Blog Archives

Winter organic Peruvian grapes begin

Winter organic Peruvian grapes begin

Awe Sum Organics, one of the largest importers of organic apples and organic kiwifruit in North America, has just kicked off the second season of their exclusive organic Peruvian grape program. The first organic green seedless Sugraones arrived in mid-November, and quality reports have been outstanding. These grapes have been in development since early 2007 when David Posner, Founder and CEO of Awe Sum Organics, dreamed of creating an organic grape program in the winter months to compliment the domestic grape season. David and his team are very excited to see the second harvest season of this Awe Sum project begin. “The bunches of our organic Sugraones have a nice shape with large berries and are incredibly sweet, crisp and flavorful,” says David. 

With the vines in their second year of production, Awe Sum Organics expects to see a larger crop this season. Nick Moless, Program Manager for Awe Sum Organics said “the greater supply will be welcomed, and allow us to reach more customers with this amazing product; however, demand is still projected to well outpace supply.”

Awe Sum Organics plans to start shipping organic Red Crimson seedless grapes by mid-December. The harvest was underway in Peru two weeks ago when Mr. Posner travelled to the vineyard to see the fruit in the field, the current harvest, and the fruit being packed in the new state-of-the art packing facility. “Our Crimson Seedless have a beautiful color and also great flavor, with a smaller berry size than our Sugraones,” said Mr. Posner. The total volume of the Crimsons will be much more limited than the Sugraones, and the crop will have a shorter window. 

The organic grape program will finish with organic seeded Red Globes, which start after the seedless varieties end, around the first of the year. The Red Globes will boast the largest berry size of all three varieties, as well as exceptional color and eating quality. The organic Red Globes will be available in larger volumes than the organic seedless Crimsons. Awe Sum is pleased with the reception the Red Globe seeded grapes received last season. “Some customers expressed concern about their ability to sell organic seeded grapes,” stated Mr. Moless, “and many started by trying out a small volume. What they found was their customers bought them in similar volumes as the seedless varieties.”

One of the aspects of the program that Awe Sum Organics is most proud of is the fact that they are Fair for Life certified by IMO Switzerland as well as 100% of their organic grape production. Fair for Life certification guarantees fair wages, good working conditions and social responsibility at each and every stage of production and throughout the distribution chain.

Since 1985, Awe Sum Organics has been a leader in the organic movement. “Throughout our growth, we have remained dedicated to the principles on which Awe Sum Organics was founded. In addition to outstanding taste and quality, our fruit embodies core ethics which we will never compromise. We believe in doing what is right for humankind, and the environment as a whole,” said David. 

Each Awe Sum Organics grape carton is an 18lb minimum, containing 12 zipper bags.

For more information:
Awe Sum Organics
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 831-462-2244

Publication date: 12/2/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter

The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. “Our favorable winter climate facilitates growing a wide variety of vegetables during a time when most states are experiencing cold conditions. Florida’s fruits and vegetables are known for their high quality and freshness.”

Perny said most of Florida’s fruits and vegetables are grown south of Interstate 4. “Citrus is grown more in the central and south-central counties, and vegetables grown from the south-central to southeast/southwest counties,” he told The Produce News. “Palm Beach County is Florida’s leading agricultural county, and Polk County is the leading citrus producer.”

extra-ov-picA produce truck in a field near Immokalee, FL. A host of commodities was being harvested at press time.Perny said a host of commodities as being harvested at press time, including avocados, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, white and colored grapefruit, Navel oranges, tangerines, Bell and specialty peppers, squash, sugar cane, fall crop watermelon and various tropical fruits. Tomato production is winding down in north Florida and ramping up in south Florida.

“Crops that should start to ship in November, in addition to the above, are sweet corn, strawberries, radishes, Iceberg and Romaine lettuce and tangelos,” he said.

Weather has affected some harvest windows. “Wet August and September conditions caused some delays in getting fall and winter vegetable crops planted in central and southwest/southeast Florida,” Perny stated. “Generally, we have noted about a one-week harvesting delay in the start of select fresh-market vegetables. Affected crops so far appear to be only fall watermelons and squash. Drier weather over the past several weeks has aided in the harvesting of north Florida and panhandle field crops and helped the planting of winter vegetables such as cabbage, strawberries and greens in the Putnam, Flagler and Bradford county areas.”

