C.H. Robinson repeats Pink Ribbon program

Eden Prairie, Minn.-based C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., will continue its Pink Ribbon program, which has allowed the company to donate $680,000 since 2008 to breast cancer research organizations, according to Josh Knox, strategic category manager for the C.H. Robinson melon office.

“We try to keep the donation local and send $2 per bin to the retailer’s choice of organization in that area,” Knox said.

The company hopes to reach their goal of $1 million in donations before the end of 2013, after which they will continue the program.

“We know how many people breast cancer affects, and we want to help support the search for a cure,” Knox said.

The company’s new mobile app, Watermelons that Wow, will help fund these research efforts as well, with all proceeds going to charity.

Dixondale celebrates a century in business

Dixondale Farms, Carrizo Springs, Texas, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The company markets cantaloupes under the Carrizo Cantaloupes label.

To go along with this milestone, the company plans to roll out a new box design and provide a point-of-sale placard that includes a quick-response code to direct consumers to the website for more information on the family farm, and a link to the company’s Facebook page and other information, according to president Bruce Frasier.

The company also just added a 5,000-square-foot facility to isolate the cantaloupe portion of its business and is increasing their cantaloupe acreage in an attempt to lengthen the growing season for their product.

“Now we’re the only Texas shipper of cantaloupes, so there’s no deterrent to have them earlier,” Frasier said.

“We’re trying to increase acreage, not necessarily to increase our volume during the entire time, but to try to extend it out.”

Dulcinea Farms boosts its variety lineup

Monique McLaws, marketing and new products director for Dulcinea Farms LLC, Ladera Ranch, Calif., reports the company is expanding its seasonal melon offerings this summer.

Last year, the company introduced yellow miniature watermelons called SunnyGold Minis.

“We are expanding this program from July through August to provide retailers with a broader range of varieties to promote during the summer,” McLaws said.

Dulcinea also is test-marketing an orange-flesh honeydew this summer called Orange Bliss.

“This new honeydew has a really great product profile: taste, texture and sweetness. It will be a small trial program but we are excited to add this to our product lineup,” McLaws said.

“Our strategy is to offer several specialty items during the peak of melon season to create excitement and offer consumers lots of great-tasting choices,” she said.

Nunhems takes over Abbott & Cobb melons

Monheim, Germany-based Bayer CropScience purchased the watermelon and melon seed portion of Feasterville, Pa.-based Abbott & Cobb Inc.’s business in July of last year.

The acquisition will broaden Bayer CropScience’s existing seed portfolio and will provide potential for new hybrids in the future, according to a company statement.

In addition, Rafa Mora, has moved from Europe to Florida as crop sales manager. Mora has 25 years of experience with Nunhems in the seed business.

“I’m always focused on creating value and satisfaction for customers,” Mora said.

With the transition came the addition of staff for Nunhems.

“With the integration of both teams, we have hired 23 new colleagues from Abbott & Cobb. This brings us tremendous expertise that fits perfectly with the Nunhems philosophy of crop specialization and customer orientation,” Mora said.

The staff positions also shifted a bit, according to Travis Estvold, marketing and communication specialist.

“The team has been structured with added responsibilities for melon or watermelon and every customer has been allocated to one single account manager that will take care of the needs of each customer,” he said.

Pandol adds to Sweet Babies honeydews

Pandol Associates Marketing, Delano, Calif., plans to expand the honeydew portion of its Sweet Babies program.

The company did a small test last year with honeydews developed to maturity and flavor. After their success last year, the company is increasing the volume this year.

“Outside of having more volume in the program, we will do special labeling and stickering on the melons to identify to the consumer retail that the melons are especially good eating,” president Jim Pandol said.

The program will focus on providing great flavor to consumers.

“We’re looking at ways to get beyond selling ‘food’ and create an area where we’re giving them an ‘experience,’” Pandol said.

The honeydews will be coming out of Sonora, Mexico, and Pandol said he expects the deal to run from
June through August this year and is estimating 30,000 to 50,000 cartons.

Progreso Produce adds second sorter

Boerne, Texas-based Progreso Produce added a computer sorter, according to Curtis DeBerry, chief executive officer.

“The new sorter helps identify sugar to have better flavor,” DeBerry said.

It also sorts melons by size and interior quality.

This is the second sorter Progreso has added, the first in January, and DeBerry said the company can now run two sorter lines.

Pura Vida Farms adds melon acreage

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Pura Vida Farms has expanded its melon production.

The company’s spring western melon program has increased to 700 total acres of watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and variety melons in Yuma, Ariz. The product ships from mid-May through June, vice president of East Coast sales Mike Martori said.

The company also increased its eastern watermelon program to 1,200 acres of seedless and seeded watermelon grown in seven states from April through September.

In addition, three new employees joined the company to support this growth, according to Martori.

Shawn Avera started in August as director of eastern watermelon growing. Avera is based in the Moultrie, Ga., office.

Jake Erickson started April 1 as watermelon supply chain coordinator.

Martori joined the company in December. Martori, former sales manager for Scottsdale-based melon grower-shipper Martori Farms, oversees Pura Vida’s expanding eastern watermelon program and its Costa Rican pineapple program.