National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

5:51 a.m. Restarting work on the blog this morning after the previous version was wiped clean in a web browser malfunction. Curses…

5:52 a.m. What I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted, was that readers can access industry comments on the tomato suspension agreement by going to the website  and searching for the case number A-201-820. As the comments tell, no one is completely happy with the suspension agreement, though it appears Florida/U.S. interests are less unhappy about it than U.S. distributors.

5:54 a.m. Scanning new USDA FAS reports, you will finds nuggets of interest in a report on Canadian consumer insights and another 22-page examination of U.S. export opportunities  for organic products in Europe. In particular, note consumer insights on the rise of big box retailers in Canada and market specific estimates for organic sales potential in Europe.

5:58 a.m. Shameless plug: follow me on twitter at @tckarst.

5:58 a.m. The Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group has passed the 6,200 member mark this week. A popular discussion remains the “introduce yourself” thread. Join the new Packer social site.

6:01` a.m. Long time discussion group member Luis P. provides this link on the European fruit and vegetable support program. While the idea of a free trade agreement with Europe is embraced, there are substantial challenges to making it happen. Luis P. also passes on an interesting research abstract on country of origin labeling and its impact on U.S. and Mexican tomato growers.

6:07 a.m. A quick scan of industry headlines on the web this morning reveals a new study on the cooking style preference for kids regarding broccoli and cauliflower. Steamed and not boiled, apparently.

6:15 a.m. Check out the docket for the produce safety rule. More than 35 comments have been received so far and that number will mushroom in the weeks ahead.

Showing considerable apprehension, one small grower writes:

My wife and I run a very small farm raising salad type produce (lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes) for the farmers market and a farm to school program. We gross about $40,000 annually and get to keep about $4,000 to $5,000/year. It has been estimated that to implement your rules and regs would cost us approximately $13,000 a year. This estimation was made by a trade magazine we read called "Inside Grower", a publication by Ball Publications. With all the talk and push for "locally grown and Healthy food", by Mrs Obama, how can you justify putting us out of business? That is what $13,000 plus fines (as we know there will always be something for an inspector to find wrong) will do to us. I enjoyed the loyalty I've built up over the years but this closes that door for us.


TK: More worries ahead for the large and small grower alike for the produce safety rule..