Chris KogerEasterday FarmsVANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Packer’s news editor Chris Koger and staff writer Mike Hornick collected these news items at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention and trade show April 2-4.
EASTERDAY FARMS: Jeana Goodwin, saleswoman for Easterday Farms, Pasco, Wash., says her goal at CPMA is to educate Canadian buyers and dispel some common mistruths. For example, non-size A potatoes are allowed in Canada. “They’re great customers, they’re great neighbors,” Goodwin says of Canadian buyers.
OPPENHEIMER: The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, is seeing a lot of interest in the Envy apple, thanks to Cher. The singer on April 3 tweeted that if she could marry a fruit, it would be the Envy. Since then, cherry, apple and pear category director David Nelley’s Twitter feed’s been “going crazy,” he said. The apple, a cross of a braeburn and royal gala, will be available in the U.S. again when New Zealand fruit arrives in June through August, with Washington Envys available in October Nelley said.
Chris KogerSun RichSUN RICH: Fresh-cut company Sun Rich Fresh Foods Inc., Richmond, British Columbia, has a new preservative-free fruit salad, says Neville Israel, president. The product is being rolled out from its four processing centers in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Reading, Pa.
FRESH EXPRESS: New salads on the Canadian market include Cooking Greens pack of spinach with a flavor pack and a Juicing Greens 11-ounce bag of spinach and baby kale, said Ann Spencer, community relations for Fresh Express parent Chiquita Brands International, Charlotte, N.C.
STELLAR DISTRIBUTING: Stellar Distributing Inc., Madera, Calif., has stepped up volumes of Mexican figs shipping to Canada. “Last year we started dabbling in it, and this year we’re doing five times the production,” said Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager. “These are figs grown outside of Mexico City. We’ll start Coachella May 1. It’s year-round figs for Canada.” Those figs started harvesting in November and finish in May as Coachella, Calif., comes online.
Chris KogerLimonieraLIMONEIRA: Rick Goodside, domestic sales manager for the Santa Paula, Calif., lemon company, says pink lemons are a new for the company. They come in three-count pouches and 5-pound containers, Goodside says. Limoneira has introduced a foodservice pack as well, he says. The flavor of the pink lemon is similar to a yellow lemon, but with a little grapefruit taste, he says.
SAN MIGUEL: Jan Berk, vice president of San Miguel Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., said the company is seeing great success with kale products, including the Tuscan Kale pack, which is new in Canada, as is a rainbow chard pack.
Chris KogerClassic SaladsCLASSIC SALADS: Classic Salads showcases it Nordic Salad blend, available in Canada in May, says Timothy DePolo, senior vice president. The blend contains four baby lettuces: red and green leaf, lolla rosa and tango. Pictured is sales manager Bob Banuelos.
FRESH DIRECT: Importer Fresh Direct Produce Ltd., which received third place for its booth on the show floor, displayed red, yellow and green curry convenience packs with vegetables and flavor pack, said Kevin Yuan, transportation coordinator for the Vancouver-based company. Yuen said each pack contains a recipe. “It’s pretty convenient,” he said. Similar products are geared to soups.
Chris KogerWestmoreland SalesWESTMORELAND SALES: Greenhouse grower Westmoreland Sales received the best new product trophy on the show floor for a product that’s so new the final packaging is still in development. The product features a clamshell with two compartments. In the lid are affixed two small plastic bottles of olive oil and vinaigrette. The company’s label is Topline Farms and the new clamshell is labeled Topline Creations. Dino Dilaudo, sales and marketing representative, says the company is still deciding what vegetables might be used in the clamshell. The final version should be available in mid-June.
MASTRONARDI PRODUCE LTD.: Mastronardi has increased production of its Yelo tomatoes under the Sunset label by “more than double” since their introduction at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit last fall, said James Holden, vice president of sales. “Now that we’re coming into our Canadian season, we’re able to expand our distribution,” he said.
Mike HornickDole Fresh Vegetables DOLE: CarrieAnn Arias, director of marketing for Canada for Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co., shows Canadian packaging for two new Dole salad products, Kale Caesar and Sweet Kale. “We’re adding these to our lineup of kale items, capitalizing on the kale trend,” she says. “They started to ship in the West about a month ago and they’re about to start shipping in the East.”
RED HAT COOPERATIVE: Executive assistant Gillian Digman displayed Redcliff, Alberta-based Red Hat’s 1.1-pound Bruschetta clamshell pack of roma tomatoes, which began shipping in Canada only in March. It comes with a mix and a recipe for Ultimate Garlic Bruschetta. For the hamburger two-pack of tomatoes, Red Hat partnered with Alberta Beef, whose logo appears on the package. It also started shipping March. The company’s focus lately, though, is its recently launched organic Microgreens marketed by Planet Organic.
Mike HornickColumbia Marketing International COLUMBIA MARKETING INTERNATIONAL: Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing, anticipates higher volumes of cherries in Wenatchee, Wash.-based CMI’s Nature’s Candy pouch bags for the upcoming season. “We think most of what we sell at retail that goes into packages will be in these high-graphic pouches,” he says. “We started last year but didn’t have the crop to do it. So we delayed it until this year.”
DUDA FARM FRESH FOODS: Tim Ross, regional manager for the Oviedo, Fla.-based company, showed Duda’s new 1-pound package of celery sticks for the Canadian market. “We do a 1-pound in the U.S. too but it’s plain, without graphics,” Ross said. “Within the last couple months we started this in Canada. The product volume and price point seemed to fit consumers here more (than a larger bag), especially with the exchange rate.”
Mike HornickMisionero Vegetables MISIONERO VEGETABLES: Dan Canales, vice president of sales and marketing for Gonzalez, Calif.-based Misionero, shows a new line of blends: Spinach with Lemony Leaf, Arugula with Lemony Leaf and Sweet Lettuces with Lemony Leaf. “The lemony leaf is an herb, based on the sorrel family,” Canales says. “When you combine it with spinach or sweet lettuces, you can just put olive oil over the top. It’s a great flavor that takes away the need to dress it down with too much dressing.”
WINDSET FARMS: Windset, Delta, British Columbia, is introducing hydroponically grown Soprano strawberries in three sizes, including 2-pound and 1-pint containers, said Rich Tiveron, sales manager. “It has high sugar content,” he said. “They’re available year round grown under lights. We’re getting really good yields.”
Mike HornickDel Monte DEL MONTE FRESH: Jeff Murray, senior director of fresh-cut for North America, displays a new five-pack of individually bagged watermelon spears. Weight is 13.5 ounces. Del Monte Fresh also offers pineapple spears. “They’re perfect for lunches,” Murray says.
POM WONDERFUL: Pom Wonderful is planning a bigger version of its Mango, Hula and Coconut drinks, said Mark Orsi, vice president for North America beverage sales. “We’re just in the process of starting to present a larger size, 48 ounces,” he said.