SAN DIEGO — Editor Greg Johnson, Managing Editor Fred Wilkinson, National Editor Tom Karst, Retail Editor Pamela Riemenschneider, and Staff Writers Mike Hornick and Vicky Boyd collected these news items on the exposition floor at United Fresh 2013.
APIO: Apio Inc.’s ginger bok choy kit joins its kale salad mix line, rolling out in the Western U.S. with planned nationwide distribution, says Mike Curran, vice president of national accounts and foodservice. Twelve-ounce bags will retail for around $3.99, and 28-ounce bags will be available for foodservice, he says.
BIRKO: Mark Swanson, chief executive officer of Birko Corp., Henderson, Colo., said its conveyor system uses a sensor to optimize application of anti-microbial spray on produce. Birko can custom-build the system to any commodity, Swanson said. Birko has a history of designing and building food safety equipment for meat processors and since moving into the fresh produce market counts Cashmere, Wash.-based apple marketer Crunch Pak among its clients, he said.
NATURE FRESH: Leamington, Ontario-based greenhouse tomato grower Nature Fresh Farms now offers fried green tomato kits in a two-pack, says salesman Tyler Clark. Kits include a batter mix and should retail for around $4.99, he says.
HEINZEN MANUFACTURING: Rudi Groppe, president, showed off the Gilroy-based Heinzen Manufacturing International’s new conveyor design that allows for easy sanitation. The solid urethane belt features positive-drive teeth on the bottom that keeps it on track. Workers also are able to flip the belt up for easy access to sanitize parts below.
IPPILITO: Katie Harreld, sales manager for the Salinas, Calif.-based Ippilito International LP, displays the new two-pack of microwavable artichokes. The pouch contains two microwavable bags and a size chart so consumers can determine how long to cook the artichokes.
KWIK LOK: Larry Leonard, Kwik Lok Corp. regional sales manager based in Clovis, displayed the new touchscreen for the company's 901 printer. With a few clicks of a stylus, users can insert type, quick-response codes or other images on the screen and see them as they’ll be printed on the bag closures.
C.H. ROBINSON: Kristi Harris, marketing manager-sourcing for C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., shows the company’s new pineapple display, which is made by Air Flow, a Minnesota manufacturing company. She says the display began shipping to retailers this spring and comes in two versions: 34-pineapple capacity (above) and a 60-pineapple capacity version.
VILLAGE FARMS: Village Farms introduced its Exquisite-brand heirloom-type greenhouse tomato in a two-pack clamshell. Helen Aquino, marketing manager, said it’s a ribbed beefsteak tomato with a sweet-tart flavor, and it’s available year-round.
GLOBALG.A.P.: The Global Food Safety Initiative has re-recognized GlobalG.A.P.'s Integrated Farm Assurance and recognized its Produce Safety Standard programs. Both are designed for the farm through the packinghouse, but not for processors, said Jonathon Needham, operations management, Baltimore. Integrated Farm Assurance is intended for global markets and the Produce Safety Standard is for U.S. and Canada, covering food safety and traceability.
SUN BELLE: Janice Honigberg, president of Sun Belle Inc., Schiller Park, Ill., shows the company’s proprietary Erika variety raspberries. She says the company is increasing its availability of the variety, now offering it from Baja California, Mexico, January through March and again in June and July. She says the company already sources blackberries from that region. Sun Belle is the exclusive supplier of Erika raspberries in the Americas, Honigberg says.
RAMSAY HIGHLANDER: A new film wrapping machine, a joint venture from European company BrimaPack and Ramsay Highlander Inc., Gonzales, Calif., is now available. Ramsay Highlander president and CEO Frank Maconachy said the machine wraps product, particularly head lettuce, in a shelf-life extending film and seals it, in the field. He said a typical field configuration of six machines can pack 6,000 heads an hour and would save a grower $600,000 a year in reduced labor costs.
WHOLLY GUACAMOLE: Jay Alley, vice president of retail operations for Wholly Guacamole, Saginaw, Texas, shows the packages of the company’s new line of Minis. It’s rebranded from the 100-calorie pack and will come in cups rather than tubes. He says the four varieties – classic, spicy, avocado ranch and chunky avocado—should be available the beginning of August. It’s available in four 2-ounce packs and six 2-ounce packs.
ALLEN LUND: The partnership the La Canada, Calif.-based company has formed with Loop Fresh Produce LP, McAllen, Texas, is paying dividends, said David Lund, vice president of sales and branch operations. The company is using Loop Fresh’s warehouse, where loads are consolidated and then sent to destinations that include Dallas, Denver and Chicago. Since October, the main commodities in the program are berries, Lund said, including strawberries and blueberries. Lund says the berry deal ends in June but the Lund company is handling other products. Ashley Lund, representing the third generation of the family, will be interning with the company this summer.
DAVE’S SPECIALTY IMPORTS: Pineapples and asparagus have been added to the core blueberry business for Dave’s Specialty Imports, Miami, says spokesman Mike Bowe. Customers also are asking the company add citrus and grapes. “We are going to continue meet the customer needs and their requests,” he says.
WISH FARMS: California strawberry acreage is up about 25% in Santa Maria and Salinas this year for Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms, said James Peterson, spokesman. The company is growing strawberries in California for the third year. “The goal is to be a 12-months berry supplier when it comes to strawberries and blueberries, so having both Salinas and Santa Maria we have California months covered,” he said. The company’s Florida strawberry volume is about four times of its California volume. The company also expanded blueberry sourcing to include Argentina, Chile, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, and British Columbia.