Business updates: Los Angeles Know Your Market - The Packer

Business updates: Los Angeles Know Your Market

07/26/2013 10:22:00 AM
Tom Burfield

Ken Vida, most recently with Goroda Imports, Uruapan, Mexico, will work on expanding national avocado sales.

Interfresh also has opened a field office in Dallas where Frank Bonaparte hopes to expand sales, and the company launched its first branded table grape program this summer, shipping red and green seedless grapes under the Patriot label, Puentes said.

Finally, the firm will have an “I (heart) berries” strawberry program out of central Mexico from November through April. The program should be helpful for Midwest sellers, since the berries will cross in Texas, Puentes said.

Chili roasts follow Melissa’s book launch

Coinciding with the release of its newest book, “Melissa’s Hatch Chile Cookbook,” Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce Inc. is hosting Hatch chili roasting events at Bristol Farms, Gelson’s and Sprouts supermarkets in the Los Angeles area this summer, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations.

Hatch chilies are becoming more popular every year, Schueller said.

The cookbook, written by Ida Rodriguez, Melissa’s corporate chef, and Sharon Hernandez, the company’s co-owner, has more than 150 unique and classic Hatch chili recipes for stews, casseroles, bloody marys and chocolate chip cookies. Hatch chilies are available in August and September.

Progressive expands in asparagus, fries

Progressive Produce Corp., Commerce, Calif., is significantly expanding its asparagus program and its foodservice line of Hollywood Fries, said Jack Gyben, vice president and partner.

The company continues to invest in acreage in Mexico to expand its availability of asparagus and to solidify its year-round supply, Gyben said.

“It’s made us a more significant player in the asparagus supply world.”

Progressive Produce put together its Hollywood Fries program to deliver a consistent frying performance to its foodservice customers on a year-round basis, he said.

It involved identifying and growing specific high-performance seed varieties that allow customers to confidently and consistently provide high-quality french fries and fried potatoes, Gyben said.

Ready Pac introduces organic salad bowls

Ready Pac Foods Inc., Irwindale, Calif., has introduced an organic extension of its Ready Pac Bistro Salad Bowls, said Tristan Simpson, senior director of marketing and corporate communications.

Four recipes within the Bistro Organic line have recently launched — organic cranberry walnut, organic chicken Caesar, organic Southwestern style and organic honey and mustard baby spinach.

“We have also had great traction with our Ready Snax line this year,” she said.

The trend toward increased kids’ snacking, along with research suggesting that children’s propensity to snack on fresh fruits and vegetables increases when paired with a flavored dip, makes Ready Snax “the optimal choice for promoting healthy snacking among kids,” she said.

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