A spot check of Florida commodities at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s terminal market report does not show adverse quality issues, Perny commented. “Grapefruits are reported to be on the small side, but have good quality,” he added.

Perny said the general rule of thumb is that approximately 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are consumed within the state, with 80 percent moving to out-of-state and international markets. “Florida’s leading export nation for fresh-market commodity shipments is Canada,” he said.

With such a vast array of fresh items, Florida consumers have no difficulty sourcing locally grown and available produce. “Consumers are definitely more interested in where their food is grow and its freshness/quality,” Perny explained. “Restaurants are marketing using locally grown ingredients. Some menus are featuring all Fresh from Florida meals. Most Florida grocery stores are marketing local connections by featuring grower profiles in their stores and buying local fresh products.”

Perny was asked how the department defines what is locally grown. “One of Florida’s 300 agricultural commodities,” he responded. “So the answer would be in state. Most consumers are surprised to find out how quickly our produce reaches their favorite grocer or fruit stand. A vegetable picked today can be on Florida grocery shelves tomorrow and in Michigan in 48-72 hours. The state enjoys an excellent interstate highway system that runs the entire length of Florida, which facilitates the quick and timely shipments to the Midwest, Northeast and Canadian markets.”

To promote Florida fresh produce, the department engages in retail advertising promotions with most eastern U.S. and Canadian grocery stores, conducts international retail promotions in Asia, Europe and Canada and actively engages in in-state and out-of-state media advertising. Perny said Florida restaurant promotions feature Fresh from Florida commodities. Agriculture association events and industry trade shows are sponsored and attended.

“This year’s Fresh from Florida retail agricultural promotions will continue to support U.S. and Canadian grocers with print promotion of Florida fresh market commodities but will add a new emphasis on more product samplings within select Florida, U.S. and international grocery store locations,” he added.

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

Western winter vegetable supplies — late, light and expensive

It appears as if the winter vegetable deal from the California and Arizona desert may be one for the ages. Decreased production in the shoulder deal from Huron in California’s San Joaquin Valley promises to get the winter deal off to a fast start in terms of pricing. Throw in weather issues that have generally decreased winter vegetable volume across the board and “demand exceeds supply” could well be the mantra for the next couple of months.

Salinas, CA-based Tanimura & Antle, one of the nation’s leading vegetable suppliers, puts out a newsletter every few weeks forecasting supplies for the following three weeks. The firm’s forecast for the three weeks prior to Thanksgiving succinctly echoes the comments that are being uttered by growers and shippers throughout the West.

broccoli-side1Cauliflower, broccoli and celery are some of the myriad of winter desert vegetables grown in California and Arizona each year.“Salinas is melting and rain is forecasted for this weekend,” said the newsletter released on the last day of October. “Shippers expecting their desert deals to come in early and save the day will be quickly disappointed.”

There were several late summer storms that came roaring up from the Pacific Ocean through Baja California and into the California and Arizona deserts. These heavy rains during the planting season have caused the winter deal to be a bit late and with lighter supplies than usual. The T&A newsletter warns that “customers are going to have to be flexible and accept less than perfect product or run the risk of being short this Thanksgiving season.”

Mike Aiton, marketing manager for Prime Time Sales in Coachella, CA, which has winter deals in Baja California, mainland Mexico and Coachella, confirmed that supplies of the company’s top product — colored peppers — as well as tomatoes and a number of vegetable items are going to be short throughout November and even deep into December.

While he expected green Bell peppers to reach normal supply levels in early December, Aiton said the colored peppers and the popular minis won’t see volume return until early January.

Douglas Schaefer, president of EJ’s Produce Sales Inc. in Phoenix, told The Produce News on Wednesday, Oct. 29, that a very difficult situation was brewing.

“Salinas is about finished. Yields from Huron are off and Yuma is late. Strap on your boots and fasten your seat belts,” he said, indicating that a wild ride is in the works.

Schaefer said the August and September rains in Arizona greatly affected planting schedules and threw everyone off. “It’s all because of H20.”

T&A had a similar assessment.

