Organic Produce: Business updates - The Packer

Organic Produce: Business updates

01/06/2012 10:29:00 AM
Jim Offner


Dave’s Specialty starts new labeling program
A new labeling program has begun at Coral Springs, Fla.-based Dave’s Specialty Imports Inc., said Mike Bowe, Cincinnati-based vice president of the distributor.
“We’ve freshened up the label,” he said. “We never had our own label, per se. We used various labels. This year was a transitional time to start marketing our company as our company.”
All of the company’s items will bear the Dave’s label, Bowe said.
“PMA (Fresh Summit) is when we released it, and we’re in transition at this point,” Bowe said.
Deardorff Family Farms to relocate operations
Oxnard, Calif.-based organic grower-shipper Deardorff Family Farms will move soon, said Tom Deardorff, president.
The company plans to relocate about a mile from its current facility to a 115,000-square-foot office, warehouse and cold-storage plant at 400 Lombard St. in Oxnard, Deardorff said.
“We’ll be in there by the end of the first quarter,” he said.
“(We’ll) get the products out more efficiently and with better quality than we have in the past,” Deardorff said.
The new building is about twice the size of Deardorff’s current facility, he added.
“Our supply side increased considerably in 2010,” he said. “We’re continuing to increase our acres and convert ground and get more outside growers who are supplying us with product.”
Harvest Sensations tests retail waters
Los Angeles-based Harvest Sensations, which is affiliated with foodservice distributor Pro*Act, has entered the retail business, said Gwen Gulliksen, sales and marketing director.
It was time to expand the company’s business horizons, Gulliksen said.
“I’m a 25-year veteran chef, and for me, it’s fun to develop products for retail,” she said. “It flies off the shelf.”
The company is building its retail side slowly, she said.
“The sales percentage in retail is still relatively small. We’re just making that first splash,” she said. “We made a big splash with organic kale salad this year. Two months ago, we introduced an organic veggie blend, which is very popular.”
Homegrown Organics expands mandarins
Porterville, Calif.-based Homegrown Organics Farms is expanding its mandarin program, said Scott Mabs, sales and marketing director.
“We’ve been doing them for the last several years, but we have significant growth taking place,” he said. “Last year, it was in its first year of production. It wasn’t a massive influx of fruit because they’re young trees just coming into production.”
The company also has a new blueberry ranch in Oregon that will come into production for the first time in 2012, Mabs said.
Maurice A. Auerbach moves to new facility
Maurice A. Auerbach Inc. is operating in a new facility.
The organic garlic specialist, long based in South Hackensack, N.J., opened a new 60,000- square-foot distribution center in Secaucus, N.J., on Dec. 19.
Bruce Klein, marketing director with Auerbach, declined to disclose cost figures.
It’s an investment in the company’s future and its commitment to food safety, he said.
It’s double the size of the old facility, Klein said, adding that the new building likely can handle triple the company’s current volume.
“We have special refrigeration units that are electronically monitored,” he said. “We have a sustainability project with all the byproducts going to a sustainability area and it all gets picked up and is used for feed.”
Auerbach likely will hire additional employees in 2012, Klein said.
Naturipe Farms grows organic berry acreage
Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC increased its berry acreage in 2011, said Jim Roberts, Boston-based vice president of sales.
“We’re talking about 50% more organic blueberries, blackberries and raspberries and strawberries than we did the year prior, and we’re looking for a similar increase for 2012,” he said. 
“We’re seeing a huge increase this winter from Chile on organic blueberries. We’ll see a pretty significant increase in organic strawberries as we hit the spring, summer and fall from California — the same with organic blackberries and raspberries.

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