Duda installs solar at celery facility
In May 2011, Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., Wellington, Fla., installed 2,100 square feet of solar panels at its fresh-cut celery facility in Oxnard, Calif., said Nichole Towell, marketing development manager.
The panels produce 24,000 kilowatt-hours monthly. Towell said the energy is used to run the plant and Dandy Cooling Co. LLC’s coolers.
Duda recycles water used to clean produce in its Oxnard facility by using it for landscape irrigation and refrigeration at Dandy Cooling, Towell said.
Duda’s goal in 2011 was to reduce water usage by 66%, or 40,000 gallons per day. Because the plant operates an average of 281 days a year, Duda expects to save more than 11 million gallons annually, she said.
Gills Onions farm hires sustainability manager
In August, Oxnard, Calif.-based Gills Onions LLC’s growing entity, Rio Farms, Oxnard, hired Jocelyn Gretz as a sustainable agriculture program manager, said Nikki Rodoni, Gills director of sustainability.
Gretz is responsible for analyzing and collecting sustainability data.
Before joining Rio Farms, Gretz earned a master’s degree in environmental sciences and management from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Rodoni said.
Oppenheimer markets Fair Trade bell peppers
Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group is marketing larger volumes of grapes from Rainforest Alliance-certified growers in Chile and of Fair Trade certified sweet bell peppers from grower Divemex, Culiacan, Mexico, said Karin Gardner, marketing communications manager.
This is Oppenheimer’s second season to market Divemex’s Fair Trade peppers. Conventional and organic red, yellow and orange peppers are available through May, Gardner said.
Due to strong demand for Fair Trade peppers, Divemex plans to seek certification for an additional portion of its greenhouse operations, Gardner said.
Testa Produce ponders alternative vehicles
The next project for Chicago-based Testa Produce, after the opening of its LEED-certified distribution facility in 2011, could be switching to electric or compressed-natural-gas vehicles.
Peter Testa, president, said the company is researching alternatives to biodiesel trucks.
The company is recycling more materials now than it has in the past, Testa said.
For several years, Testa Produce has used Pallet Wrapz reusable heavy-duty vinyl wraps with Velcro as a replacement for plastic wrapping on pallets. Every pallet is unwrapped upon delivery and the wraps are returned to Testa Produce for reuse.