“The California drought is a reality and we are only starting to see the challenges associated with it,” reported the T&A Straight Talk newsletter. “Whether it is the lack of water or the quality of water is diminished, our sizing and plant population in Huron is subpar, but at least we have a deal there.”

The last comment was in reference to the significant decrease in production that has occurred in Huron in recent years, largely because of lack of water. It is this lack of lettuce and other vegetable production during the pre-Thanksgiving period when demand is high that is setting the winter deal up for a very hot market.

On Monday, Oct. 27, the Iceberg lettuce market hit $ 20 f.o.b. Four days later, the federal Market News report put the Iceberg lettuce price at about $ 25 per carton and heading north. This year, the Thanksgiving demand was expected to kick in around Nov. 11 and last for 10-12 days.

Forecasting that time period, T&A believes Huron will be winding down and Yuma will be just getting under way. The company expects about 90 percent of its budgeted volume. In a very understated way, the newsletter states that the “market will remain strong.”

Mark McBride of Coastline in Salinas called the next couple of months “a very challenging situation.” He acknowledged being “old school” and said he is fearful that short supplies could lead to very high prices that would then choke off demand. But he said the short supply situation on lettuce is not going away until after Thanksgiving and possibly after Christmas.

Some other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower, appear to be in better shape, but celery is also expected to be in short supply.

Come Thanksgiving, tables will be set and vegetables will be served. So whatever is in relatively good supply with reasonable prices will see big demand, which will also affect the post-Thanksgiving period.

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

Western winter vegetable supplies — late, light and expensive

It appears as if the winter vegetable deal from the California and Arizona desert may be one for the ages. Decreased production in the shoulder deal from Huron in California’s San Joaquin Valley promises to get the winter deal off to a fast start in terms of pricing. Throw in weather issues that have generally decreased winter vegetable volume across the board and “demand exceeds supply” could well be the mantra for the next couple of months.

Salinas, CA-based Tanimura & Antle, one of the nation’s leading vegetable suppliers, puts out a newsletter every few weeks forecasting supplies for the following three weeks. The firm’s forecast for the three weeks prior to Thanksgiving succinctly echoes the comments that are being uttered by growers and shippers throughout the West.

broccoli-side1Cauliflower, broccoli and celery are some of the myriad of winter desert vegetables grown in California and Arizona each year.“Salinas is melting and rain is forecasted for this weekend,” said the newsletter released on the last day of October. “Shippers expecting their desert deals to come in early and save the day will be quickly disappointed.”

There were several late summer storms that came roaring up from the Pacific Ocean through Baja California and into the California and Arizona deserts. These heavy rains during the planting season have caused the winter deal to be a bit late and with lighter supplies than usual. The T&A newsletter warns that “customers are going to have to be flexible and accept less than perfect product or run the risk of being short this Thanksgiving season.”

Mike Aiton, marketing manager for Prime Time Sales in Coachella, CA, which has winter deals in Baja California, mainland Mexico and Coachella, confirmed that supplies of the company’s top product — colored peppers — as well as tomatoes and a number of vegetable items are going to be short throughout November and even deep into December.

While he expected green Bell peppers to reach normal supply levels in early December, Aiton said the colored peppers and the popular minis won’t see volume return until early January.

Douglas Schaefer, president of EJ’s Produce Sales Inc. in Phoenix, told The Produce News on Wednesday, Oct. 29, that a very difficult situation was brewing.

“Salinas is about finished. Yields from Huron are off and Yuma is late. Strap on your boots and fasten your seat belts,” he said, indicating that a wild ride is in the works.

Schaefer said the August and September rains in Arizona greatly affected planting schedules and threw everyone off. “It’s all because of H20.”

T&A had a similar assessment.

“The California drought is a reality and we are only starting to see the challenges associated with it,” reported the T&A Straight Talk newsletter. “Whether it is the lack of water or the quality of water is diminished, our sizing and plant population in Huron is subpar, but at least we have a deal there.”

The last comment was in reference to the significant decrease in production that has occurred in Huron in recent years, largely because of lack of water. It is this lack of lettuce and other vegetable production during the pre-Thanksgiving period when demand is high that is setting the winter deal up for a very hot market.

