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Industry Viewpoint: Farm bill in the homestretch
It’s the dog days of summer in Washington, DC, and Congress is a step closer toward enacting one of its top agenda items, the 2018 farm bill. Prior to the Fourth of July, the Senate passed a farm bill by a vote of 86-11, and on its second attempt, the House squeaked through a bill by a 213-211 vote. Before Congress left town for the August recess, both chambers... Read more
Farm Fresh Direct adds two potato veterans to sales staff
Farm Fresh Direct, a Monte Vista, CO-based company that is one of the largest U.S. potato growers and shippers, has added two potato-industry veterans to its sales team. The move positions FFD to further strengthen its distribution, sales and customer relationships, according to a release from company President and CEO Jamey Higham. Matt Glowczewski “Matt Glowczewski... Read more
Target names John Bauer SVP of global inventory management
Target announced that John Bauer will join the company as senior vice president of global inventory management. In this role, Bauer will lead the teams responsible for ordering, inventory positioning, global trade and domestic transportation. He will report to Target’s executive vice president and chief supply chain officer, Arthur Valdez Jr. Bauer most recently... Read more
Convenience and organic keep Ocean Mist a top player
Convenience is key at Ocean Mist Farms. The company is among the leaders in offering fresh artichokes and other cooking vegetables such as Brussels sprouts. One of its most popular products is its Season & Steam line, which brings microwavable packaging to a new level. Season & Steam offers various vegetables in a microwavable steam package with fresh... Read more
In the Trenches: Organic produce still has challenges to overcome
The produce industry has been moving forward at a rapid pace in the past several years. Extensive progress has been skillfully accomplished in several prime categories, especially in the fresh organic produce arena. According to the Organic Produce Network and Nielsen data, organic fresh produce sales were close to $5 billion in 2017, which was an 8 percent... Read more
Truck rates off highs, but still remain solid
During the annual three-day International Roadcheck of commercial truckers conducted in June by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, there were massive transportation delays and skyrocketing rates. That check, focusing on hours of service and the new ELD regulations, caused a frenzy with some produce rates climbing well above $10,000. “The most we paid was... Read more
California pomegranate industry looks for rebound crop
For the first time in three years, the California pomegranate industry is hopeful it will have a full crop. “We have had two poor seasons in a row," said Tom Tjerandsen, manager of the California Pomegranate Council. In both 2016 and 2017, unseasonably early rain in October reduced each of those crops to about 4.5 million cartons. This year, he said the crop... Read more
Fresh sales highlight Walmart’s strong quarter
Walmart’s Q2 sales showed the strongest growth in more than 10 years, led in part by the performance of grocery. Walmart’s fresh food category sales were strong with the best grocery comp in nine years. The company’s Sam’s Club stores also saw strong performance for produce sales. “We’re continuing to aggressively roll out grocery pickup and delivery in the... Read more
Apeel Sciences’ citrus product triples shelf life
After the successful launch of its Apeel avocados, Apeel Sciences is now releasing its product formulated for extending shelf life in the citrus category for both conventional and organic fruits. “We are wildly excited to be making this announcement because of the additional benefits we can bring to citrus,” said James Rogers, founder and chief executive officer... Read more
Metro's sales see double-digit increase
Metro's third quarter results were $4.6 billion — up 13.8 percent. Excluding $467 million in sales for the third quarter of 2018 resulting from the recently acquired Jean Coutu Group, sales would have been up 2.4 percent; same-store sales were up 2 percent. "We are satisfied with our third-quarter results, as we achieved strong same-store sales growth despite... Read more
Mexican mangos struggling in flooded U.S. market
North American mango importers continue to acquire large volume to place into an overflowing market — regardless of market prices. So said Daniel Ibarra, president of Splendid by Porvenir LLC, which is one of Mexico’s most influential mango grower-packer-exporters. “Everybody is trying to import more than the market can handle,” he said.Daniel Ibarra with his... Read more
Kroger robots to start delivery program in Arizona
The Kroger Co. and Nuro announced Scottsdale, AZ, as the city for their self-driving grocery delivery pilot. Fry's Food customers  can place delivery orders starting today. Earlier this summer, Kroger, America's largest supermarket retailer, and Nuro, maker of the world's first driverless delivery vehicle, announced a partnership to begin testing grocery... Read more
Good grape volume expected through the fall
After a slow start to the California summer grape deal for a variety of reasons, producers were expecting excellent volume and excellent quality with no gaps from early August through the Thanksgiving holiday. “By Friday of this week (Aug. 10) we should have good volume and be off to the races after that,” said Louie Galvan of Fruit Royale in Dinuba, CA. Galvan... Read more
Walmart's new $135 million distribution center
Walmart hosted a grand opening celebration to commemorate the official opening of its new $135 million distribution center in Mobile, AL. The event was a culmination of a multi-year effort, supported by state and local officials and community members, to strengthen Walmart’s supply chain network while creating more than 750 quality jobs. During the ceremony,... Read more
Giant Food Stores touts produce for back-to-school lunches
As the start of the school year approaches, parents everywhere will face the daily question of “what’s for lunch?” The nutritionists at Giant Food Stores (Giant/Martin’s) want to make packing healthy lunchboxes easier this school year by helping customers use Guiding Stars as a starting point for buying more nutritious food. Earlier this year, Giant/Martin’s,... Read more
The Peruvian sweet onion is a premium sweet onion during the fall and winter months. Peru remains the second-largest supplier of onions to the United States, following Mexico, with more than $50 million coming into the country in the last year. Imports begin in August and last until February, with peak shipments during the last three months of the year. Delbert... Read more
Skagit Valley’s George Wallace was 87
Skagit Valley potato icon George Wallace, who with his brother Dick founded G&D Wallace and Wallace Farms decades ago, died July 9 on the family farm near Burlington WA. He was 87. “He had been involved in agriculture in so many ways over the years,” Mr. Wallace’s son, Jack, told The Produce News. “He was a CPA and an insurance broker as well as a farmer,... Read more
SEPC recognizes Next Generation Award nominees
The Southeast Produce Council is now going through the selection process to decide upon the recipient of this year’s Next Generation Award, co-sponsored by The Produce News, to honor a young person who is the Next Generation of produce leaders for the industry. Those nominated for this prestigious award must meet the following criteria: 39 years or younger (on... Read more
Schnucks paying customers back for purchases
Schnuck Markets Inc. launched Schnucks Rewards, a program that allows customers to earn points redeemable for dollars off future purchases. “This is a modern way for us to say ‘thank you’ to customers for choosing Schnucks,” said Schnucks Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Todd Schnuck. “Customers will be rewarded for something they’re already doing — buying... Read more
Directly, or not, trade wars will impact Michigan apples
Domestic sales in the produce industry are complex, but Michigan apple shippers are among those who appreciate the challenges of the export market. Ken Korson, apple category manager for North Bay Produce Inc. in Traverse City, MI, traveled in Colombia, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic this summer to develop exports.Michigan apple exports ship to South... Read more