DiMare cuts labor with software system

The DiMare Co., Homestead, Fla., installed an upgraded software system into its packinghouse operations.

The system ties into the same platform DiMare uses in its Arlington, Texas-based DiMare Fresh national repacking operations, said Tony DiMare, the DiMare Co."s vice president.

Declining to state the name of the system, DiMare, said it was one of the leading produce industry software programs.

"Hopefully, this will eliminate a lot of the paperwork and some of the manual procedures we"ve had in place and enhance our Produce Traceability Initiative abilities in the packinghouse operation," he said.

In early November, DiMare was incorporating the system into its Ruskin, Fla., and Homestead tomato packing operations.


Hearne Produce adds Tasti-Lee tomatoes

Wm. P. Hearne Produce Co. LLC is now growing the Tasti-Lee proprietary cultivar of round tomatoes.

The Tasti-Lee is a vine-ripe tomato with a home-grown taste, deep red color and high lycopene levels.

The Wimauma, Fla.-based grower-shipper began production this fall at its Cecil, Ga., packing operation and planned winter production to begin in mid-November in Parrish, Fla., in central Florida northeast of Palmetto, Fla.

"Tasti-Lee is a new item that"s in a limited number of hands as far as distribution goes," said Jeff Williams, president. "Once the consumer gets the taste of it and enjoys the flavor, there"s no comparison to anything else that"s raised as far as flavor," he said. "It"s something we are getting out and pushing."

A major cabbage grower-shipper, Hearne also grows grape and cherry tomatoes.


Santa Sweets bumps up organic acreage

Santa Sweets Inc., Plant City, Fla., has increased its South Florida organic tomato acreage.

Rick Feighery, vice president of sales for Philadelphia-based Procacci Bros. Sales Corp. and Santa Sweets, declined to state acreage but said the grower-shipper has been continuously adding organic acreage as Santa Sweets wants to supply customers requesting organic product.

Traditionally, Procacci has focused its organic tomato production January through June in Mexico.

After last year"s killer Mexican freeze, however, the grower-shipper doesn"t want to be overly exposed to weather changes by growing most of its organic in one region, Feighery said.

Procacci"s overall Florida tomato acreage remains unchanged, he said.


Tomato Thyme upgrades packing line

To ensure safer handling of its tomatoes, Tomato Thyme Corp., Wimauma, has completely enclosed its packing operations.

The climate-controlled building keeps product under refrigeration from arrival, during precooling, cleaning, handling and packaging until loading in the truck, said Michael Lacey, director of sales and marketing.

In other news, to help extend the sales of the Tasti-Lee tomatoes it sells Tomato Thyme created Tasti-Lee salsa.

Distributed by its White Diamond Farms processing division, Lacey said it makes sense to offer another Tasti-Lee-branded product that shoppers enjoy.