On Monday, Oct. 27, the Iceberg lettuce market hit $ 20 f.o.b. Four days later, the federal Market News report put the Iceberg lettuce price at about $ 25 per carton and heading north. This year, the Thanksgiving demand was expected to kick in around Nov. 11 and last for 10-12 days.

Forecasting that time period, T&A believes Huron will be winding down and Yuma will be just getting under way. The company expects about 90 percent of its budgeted volume. In a very understated way, the newsletter states that the “market will remain strong.”

Mark McBride of Coastline in Salinas called the next couple of months “a very challenging situation.” He acknowledged being “old school” and said he is fearful that short supplies could lead to very high prices that would then choke off demand. But he said the short supply situation on lettuce is not going away until after Thanksgiving and possibly after Christmas.

Some other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower, appear to be in better shape, but celery is also expected to be in short supply.

Come Thanksgiving, tables will be set and vegetables will be served. So whatever is in relatively good supply with reasonable prices will see big demand, which will also affect the post-Thanksgiving period.

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

Intergrow Greenhouses expansion ready for winter production

Intergrow Greenhouses Inc., based in Albion, NY, has nearly completed its recent expansion and addition of growing lights in the greenhouse for winter production. The expansion will increase Intergrow’s total acreage to approximately 80 acres of greenhouse under glass in the Northeast region.intelog

Intergrow installed approximately 9,000 light fixtures in the greenhouse for its winter production. The addition of lights will enable Intergrow to supply its customers with locally grown tomatoes 12 months of the year without the need to source from other regions or countries.

A new Cogeneration-CHP generator will be added to assist in the electrical demand for the growing lights. The packinghouse facilities are also upgraded with new automated systems to handle the increased production.

“The demand for year-round locally grown produce justified the substantial investment needed to grow tomatoes during the winter months in New York,” Kris Gibson, vice president of sales and marketing for Intergrow, said in a press release. “Warm weather and sunlight are in limited supply during the Northeast winters, but with the addition of lights we can now create optimal growing conditions year-round. Our customers will be able to have locally grown tomatoes on the vine and beefsteak tomatoes delivered within 24 hours of harvest providing the freshest tomatoes possible, even in the middle of winter.”

Intergrow Greenhouses Inc. is one of the larger greenhouse tomato producers in the Northeast, located in New York state along the shores of Lake Ontario. Founded in 1998, Intergrow ships across the Northeast and Midwest with its own fleet of reefer trailers, reducing food miles for retailers and distributors.

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

Intergrow Greenhouses expansion ready for winter production

Intergrow Greenhouses Inc., based in Albion, NY, has nearly completed its recent expansion and addition of growing lights in the greenhouse for winter production. The expansion will increase Intergrow’s total acreage to approximately 80 acres of greenhouse under glass in the Northeast region.intelog

Intergrow installed approximately 9,000 light fixtures in the greenhouse for its winter production. The addition of lights will enable Intergrow to supply its customers with locally grown tomatoes 12 months of the year without the need to source from other regions or countries.

A new Cogeneration-CHP generator will be added to assist in the electrical demand for the growing lights. The packinghouse facilities are also upgraded with new automated systems to handle the increased production.

“The demand for year-round locally grown produce justified the substantial investment needed to grow tomatoes during the winter months in New York,” Kris Gibson, vice president of sales and marketing for Intergrow, said in a press release. “Warm weather and sunlight are in limited supply during the Northeast winters, but with the addition of lights we can now create optimal growing conditions year-round. Our customers will be able to have locally grown tomatoes on the vine and beefsteak tomatoes delivered within 24 hours of harvest providing the freshest tomatoes possible, even in the middle of winter.”

Intergrow Greenhouses Inc. is one of the larger greenhouse tomato producers in the Northeast, located in New York state along the shores of Lake Ontario. Founded in 1998, Intergrow ships across the Northeast and Midwest with its own fleet of reefer trailers, reducing food miles for retailers and distributors.

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

Mild winter effects salad market in France

Mild winter effects salad market in France

Soleil Roy produces salad over the winter, from the end of October through to  April.  Jean-Louis Sylvestre says that this season was ”not good due to the mild winter” which meant that there was an abundance of produce growing in the North of Europe and lack of demand for salads usually grown in the milder climates. 


