Zeal-labeled navel and cara cara oranges are in the spotlight at the more than 200 Hy-Vee Food Stores Inc. markets in the Midwest as the company conducts its annual citrus sale contest among produce managers.

California citrus featured in annual Hy-Vee competition

“For the first time, we are using the contest as an opportunity to showcase our commitment to sustainable agriculture by offering our customers a quality product grown under strict environmental and social standards,” Ron Coles, assistant vice president of produce purchasing for the West Des Moines, Iowa-based chain, said in a news release.

The oranges and cara caras — 45 truckloads of them — were supplied by Sunwest Fruit Co. Inc., Parlier, Calif. Sunwest’s Zeal-labeled fruit is grown under strict production standards established and audited by Protected Harvest, Soquel, Calif., a third-party certification agency, said Doug Sankey, Sunwest’s marketing manager.

“So many customers have asked about sustainability, but Hy-Vee is walking the talk by supplying their customers with high quality fruit grown with care for the environment,” he said. “It is more than a buy-sell relationship.”

Sunwest began the Protected Harvest program in 2008 and launched the Zeal label the same year.