King Fresh expecting increase in cherry volume

berejiofjWith fresh produce in high demand, California cherry growers are preparing for a lighter crop than is typical. So far, quality appears to be excellent with a very low percentage of spurs and doubles as early indications point toward a volume around 7 million boxes.

“We see no problems so far,” said Keith Wilson, president of King Fresh Produce, based in Dinuba, CA. The company ships early season cherries, among other high-demand commodities like pomegranates, blueberries and strawberries. “We will increase our cherry volume this year by 10 percent,” he continued, “as well as increase our organic cherry offerings.”

King Fresh has been strategically upgrading the packline and its packing process at its Dinuba facility in preparation for the upcoming season, “We’re employing more technology for faster, smoother and more efficient packing,” said Wilson. “And we’ve just completed a $1.2 million expansion, adding 15,000 square feet of regular storage that will expand our palletizing area, giving us more capacity.”

One of three early season cherry shippers between Bakersfield and Fresno, the company boasts mainly red cherry varieties, but does ship a small amount of Rainiers as well. “The early season cherry deal is interesting because there’s no supply prior to the California season,” said Wilson. “The pipeline is dry, and since California cherries are one of the earliest crops to harvest, we don’t compete head on with the tree fruit or grapes for labor.”

As far as value for the retailer, Wilson reported big success with one- and two-pound cherry clamshells but noted that King Fresh is always willing to try new packaging types to meet the needs of the individual retailer. Wilson’s opinion of the very best value though? Location.

“My take with cherries is that a lot of these early varieties are grown in the 50-mile are around where our packinghouse is located,” he said. “A lot of that fruit is being trucked out of the region to be packed, and that means a lot of miles on those cherries. Packing early-season cherries right here in Dinuba results in a significant savings in freight, and in general, packouts seem to be better with less miles on the fruit.”

With so many other tree fruits shipping in the region, Wilson said it makes more sense to pick up multiple fruits in one place, loading cherries with other stone fruits.

Ayco reports jump in bagged asparagus sales
Ayco Farms is experiencing a substantial increase in bagged asparagus sales to some of its largest retail customers as consumer trends are changing in today's economy. “Bagged asparagus grabbed attention and seems to have kept traction due to consumer trends and the convenience of packaged produce,” said Avi Nir, Ayco Read More ...
Natural Grocers announces new director
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. announced that David C. Rooney was unanimously elected to the company's board of directors on Aug. 5. Rooney's election filled the vacant seat on the board created by the previously announced retirement of Michael T. Campbell, which was effective Aug. 5.  Rooney will serve an initial Read More ...
New cold storage and cross-docking operation Glacier Peak opens in Washington
Randy Hartmann, co-owner of Glacier Peak, a new cold storage, packing and cross-docking operation in Wapato, WA, announced its acquisition of the 55,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse Washington Harvest. Hartmann shared that "the purchase of this cold storage and packing operation is intended to provide for greater capacity and Read More ...
Keep on organic summer fruit for September success
Summer is cruising by and Stemilt’s Artisan Organics peach and nectarine season is doing the same. Now is the time to plan and push sales starting Labor Day and through the remainder of September, according to Brianna Shales, Stemilt’s senior marketing manager. Retailers should plan ads and focus on creative displays to show off Read More ...
Kroger launches contactless payments pilot in QFC division
The Kroger Co. launched a contactless payments pilot across the QFC division, located in Seattle, WA, allowing customers to use their mobile device for a more seamless checkout experience. The pilot includes the acceptance of Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, mobile banking apps and contactless chip cards, Read More ...
Oppy bringing Haskap berries to retailers
Building on its long history of breaking ground with new varieties, Oppy successfully introduced Haskap berries to customers in the greater Vancouver area, marking the first time these flavorful berries are available at retail. As a leading grower, marketer and distributor of fresh produce from around the world, Oppy is Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse