Twin Cities Know Your Market business update briefs

05/21/2012 02:32:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Bergin Fruit & Nut focuses on healthy foods for all ages

The focus is on providing healthful foods for youngsters and adults alike at Bergin Fruit & Nut Co., St. Paul, Minn., said Corey O’Connell, marketing and product development manager.

The company makes a number of fruit and nut products including its Healthy Heart, Antioxidant, Low Glycemic and Mega Omega mixes.

“People are starting to get a little bit smarter about what they put in their body,” O’Connell said.

The company is a big supporter of the Farm-to-School program and strives to support local economies and farms through its healthful nuts, grains, rice, dried fruit and other products, including almond and cashew butter now being released to some major supermarket chains in a new packaging style, he said.

H. Brooks & Co. prioritizes food safety, sustainability practices

Food safety is a top priority at H. Brooks & Co. LLC, New Brighton, Minn., said Phillip Brooks, chief executive officer.

The company ranks high in its Global Food Safety Initiative audits, is certified for sustainability by Food Alliance and works with local growers to provide training and guidance on steps they can take to enhance their food safety and sustainability practices, he said.

The company handles fresh-cut Vidalia onions and a wealth of other fresh-cut items, citrus, caramel apples in season and has ripening facilities for tomatoes, bananas, avocados and other fruit.

The firm also has a repacking operation for items like tomatoes and peppers and even offers logistics services, he said.

Russ Davis Wholesale plans to open distribution center

Russ Davis Wholesale Inc., Wadena, Minn., will open a 56,000-square-foot distribution center in La Crosse, Wis., this summer, said Jeff Nagel, eastern sales manager.

This will be the company’s fifth distribution center, with other locations in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Since the facility was not originally a food warehouse, “everything is being done to convert it to a full-service distribution center,” which includes bringing in new equipment and installing a state-of-the-art banana-ripening facility, he said.

The company, which produces 1,800 stock-keeping units, including organic items, also has a processing facility in Eagan, Minn., which produces more than 150 SKUs under the Crazy Fresh label.

G.O. Fresh boosts processing line, adds packaging equipment

Brent Beckman, son of Marylou Owen, chief operating officer and owner of G.O. Fresh Inc., Minneapolis, has returned to the company after a two-year absence.

The company also has improved its romaine processing line and added new packaging equipment that should result in safer, higher-quality product with longer shelf life for its tomatoes, watermelons and fresh-cut products.

G.O. Fresh also is looking some new equipment that will enable the company to introduce new packaging options for foodservice customers and plans to introduce some new products, including salad blends and romaine salads, Beckman said.

J&J Distributing to add greenhouse, hires quality assurance director

J&J Distributing Co., St. Paul, Minn., has hired a new quality assurance director and added some new equipment.

Teresa Olson, most recently with Faribault Foods Inc., Faribault, Minn., is the firm’s newly named quality assurance director, said Kevin Hannigan, executive vice president.

The firm also has added some equipment from Turatti, an Italian-based company, that gives J&J Distributing the capacity to process more than 100,000 pounds of product per day, he said.

The company is adding a 38,000-square-foot greenhouse at its St. Paul location and is pushing “tower gardens,” a consumer-oriented product that enables people to grow items like herbs and tomatoes on their home patios.

Wescott Agri Products offers Honeycrisps year-round

Wescott Agri Products Inc., Elgin, Minn., now has a fresh Chilean Honeycrisp apple deal, said Don Roper, vice president of sales and marketing.

With the South American program and regional and Washington state programs, the company now can offer Honeycrisps year-round, he said.

The firm also has implemented sustainability initiatives focused around “minimal environmental impact with farming, optimizing food miles and optimizing energy usage at our production plants,” Roper said.

The program is part of the company’s TruEarth agricultural protocol, part of which was developed by the IPM Institute of North America, Madison, Wis.

The company is working with growers to have orchards TruEarth certified, Roper said.

Wescott also is involved with new varietal development to improve and upgrade local apple varieties.



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