category,” he said. “With SunSelect, we will be the first to offer U.S.-grown greenhouse sweet Bell peppers year round. And with the addition of TOVs and cocktail tomatoes―combined with SunSelect’s BC production of peppers and cucumbers―we can deliver a full basket of high-demand items to our customers from SunSelect any day of the year.”

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

Unclear whether Israeli peppers will see boost in Russia

Unclear whether Israeli peppers will see boost in Russia

The Russian ban on European goods has opened up a potential opportunity for Israeli pepper growers, who are not subject to Russia’s ban. But with the emerging dominance of Spanish peppers in the European market, many Israeli exporters have been focusing on the Russian market for years. With significant quantities of Israeli peppers already finding their way to Russia, it’s not clear if the recent ban on European goods will lead to an increased amount of peppers arriving in Russia from Israel.

“There are peppers right now in Israel, but they’re for the domestic market,” said Niva Ben Zion of Avniv. “In terms of whether there is enough to export to Russia, I’d say there are some peppers, but nothing like the quantities we’re familiar with during winter.” If Israeli exporters had known that the Russian market would not be open to European exporters right now, they might have planned for more volume available for export. But as no one could have foreseen the current situation, Israeli exporters can’t pounce on the present market.

As for the medium term, Niva Ben Zion is not sure the Russian market will become significantly more attractive for Israeli shippers, as that market has already become an important one for exporters.

“In general, we will keep going to the Russian market, as we have done for many years,” said Niva Ben Zion. “Everyone in Europe has preferred Spanish peppers for some time because they don’t have to pay duty on them, there are fewer transportation costs and there are fewer quality issues. We’ve found ourselves relying more on the Russian market, so I don’t see such a big change. There will be fewer peppers going to Russia from Spain, but I don’t know how much was going to Russia from Spain before.”

Lastly, in order for Israeli suppliers to take advantage of the situation, the prices in Russia would have to be sufficiently steep to justify foregoing the domestic market. Because the export season has yet to get into full swing, it’s not clear prices will be high enough to justify an increase over what already is typically sent to Russia.

“Europeans can still send mixed trucks with produce from countries not in the European Union to Russia, so those mixed trucks, which carry different kinds of produce from different countries, might now need more Israeli peppers instead of Spanish peppers,” said Niva Ben Zion. “But, in my estimation, I don’t think much will change.”

Publication date: 9/4/2014

Larger supply causing difficult sales of peppers

Robbert van Essen: “Lit cultivation creates added value”
Larger supply causing difficult sales of peppers

Valstar Holland has been the market leader on the Dutch pepper market for a number of years. What is unique is that the growers who supply to the sales organisation have some lit cultivation, so that the company, with the exception of a short period and December and January, can supply peppers all year round. “Red, green and yellow peppers, as well as Jalapeños, have lit cultivation. This means we can create added value,” says Robbert van Essen, who is responsible for the pepper sales.

“Over the last few years the sales of peppers has gone quite well. Unfortunately this has meant that quite a few smaller growers have opted to join the pepper cultivation. Spain had a good pepper season this year and continued to supply for a long time, which meant they were in our way for a number of weeks. All of this resulted in a more difficult market this year. At the moment the kilo price of the red and green peppers is between 1 and 1.25 Euro and that’s quite mediocre. The expectation is that the market will improve a little over the next few weeks,” says Robbert.

Beside domestic cultivation in the Netherlands and Belgium, fixed partners in Israel and Spain supply imported peppers to Valstar Holland. “The quality is much better than that of the Moroccan peppers,” says the seller. Valstar’s main buyers of peppers are retail and wholesale in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands. The first connections to the United States have already been made and it is our goal to continue to extend this export.

According to Robbert the pepper consumption is reasonably stable. “The peppers are mainly consumed by Asians. Last year we saw good sales in the special varieties such as the Jalapeño, Habanero and Naga Jolokia pepper, but this area has been extended and you notice there is too much pretty quickly.”

For more information:
Robbert van Essen
Valstar Holland
ABC Westland 110
2685 DB Poeldijk
T: +31 174 530817
F: +31 174 530888
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/14/2014

Nature Fresh offers wide range of hot peppers

Nature Fresh offers wide range of hot peppers

Nature Fresh Farms is turning up the heat with many of the hottest speciality peppers, intended to add the right level of zest to any recipe. The range includes peppers varying in pungency in accordance with the Scoville scale, which measures the capsaicin content of chilli peppers and other spicy foods, from the Trinidad Scorpion, the spiciest with 1.4 million units, to the Padron/Shishito, the mildest with just between 500 and 1,000 units.

Some other varieties supplied by the company include the Poblano, Japapeño, Spanish Chilli, Pencil Hot, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet and Ghost.

All hot peppers are available from April to November in various formats, such as bulk packs of 3 and 5 lbs for those who would like to use their own packaging, but also retail ready clamshells or tray packs. Popular mixed packs are also available.

