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Excellent conditions produce perfect Tasmanian cherries

Excellent conditions produce perfect Tasmanian cherries

The weather in Tasmania has been favourable leading into harvest and cooler weather has made the harvest later than previously expected for cherry producer Reid Fruits.

“Some good sunshine and warmth prior to the season commencing has allowed the fruit flavour complexity and brix to develop perfectly. We expect an increase in production but aligned with our predictions given a lighter crop last season.”

“Harvest will start in the Derent Valley in late December – around Christmas. We only produce cherries in Tasmania – currently growing only in the Derwent Valley in Tasmania but intend to plant high altitude orchards in other locations in 2015.”

The company hopes to increase its export to South Korea in particular, due to the FTA which came into effect on the 12th of December.

“China will continue to grow but we have a portfolio of over 25 countries and we see all of them playing a significant role in our marketing strategy. With the lower Australian Dollar we expect that we will re-enter several markets such as the USA and some European countries after an absence of many years due to the challenging exchange rate combined with tough economic times.“

Reid Fruits re-branded last season and is committed to producing the finest cherries for discerning cherry consumers around the world.

“Our Gold Kangaroo range of  premium packaging reflects our commitment to the consumer. To complement our premium 2kg cherry cartons we have also launched a 1kg gift pack as well for export markets.”

For more information:
Lucy Gregg
Reid Fruit
Mobile: +61 408 977725

Publication date: 12/17/2014
Author: Katja Watson

SunFed backing up ‘Perfect Produce’

EMPALME, SONORA — “Perfect Produce” is gracefully emblazoned on a towering black marble foyer wall at SunFed’s headquarters. The company’s stylish new black consumer packaging and corresponding industry t-shirts promote “Perfect Produce.” And promotions and packaging push “Perfect Cucumbers,” “Perfect Squash” or “Perfect Melons.”Perfect-CucumbersShowing SunFed’s new ‘Perfect Cucumbers’ t-shirt are cucumber grower Santiago Zaragoza with SunFed’s Matt Mandel.

Matt Mandel, SunFed’s vice president of sales and marketing, recognizes this “Perfect” approach is rather forward. Brett Burdsal, SunFed’s new director of marketing, is unabashed in his artistic “Perfect” approach from the firm’s headquarters in Rio Rico, AZ.

The company’s premiere brand is “SunFed,” and Mandel said everything to be packed in that brand is top quality. The firm has two other brands: “SunOne” and “Almost Famous.”

This year marks SunFed’s 20th anniversary. “In 18 of the 20 years we focused exclusively on the production side,” Mandel said. “Now we focus on the tag line ‘Perfect Produce,’ which requires doing everything as well as you possibly can. Brett is here to help us reinvent ourselves. He is very much outside the box. I’m not sure he knows there is a box. I think that is a good thing — to have fresh ideas and fresh ways to be looking to improve the company, our processes and protocols. We built the company based on being conservative. So we are not getting too far out. We are going forward in metered steps.”

Juan-Ramon-SanchezStanding before an irrigation pond at Agricola Bay Hermanos near Empalme, Sonora, are Juan Ramon Sanchez, Brett Burdsal and Matt Mandel. To assure quality and management control of its new packaging, SunFed has slowed rolling out the “Perfect Produce” consumer campaign introduced in October at the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, CA.

Burdsal said his job “is to expand on a phenomenal brand.”

Offering perfect produce is quite a challenge for a shipper-distributor that is intimately involved with 51 growers scattered along Mexico’s west coast.

To demonstrate the quality of programs shipping perfect produce to the Rio Rico distribution center, Mandel and Burdsal escorted The Produce News to Empalme, Sonora, Dec. 10-11. Empalme is a scenic Gulf of California commercial fishing port located about four hours south of Nogales. The farming area visited by The Produce News is cultivated from seemingly virgin desert land to the east and south of Empalme. Empalme is across a small blue bay from the better-known commercial seaport of Guaymas. The region is in Yaqui Valley, which is fed by rich rivers and good wells.

yellow-squash-harvestAt Agricola Bay Hermanos, squash harvesters maximize efficiency through use of an ‘águila.’ Águila is Spanish for ‘eagle.’ The machine has wide conveyor belts — wings — to carry plastic field bins to the central trailer. This tour involved two growers: Agricola Bay Hermanos and Agroproductos San Rafael, S.A. de C.V., Empalme, Sonora. Santiago Zaragoza owns the San Rafael operation.

