Westside Melons business updates - The Packer

Westside Melons business updates

06/20/2014 11:15:00 AM
Tom Burfield


Legend Produce in expansion mode

Legend Produce LLC, Firebaugh, Calif., is expanding, thanks in part to its successful Origami cantaloupe variety, said owner Barry Zwillinger.

The company has expanded its staff and opened an office — Legend Produce East — in Fort Mitchell, Ky.

Kristen Miesel has been named director of food safety and will oversee field audits, Global Food Safety Initiative certification and other food safety-related functions. Craig Smith and Justin Bootz, who are new to the industry, have been hired as sales assistants.

Staffing the Kentucky office are Don Johnston, sales director; Tony Fey and Phillip Cianciolo, salesmen; Kristie Johnston, sales coordinator; Donna Groves, director of transportation; and David Ovens, director of grower relations. All were previously members of the Chiquita marketing group.


Pandol to triple Sweet Cheeks

Selma, Calif.-based Pandol Associates Marketing Inc. hopes to find a California grower for its Sweet Cheeks extra-sweet honeydews, said president Jim Pandol.

Currently, the melons are grown only in Mexico. The program kicks off in July and continues into the fall.

Sweet Cheeks melons rate a couple of degrees higher on the brix scale than typical honeydews, he said, but at the expense of some postharvest life. That’s why the melons are shipped promptly after cooling.

“We work very hard to have our sales programmed so that, as the melons are being harvested, we pretty much know where they’re going,” Pandol said.

This will be the second year for the program. Pandol said he expects to triple last year’s volume.


Sandstone focuses on Kiss melons

Sandstone Melon Co., Yuma, Ariz., is getting out of the cantaloupe business after 30 years and will focus on its specialty line of proprietary Kiss brand melons — Golden Kiss (a French Charentais melon), Honey Kiss (a Chinese melon), Sugar Kiss (a Japanese melon) and Summer Kiss (an Israeli melon) — said Milas Russell, director of marketing.

The company works directly with retailers on marketing the melons, he said, and speaks directly to consumers through social media, such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

“We also utilize Google Glass in the field to take pictures of melons while they’re harvesting,” he said.

The Kiss brand was launched in 2007, “and it’s really taking off in the last three years,” he said. The melons are available from early May until mid-November.

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