See related content: FPFC Expo provides store-level opportunities

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Vicky Boyd, staff writer for The Packer, gathered these news items at the Fresh Produce & Floral Councils’ Northern California Expo April 10.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoATLAS PRODUCE: Caramel Naturel dates now come in 12-ounce packages. The company takes five fewer steps in the manufacturing process, reducing the products’ carbon footprint. The containers are designed to focus on the fruit, says Ben Antongiovanni, sales for Atlas Produce & Distribution Inc., Bakersfield, Calif.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoBARD VALLEY DATES: The Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association, Bard, Calif., introduced chili lime date rolls in 4.4- and 12-ounce packages under its Natural Delights brand. The new flavor is still being tested, but appears to be well received, said Dave Nelsen, vice president of sales for Datepac LLC, Yuma, Ariz.

BOLTHOUSE FARMS: Bakersfield, Calif.-based Wm. Bolthouse Farms Inc. added a “Multi-V Goodness” flavor to its smoothie line, salted caramel latte to its cafe beverage line, and mango ginger and the kale-based Daily Greens to its juice line. The grower, packer and processor also introduced Italian vinaigrette and miso ginger vinaigrette dressings to its salad dressings, says Ryan Popke, regional sales manager.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoCLASSIC SALADS: Watsonville, Calif.-based Classic Salads LLC introduced two new triple-washed salads for health conscious consumers × organic baby kale and a Super Mix blend. Both come in 5-ounce and 10-ounce clamshells, says John Burge, vice president, sales and marketing.

COLORFUL HARVEST: Although Salinas, Calif.-based Colorful Harvest has marketed blueberries in the past, it now has the berries year-round. The firm is working with growers in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas and hopes to have arrangements with growers in California and the Pacific Northwest shortly, says Robbie Coyle, business development manager.

EAT SMART/APIO: Apio Inc., Guadalupe, Calif., has a sweet kale salad blend that contains seven superfoods: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, baby kale, chickory, dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds, along with poppy seed dressing. The blend, marketed under the Eat Smart brand, comes in 12-ounce and 28-ounce bags, says Mike Curran, vice president of sales for Apio/GreenLine.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoGILLS ONIONS: After a hiatus from the market following recalls over listeria concerns, Gill’s Onions LLC, Oxnard, Calif., will return shortly with two new products in 15-ounce jars: caramelized red onions and grilled onions. “These are great for convenience because caramelizing onions is a chore to do with pots and pans,” says Pat Caselli of Edge Sales & Marketing, a broker for Gill’s.

MANN PACKING: Keeping in line with sustainability initiatives, Mann Packing Co. Inc., San Ramon, introduced lidless vegetable trays with individually sealed compartments. The grower-shipper also added 8- and 32-ounce bags of French beans and 10- and 22-ounce bags of crinkle-cut sweet potatoes to its extensive line of bagged vegetables, said Fernando Azevedo, national accounts, western region sales manager.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoMASTRONARDI: The long, slender Sweet Twister from Mastronardi Produce West LLC, Salinas, resembles an Anaheim chili pepper, but its sweet taste tells you otherwise. The red and orange peppers, marketed under the Sunset brand, are available in 8-ounce and 1 1/2-pound handled grab-and-go bags, says Ken Silveira, president.

MELISSA’S: Melissa’s has introduced 12-ounce microwavable packages of roasted baby Dutch potatoes with olive oil and rosemary that are ready in two to three minutes. World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles, which markets under the Melissa brand, also added 3-ounce containers of washed, cleaned and sliced leaks as well as kale sprouts, a blend of shredded brussels sprouts and kale, says Louie Barragan, sales.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoNATURIPE: Salinas-based Naturipe Farms LLC introduced 18-ounce flow-wrapped containers of prewashed ready-to-serve blueberries for food service. The firm also shows off Berry Quick snacks featuring washed, ready-to-eat blueberries in single-serve 1.5-ounce packs, three packs of 1.5 ounces each, and Disney themed three-packs, says Kyla Garnett, marketing manager.

READY PAC: Ready Pac, Salinas, added four blends to its organic Bistro Bowl offerings. They are chicken caesar, southwest style, cranberry walnut, and baby spinach and chicken. The blends are available in 4.5-7.5-ounce lunch sizes, and all are less than 300 calories, says Alan Ediger, senior vice president of sales.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoRPE: The Tasteful Selections line of specialty potatoes now includes small reds and yellows in 16-ounce microwavable bags that can be cooked in 6 minutes. Bancroft, Wis.-based RPE also redesigned the bags for Tasteful Selection’s Ruby Fingerling and Sunrise Medley to reduce consumer confusion, says Mark Bucek, regional sales manager.

SHANLEY FARMS: Morro Bay-based Shanley Farms shows off finger limes, an inch-long specialty citrus filled with small juice sacs that resemble fish roe. When consumers bite down on the sacs, they pop with a refreshing lime flavor, says Megan Shanley, director of marketing and sales.

From the show floor: FPFC Northern California ExpoTANIMURA & ANTLE: The Gem lettuce variety, a cross between Romaine and butter lettuce, has been coveted in culinary circles for years. Salinas-based Tanimura & Antle plans to introduce the variety to consumers in a three-pack marketed as Little Gems Sweet Lettuce, says Diana McClean, director of marketing. The company also plans to introduce Sweet Broccoli under its Artisan label.

WHOLLY GUACAMOLE: Two new varieties — homestyle with sea salt and salsa with spicy pico de gallo —joined the line of prepared guacamole products from Wholly Guacamole, part of Fresherized Foods, Saginaw, Texas. They are available in 10- to 12-ounce containers.