Agricola Bay Hermanos is owned by three brothers. Lorenzo Bay operates the Empalme farm. His brothers, Fausto Bay and Bernardo Bay, operate two separate farms to the north of Hermosillo. Collectively, the Bay brothers produce more than 2,500 acres of vegetables.

“They started with 30 hectares (90 acres) almost 10 years ago,” Mandel said. “They have very sophisticated operations. They exemplify the concept that we don’t work with farmers, but with businessmen who are in the agricultural industry. They invest in their operations, including their people. That is what made them successful, their attention to detail. A lot of what they do mirrors the SunFed mentality.”

Squash varieties — notably zucchini, yellow, straight neck and Mexican grey squash — are the primary crop for Bay brothers. Mandel said the grey squash has grown so much in demand that it surpasses yellow squash in production on the Bay farms. Grey squash has long been popular in Mexico, but consumers north of the border and gaining an appreciation for its good taste. Bay grows about 90 acres of organic vegetables at any given time.

The Bays are increasing their production of conventional and seedless watermelons, as well as cantaloupe.

At Agroproductos San Rafael, Zaragoza produces about a thousand acres of cucumbers, squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, mini-watermelons, green and colored Bell peppers and jalapenos.

Empalme production is timed to generally, but not absolutely, precede and succeed vegetable production in Culiacan, which is a few hours to the south. Culiacan production runs from mid-November until March.

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

Domex Superfresh Growers launches ‘Share Your Perfect Pear’ sweepstakes

Domex Superfresh Growers, a global leader in the growing and shipping of fresh apples, pears, cherries and apricots, has launched a new social media and in-store promotion called “Share Your Perfect Pear” sweepstakes.DSG-EatPears

Domex Superfresh Growers will offer retailers a suite of in-store and online partnership opportunities, including ready-to-post social content, turn-key point-of-sale materials and co-branded #EatPears Twitter parties.

“Domex Superfresh Growers is focused on creating more meaningful consumer connections and building a more powerful social partnership with our retail partners both in-store and online with delicious fruit and great content,” Howard Nager, vice president of marketing Domex Superfresh Growers, said in a press release. “Consumer-focused marketing programs like our “Share Your Perfect Pear” sweepstakes paired with proven category business intelligence is one of the many tools we offer to our retail partners to help them prepare for the changing demands of the modern marketplace.”

The “Share Your Perfect Pear” sweepstakes will utilize the Superfresh Growers hashtag #EatPears and the company’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest social properties to connect consumers to pear recipes, new usage ideas and messages about health, wellness and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The photo-sharing sweepstakes will start Nov. 1 and end Dec. 31.

The promotion theme and artwork reinforce contemporary pear-consumption trends and supports peak pear availability during the holiday months.

“While we know consumers love to eat our pears fresh out-of-hand, they also consume pears with cheese, wine, chocolate and as part of charcuterie plates,” Nager said. “We designed our promotion artwork to reinforce these “pairing” trends and recommend that our retail partners cross promote pears with these items as part of their holiday displays.”

To enter, consumers are asked to upload an original photo to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest showing off their favorite pear recipe or usage idea. The image caption should include the hashtag #EatPears and the company should be tagged @Superfreshgrowers.

Through a random drawing held in January, three winners will be announced. One grand prize winner will receive $ 1,000, one first prize winner will receive $ 500 and one second prize winner shall receive $ 250.

