Phillips Farms sets sights on Chinese varieties

After spending a weekend in China in September, Doug Phillips, owner of Visalia, Calif.-based Phillips Farms, returned enthusiastic about the kiwifruit he’d seen.

“They’ve got some gold varieties and a new one called Golden Red, with a red heart,” said Phillips, who’s grown kiwis for 40 years in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

“There’s an older one we’ve watched for years with a red heart, but the new improved one radiates a starburst of red surrounded by gold with a whitish core,” he said.

Brix ranges up to 20, he said.

Phillips packs fruit under the M*P and Grand Slam labels.

Western Fresh Marketing hires salesman

Roedell Buchholz joined Madera, Calif.-based Western Fresh Marketing in February as a salesman, and he’s about to start his first California kiwifruit season.

He started in the produce industry 38 years ago in North Dakota as a produce stocker for his local grocery store.

He worked his way up to produce manager, then moved to a wholesale company, where he became head buyer and went on to take charge of purchasing for four divisions.

Moving to Fresno, Calif., he worked as produce procurement buyer for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., then moved to Fresno-based Gerawan Farming, where he spent seven years in sales.