They export their salads all over Northern Europe, to countries such as Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, Scandinavia as well as countries in Eastern Europe such as  Poland and the Czech Republic.  Mr Sylvestre estimates that 70% of their salad production is exported whilst the rest is for national consumption. 

 

Whilst Soleil Roy grow salads in the Languedoc-Roussillon, ”we are producing more and more in Spain, we started with 25% and now 75% of our salad production is in Spain”.  Their salads are grown in both greenhouses and outdoor.  Varieties include butterhead lettuce, batavia, red varieties, fine frisée and escarole.  

Salad is an important product for the company, but Mr Sylvestre says that it is less and less profitable due to increasing production prices.

Soleil Roy International

Marché International St. Charles

129, Rue de Murcia

BP 5406 – 66034 Perpignan Cedex

Publication date: 7/15/2014
Author: Emma Tandy
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Mastronardi keeps winter tomato supply going with Michigan-grown product

Despite the harsh winter that has occurred in much of the United States, Mastronardi Produce has continued to keep the supply of fresh, flavorful tomatoes going with its Michigan-grown product.

Mastronardi grows fresh tomatoes-on-the-vine and grape tomatoes 365 days a year at its facility in Coldwater, MI. This state-of-the-art, high-tech greenhouse has been operating since 2012 and uses grow lights to produce fresh tomatoes year round, even when there’s snow on the ground.

“The ability to grow fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter is something we are very proud of,” Paul Mastronardi, chief executive officer of the Kingsville, ON-based greenhouse producer, said in a press release. “The location of Coldwater means we can pick, pack and ship the freshest possible tomatoes in the same day. This means we continue to deliver the highest flavor possible while also reducing food miles.”

Coldwater’s Phase II expansion began this winter, with completion expected this summer. The expansion will increase energy efficiency, create more local jobs and enable Mastronardi to introduce even more great products for local year-round production.

“We’ve received incredible feedback from our Midwest customers who are thrilled to have flavorful local tomatoes during the winter, so we’re excited for the opportunity to expand our ‘Sunset’ brand to include more year-round products,” Mastronardi added in the press release.

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

Winter storm shutting down Northeast, slows produce

Yet another fierce storm has hit the Northeast, this one shutting down ports and closing produce terminal markets early. The storm was expected to blast Boston on Thursday night and continue throughout much of New England throughout Thursday and Friday.

The Produce News reached Todd Penza, sales representative for Pinto Brothers Inc., located on the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, on Thursday morning at about 9:30. “We have a crew here because we have a truck to unload,” said Penza. “The ports being closed do not really affect us because we don’t handle imports. However, it does affect us in getting our staff in, trucks with more product in and product out to customers, so everyone is affected in some way.”

He said he didn’t know how many stores on the Philadelphia market were open on Thursday morning, but that some had closed.

“We’ll keep at it as much as possible,” Penza added. “We need to be ready for the weekend. But for today, the minute we’re finished we’re out of here.”

Bruce Klein, director of marketing for Maurice A. Auerbach, located in Secaucus, NJ, told The Produce News at about 10 a.m. that people left in his office were also heading out soon.

“We have already sent just about everyone home,” he said. “Until the ports are open and we start getting product again, we’ll be selling from our present inventory, which for the most part has, fortunately, a healthy shelf life with items like garlic and ginger.”

He said that the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, was open on Wednesday night, and word was out that it planned to open again on Thursday night. But mixed forecasts that included more snow, icy conditions and icy rain — not to mention port openings or closings — may determine who opens and who doesn’t.

“We at least have the means to work virtually today,” he pointed out optimistically. “A decade ago we would not have had the ability to stay in touch with our staff, suppliers or customers. Today we can at least keep each other informed from our homes or wherever we are waiting out the storm as to when we’ll be functioning again.”

Steve Koster, spokesperson for E. Armata, located on the Hunts Point Terminal Market, told The Produce News that the company did have staff in on Thursday, and it was selling what it had on hand. “But weather conditions are worsening,” he said. “Lack of product is looming, as there are trucks and rail shipments already backed up from the West. The ports in the Northeast will probably not get their shipments to the market until early next week. With the Hunts Point market closed Monday, older and new shipments will be hitting at the same time. What a challenging winter!”