Retailers who would like to find out more about the “Share Your Perfect Pear” sweepstakes and other potential partnership opportunities should contact Howard Nager, Vice President of Marketing at

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

Northwest cherry season described as picture perfect

It’s not just the bees that have been buzzing in cherry orchards in the Pacific Northwest. Growers are raving about perfect conditions, which are expected to translate to strong volume and quality fruit as cherry production ramps up in June.

“We’re very excited about the crop,” said Mac Riggin, director of marketing for Chelan Fresh Marketing in Chelan, WA. “This year it’s spread out well, not compressed. And barring any weather events, it’s lining up to be one of the best cherry crops in years.”

“Information to date indicates very little, if any, overlap between California cherries and the start of Northwest crop,” said Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for Rainier Fruit Co. in Yakima, WA. “Retailers and growers likely will be scrambling to satisfy demand.”

Their observations were reinforced by James Michael, vice president of marketing-North America for Northwest Cherry Growers and the Washington State Fruit Commission, who said growers do not take these observations lightly.

“Growers are cautious folk,” he told The Produce News. “The two biggest factors are Mother Nature and demand.”

Conditions have been made-to-order during the production season.

“It’s been an absolutely ideal spring,” Michael said. “Low 70s, blue skies. The bees were humming, and you could feel it.”

According to Michael, sustained warm conditions during a long and slow production season translate to tremendous fruit flavor.

The cherry production season continues to expand as growers plant both early- and late-season varieties.

“Early fruit is 10 percent of our total crop right now,” Michael said.

He expects the harvest to ramp up at the beginning of June. “It takes 10-14 days to build sustained volume,” he said.

In all, Michael said growers are expecting to harvest 7 million boxes of cherries in June, and another 10.5 million in July, which would mark the fourth-largest July volume in the region’s production history.

This year’s extended marketing window could not have come at a better time. A light California season left consumers wanting.

“That adds to pent-up consumer demand,” Michael noted.

Depending upon location, retailers are expected to have several opportunities to capitalize on Northwest volume both in June and around the traditional July 4 holiday peak.

Production in the Pacific Northwest will continue through August.

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

Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Publix, Sprouts earn perfect customer service scores

Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Publix, Costco and Sprouts bested 50 of the nation’s major grocery stores in a Consumer Reports customer satisfaction survey based on nearly 50,000 subscriber shopping trips.

The chains got high ratings for the quality of meat and produce offered and the cleanliness of their stores. Four of the five (Costco excluded) got the highest possible marks for service, defined as employee courtesy and checkout speed.


Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.

The biggest gripe among survey respondents (19%) was a lack of enough open checkouts, followed by congested aisles, out-of-stock advertised specials, and lack of choice. Shoppers at Walmart — which received the lowest scores overall — were dissatisfied with too few open checkouts, basic items being out of stock and spotty price labeling.

Respondents indicated a willingness to switch stores, with one-third of Consumer Reports subscribers reporting they had stopped shopping at a nearby store in the past year, mostly due to high prices, but also because of long waits, inadequate selection or poor food quality.

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US (NY): Near Perfect Conditions for apple growers

US (NY): Near Perfect Conditions for apple growers

Good news to report Thursday evening for apple farmers in New York State. The New York Apple Association says this year’s crop to be 100 percent or more than their typical yield due to better weather conditions and the new plantings over the past five to six years that are now coming into production.

This comes after early-season freezes last year destroyed much of the State’s crop in the bud, the 2012 crop was estimated at 17.1 million bushels. The experts say this year fruit size and sugars should be excellent as growers have seen close to perfect growing conditions. That means strong bloom, good pollination and plenty of sunlight, heat and moisture.

The first shipments of apples are expected to arrive on the market in mid-August. New York State apple shippers said they would have more supplies of popular varieties including HoneyCrisp, Gala, McIntosh and Empire.

Two new varieties of apples will be making their way to farm stands in New York. SnapDragon and RubyFrost are the names of the two new apples announced today. This comes after more than a decade of development by Cornell University. Reisinger tells us he will soon have these varieties available at his farm.


Publication date: 8/2/2013