For more information:
Ray Wowryk
Nature Fresh
Tel: +1 519.326.1111 x1377
Fax: +1 519.326.2070
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 5/28/2014
Author: Juan Zea Estellés

Prime Time increases mini-sweet peppers

Prime Time Sales LLC in Coachella, CA, which specializes in bell peppers grown in both Mexico and the United States, first ran trials of mini-sweet peppers as an expansion of its line in mainland Mexico during the 2010-11 season, crossing the products into Nogales, AZ.

The trials went well, and the company increased production in 2011-12 and again in 2012-13, according to Mike Aiton, marketing manager.

This year, the company has again increased its mini-sweet pepper production, Aiton said Nov. 19. “We have never had as many mini-peppers in Mexico as we have this winter. That is one item we have grown considerably across the board, maybe 20 percent from last year.”

The little mini-sweets are typically about one and a half inches long, he said. Like the company’s full-sized colored bell peppers, the mini-sweets come in red, yellow and orange.


Mike Aiton

“Right now, the mini peppers are very active [with] very high prices,” Aiton said. “In advance of the holidays, the markets are high” as demand exceeds supply. “We are just now coming into what I would call good volume, and it is going to get bigger for us with every passing week,” he said. “[It is] a great item. We have quite a good following on that particular item right now.”

Apart from the mini-sweets, “our program is largely unchanged” from last year for the Nogales deal, Aiton said.

Prime Time’s Mexican production consists of red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers plus the mini-sweets and, in addition, round vine ripe tomatoes, Roma tomatoes and grape tomatoes.

The acreage this season is “fairly static” on the bell peppers and up about 20 percent on the tomato products, but while the bell peppers are grown in the state of Sinaloa in mainland Mexico, the tomato products are grown on the Baja Peninsula. They cross into the United Sates at San Diego rather than Nogales.

Prime Time has both hothouse and field-grown bell peppers, Aiton said. “We have both elongated and blocky” styles. “The biggest item we have are the field grown elongated red peppers. Next is green bells, then our hothouse varieties — red, yellow and orange — are next in terms of volume.”

The company began receiving hothouse peppers from Sinaloa in early November. “Volume is going to continue to increase as we move deeper into the season,” Aiton said.

The green bell peppers were expected to start around the first week in December, with the field-grown red bells starting around Christmastime. Those are “fairly typical starting dates,” he said.

Prime Time was currently receiving tomato products from its grower in the Vizcaino area of Baja. “Those are all loading in San Diego right now” and will go all the way through winter, he said. The company also has a spring deal out of La Paz in southern Baja.

One advantage for Prime Time in its Mexican production, according to Aiton, is that it is very consistent with the company’s California production. “The packinghouse that we have in Sinaloa, for example, is the exact duplicate of the one we have in Coachella,” he said. “The standards are the same. The people are the same. The policies and procedures are the same. Our customers tell us it is very seamless to move from one area to another just because of the consistency and the quality and the sizing and the packs that we put up. So having complete control, I think, is an advantage for us.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Bell Peppers Recalled due to Salmonella Risk

Orange County Produce is voluntarily recalling fresh red and green bell peppers after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised that a random sample of the peppers had tested positive for Salmonella.

The recall is limited to three lots (Lot # SB 7 920, 923, 924) containing 1,208 25# cartons of peppers. They were distributed to farmer’s markets and wholesale food service in Southern California Sept. 21-24.

The product was shipped in cases under the OC Harvest labels but is typically sold without retail packaging associated with it. All retail suppliers that received the affected lots were notified and directed to remove and destroy any remaining product.

Consumers who may have purchased the peppers between Sept. 21 and Oct. 5 should contact the store, restaurant or farmers market where they bought them and ask if the product was from affected lots. If so, the customer should discard or return any unused peppers to that store for a refund.

Orange County Produce has ceased distribution and harvest of product from the implicated field and the FDA, the California Department of Public Health and the company are continuing their investigation into the source of the contamination.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Food Safety News

Netherlands: Westland Peppers introduces seedless mini peppers

Netherlands: Westland Peppers introduces seedless mini peppers

Westland Peppers has recently launched a new pepper on the market: the Tasty Pep. The special feature of this orange mini pepper is that it is completely seedless. Propagation takes place by means of cuttings.

Co-owner Pieter Boekestijn revealed that the company has been engaged in developing new varieties for years. According to Boekestijn, development of the Tasty Pep has been serendipitous. The company now has the exclusive rights for Europe.

The Tasty Pep does not differ all that much from a ‘normal’ mini pepper. The biggest difference is that it’s seedless and that it is slightly smaller in shape. The new snack pepper is available in various packages and is also grown in Spain. “We are working together with growers in Spain that cultivate exclusively for us. They do the growing and we have the knowledge and do the marketing.”

Publication date: 8/15/2013