On Thursday, Feb. 13, MarineLink.com issued an alert that stated that due to the severity of the predicted storm that night and expected to continue through Friday, container terminals in the port of NY/NJ would be closed on Thursday. The port stated that it would advise on Friday at 1 p.m. as to the gate opening hours for Friday morning, adding that individual terminal websites would also post additional information as it became available.

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

Fresh Farms adds new items to winter lineup, doubles cucumber volume

Fresh Farms in Nogales, AZ, has just finished its seventh year in business. “We are still growing and have plans to continue to grow,” said Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing.

This year, the company has added “several new items that we think will really add to our mix and make stopping at Fresh Farms more attractive,” he said.

Fresh Farms has also increased volume on some items. Most notably, “we have doubled our cucumber production,” Havel said. “We were big in cucumbers. Fresh-FarmsAt the Fresh Farms sales office in Rio Rico, AZ, with Jerry Havel (front) are Mayra Beltran, Robert Hernandez, Martha Noriega, Al Voll and Marco Serrano. (Photo by John Groh)Now we are very large in cucumbers.”

The cucumbers and most of the other items are grown by the Molina family of Hermosillo, Sonora, who own Fresh Farms and who have substantial farming operations in Mexico.

“Eggplant, Roma tomatoes and pickles are from outside growers,” he said.

While there have been weather issues in some growing areas in Mexico, “in our area we were fine. We had no issues” with inclement weather, Havel said. “We are in Sonora, and most of the bad weather was in Sinaloa.”

Several other items, including some of the new additions, started before the end of November. Among those were English cucumbers, eggplant, Roma tomatoes, fresh pickles and hard shell squash, including Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti and Kabocha.

“Our eggplant, green bean and Roma tomato programs are all out of Culiacan, Sinaloa,” Havel said. The hard shell squash is “all out of Sonora,“ some coming from Hermosillo and some from Guaymas.

Fresh Farms started its fresh pickle program last year, but it was just for the latter half of the season. This year, the program started at the beginning of the season, in November, and will run through the winter and into April, Havel said.

The same is true of the Roma tomato program. This year, “we are starting at the beginning of the season rather than the end of the season.” That not only gives Fresh Farms Romas for a more extended period but also increases the overall volume the company is shipping.

Eggplant this year started in November and will run clear through into May, he said.

Fresh Farms’ soft squash program is about the same this year as it has been in the past, Havel said. “Our big increases are in cucumbers and the new items that we will be doing.”

The company will also have an increase in bell pepper volume this winter, he said. Those had already started and would continue into April. They are grown in shade houses in Hermosillo and Guaymas.

In green beans, as in cucumbers, “we have doubled” the volume for the current season.

In summary, Havel said, “we just have more volume of great quality product,” and that growth is driven by demand “from our clients.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

US: H-2A delays threaten winter vegetable harvest

US: H-2A delays threaten winter vegetable harvest

America’s nearly $ 4 billion winter vegetable harvest is in jeopardy if the Obama administration doesn’t immediately speed up foreign guest worker visa applications that have been stalled during the government shutdown, the Western Growers Association warns.

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification at the U.S. Department of Labor has been closed since Oct. 1 and processing of H-2A guest worker applications was halted just when the growing season for winter vegetables was getting underway, the association said in a news release.

Federal workers who were furloughed under the partial government shutdown were to return to work Oct. 17.

It usually takes at least eight weeks to process H-2A applications and if workers are not in place by Nov. 18, consequences will be dire, said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers. “The H-2A program has never been efficient or responsive to needs of employers or workers even in the best of times,” Nassif said. “Inaction by Congress on immigration reform has forced farmers to turn to H-2A in desperation, but if these applications are not processed in an expedited manner, the Yuma and Imperial winter vegetable harvest, which relies on thousands of H-2A workers, will suffer and consumers will face a shortage of domestic fresh produce. Prices will surely rise as supplies diminish.”

Desert regions of Arizona and California produce 90 percent of the country’s vegetables in winter. Applications have not been processed for more than two weeks and a backlog has grown. Some 30 to 50 percent of agricultural workers in Yuma County, Ariz., and Imperial County, Calif., are H-2A guest workers during the winter, the association said.

Source: capitalpress.com

Publication date: 10/18/2013


FreshPlaza.com