Organic Produce business update briefs

04/26/2012 01:42:00 PM
Jim Offner

“We continue to enjoy success with the category,” he said.

Driving the growth is the company’s ability to source organic products for chains that are looking to build the category, Karkoski said.

“That has become a niche, as has working with independents and health food stores and organic buying co-ops,” he said.

The company has added some new items in the past year, which has brought its organic product roster to about 350 stock-keeping units, Karkoski said.

Harvest Sensations expands kale products

Los Angeles-based Harvest Sensations reported sales growth in its organic kale salad and also has introduced a grab-and-go organic kale salad selection in four flavors, said Gwen Kavavli Gulliksen, sales and marketing director.

The original organic kale salad also now is offered with an organic sesame vinaigrette in one bag, Gulliksen said said.

Harvest Sensations also launched a 1-pound Organic Diced Veggie Blend, with sweet potato, butternut squash and red beets “that is taking off,” Gulliksen said.

Organic trade group sponsors events

The Brattleboro, Vt.-based Organic Trade Association plans to host its annual All Things Organic and OTA Member Days as part of Natural Products Expo East Sept. 19-22 in Baltimore.

The program includes a “comprehensive organic conference track,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s executive director and chief executive officer.

The OTA also is providing input for the 2012 farm bill, and, in April, hosted its annual Policy Conference & Hill Visit Days in Washington, D.C., Bushway said.

The Washington conference was designed to “address the most pressing issues of the day and to visit congressional offices to share messages that are vital to the organic sector,” Bushway said.

“This proved to be OTA’s largest ever policy conference, and, as a result, OTA held the conference portion in a larger venue, the popular Newseum, to accommodate participants.”

Stemilt Growers Inc. strengthens stone fruit

Wenatchee, Wash.-based fruit grower-shipper Stemilt Growers Inc. is focusing on its organic peach and nectarine program this year, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director.

“What I like is they have some scale to them. It’s definitely volume — not a specialty — around 1 million cartons,” Pepperl said.

Last year, Stemilt saw decreases in volumes in both crops, Pepperl said.

“We had a bit of a crop failure last year and lost a lot of apricots and had diminished crops of peaches and nectarines,” he said.


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