National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

The fabric that makes up America was ripped again yesterday with the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon. The attack on the running community – among the most charitable and optimistic folks you will find – is truly disheartening.

 It appears that the text of the immigration reform bill will be released today, but the tragic terror at the Boston Marathon will postpone any media event associated with the unveiling, according to a report from The Hill.

 The Gang of Eight senators briefed colleagues about the bill yesterday, and one Fox News report about details emerging about the legislation can be found here.

 The story notes that certain farm workers will be able to get a “fast track” for green cards. It remains to be seen if that incentive will have a major pull for current undocumented workers to stay in agriculture.


Up in Washington State this week, I’m getting the latest updates on the upcoming Washington cherry crop. After a 23-million carton crop last year, the 2013 edition figures to be 18 to 20 million 20-pound equivalent cartons this year. An earlier expected start to harvest this year will give retailers a full crop for the July 4th promotional push for the first time since 2007.

 And throughout July, of course, where cherries are the number one dollars-per-square foot promotional food item in supermarket. And the cherry season, as short as it is, is finding strong run in August with later varieties grown at higher elevations.

 With the packaging evolution toward standup gusseted bags, Northwest shippers are looking for great retail and consumer reception for this year’s sweet cherry crop. Look for an increasing focus on some of the health benefits of cherries as well, industry leaders say.

 Look forward to more interviews and insights the balance of this week.


We’re still waiting on what the government of Canada has planned for financial protections for the fresh produce sector. Here is a refresher on what has been promised and is now overdue.


Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service have completed the information gathering phase of a process to develop Canadian industry tools supported by regulation for sellers of fresh produce that are comparable to those available in the United States. Fresh produce industry stakeholders in both countries have been engaged in the identification of options to secure more effective contract management and licensing of fresh produce buyers, as well as regulatory measures that could be adopted to better ensure industry payment to fresh produce sellers in cases of buyer bankruptcy and insolvency. AAFC, in consultation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Industry Canada, will next undertake an analysis of the feasibility of those options including the necessary measures that would be required to implement them. The Government of Canada will continue to engage stakeholders and will announce its decision by March 2013.