( Giumarra Vineyards logo )

Sales desk changes at Bari Produce

Gayle Smirnov, a saleswoman for Bari Produce LLC, Madera, Calif., since 2010, has retired, said president Justin Bedwell. Sal Pacheco, most recently with Devine Organics, Fresno, Calif., has joined the company as a salesman.


Andrews markets own watermelons

Dan Andrews Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., now is marketing its own watermelons rather than having customers go through a third party, said owner Dan Andrews. The company already marketed its own honeydew melons, but some buyers wanted both.

“It’s inconvenient for them to call two salesmen,” Andrew said. The new process also gives the company “more control over the entire operation.”

George Perry & Sons Inc., Manteca, Calif., and Hemet-based Eagle Eye Produce California Inc. will continue to offer melons that they now will buy through Don Andrews Farms.


Columbine adds Krissy variety

Columbine Vineyards, Delano, Calif., has added the Krissy table grape variety to its lineup this year, said Keith Andrew, sales manager.

The Krissy is similar to the flame seedless variety with good size and nice taste, he said. It should be available starting in late July or early August.


Five Crowns adds Origami acreage

Five Crowns Marketing, Brawley, Calif., has increased volume of its Origami cantaloupe variety, which it shares with Legend Produce LLC, Dos Palos, Calif, said Daren Van Dyke, director of sales and marketing at Five Crowns.

Because of the success of the variety and the demand it has created, the company has expanded its acreage in the early time slot in May in the desert and also has increased production in Firebaugh, Calif., which comes on in early July, he said.

“The Origami has the characteristics of a long-shelf-life melon, but it is truly unique in its flavor profile,” he said.

It’s available from May through July, with the exception of about 10 days at the end of June.


Flavor Tree expands cherry volume

Flavor Tree Fruit Co., Hanford, Calif., will increase its volume of new cherry varieties from Modesto, Calif.-based Zaiger Genetics in April and May, said Maurice Cameron, sales manager.

Expect to see more Royal Hazel, Royal Tioga and Royal Lynn cherries from Flavor Tree as the company boosts its presence in the early deal.

Flavor Tree also will offer the Arvin Glen, a dark sweet cherry from BQ Genetics, Le Grand, Calif.

Also new this year will the Black Pearl variety developed by Cornell University. It should be available from early- to mid-May.

Flavor Tree also is the exclusive California handler of the Sequoia variety, which accounts for up to half of the company’s cherry program, Cameron said.

The company, which also has an organic cherry program, should have cherries until about June 10.


Giumarra revamping vineyard operation

Bakersfield, Calif.-based Giumarra Vineyards is undergoing a three-year vineyard revitalization effort to modernize infrastructure and improve operational efficiencies, said Mimi Corsaro-Dorsey, vice president of marketing and director of export sales.

The process includes:

  • removal of about 2,000 acres of older varieties;
  • planting ARRA proprietary varieties from Giumarra’s ARD LLC subsidiary, which include Passion Fire, Passion Punch, Mystic Dream and Sweeties as well as additional Sweet Scarlet grapes;
  • modernizing its well and water systems; and
  • retrofitting vineyards to full arbor trellis to provide a better growing system while providing more shade for employees.

The company also will introduce branded bags for the Early Sweet variety this season from California and Mexico, as well as branded bags for several of the ARRA proprietary varieties.


Grape Commission plans promotions

The Fresno-based California Table Grape Commission has planned a number of promotion opportunities for retailers during the early part of the season, said Cindy Plummer, vice president of domestic marketing.

Traffic radio tags are available where retailers can tag their store name onto traffic radio ads for California grapes. Tagging opportunities in Food Network magazine ads and in online pre-roll video spots for California grapes will be available starting in June, she said.

The commission will be working with retail chains throughout the U.S. to offer retail display contests for California grapes in June, and with retailers in May and June to encourage California grape sampling in major markets in California, Florida, New York and Texas, Plummer said.

 Point-of-purchase materials for California grapes also will be available to retailers throughout the season, including danglers, price cards and variety charts/training and merchandising guides.


Kirschenman adds organic products

Kirschenman Enterprises Inc., Arvin, Calif., will offer organic table grapes for the first time this season, said Wayde Kirschenman, owner and president.

The company will have a total of 60 acres of organic flame seedless, Ivory and Great Green grapes.

The firm also has added full-size organic seedless watermelons to its product line that already included organic mini watermelons.

The items were added in response to retailer requests, Kirschenman said.


Limoneira packing for outside firms

Santa Paula, Calif.-based Limoneira Co. now is packing for outside growers in its new, high-tech packinghouse, said John Chamberlain, director of marketing.

Limoneira can develop customized profitability studies for those growers and provide them with Global GAP food safety consulting, he said.

And continued investments are taking place in the company’s One World of Citrus model to supply global customers year-round with a wide assortment of citrus, Chamberlain said.

In mid-April, Limoneira was finishing its California navels and Star Ruby grapefruit and planned to begin exporting navels, cara caras, valencias, easy-peelers and Star Ruby grapefruit from South Africa and Persian limes from Mexico to customers in Canada and Asia.


Simonian brings in new varieties 

Simonian Fruit Co., Fowler, Calif., has been redeveloping many of its stone fruit orchards over the past couple of years, said Jeff Simonian, sales manager.

“We’ve been taking out a lot of older varieties and planting new ones,” he said. “We expect to see some of the new varieties hitting within the next two or three years.”

The new plum, peach and nectarine varieties should result in better production, better taste and be easier to grow, he said.


Sun World enhances brand

Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif., has initiated a new “brand promise,” launched a newly branded website and unveiled some new packaging that it will support with point-of-sale materials and social media messaging.

CEO Merrill Dibble said the company’s new brand promise -- “Better farms. Better flavor.” -- gets to the heart of what consumers care about, which is “great-quality, great-tasting grapes and that it’s grown in a sustainable way.”

The website will contain information on sustainable practices, such as water reclamation, use of solar power and worker safety and worker rights, said Natalie Erlendson, marketing manager.

The new branding efforts were timed to roll out around Earth Day, April 22.


Valhalla offers apricot clamshells

Valhalla Sales & Marketing Co., Kingsburg, Calif., has added 1- and 2-pound clamshell containers for apricots, said owner David Stone.

The company previously sold apricots only in pouch bags.

Stone said he is seeing more and more clamshells in supermarkets.

“We’re getting feedback from the retail side about things they’re getting requests for,” he said. “We’ll take a look at anything that helps move our product through the channels.”

The company also offers nectarines, peaches and other items.


Verry Cherry plums now have website

Verry Cherry plums, a unique plum hybrid from The Flavor Tree Fruit Co. LLC, Hanford, Calif., have been around for about three years and have become so popular that they now have their own website – verrycherryplum.com – said Maurice Cameron, president.

The site includes frequently asked questions, links to newspaper articles about the fruit and nutritional information.

Verry Chery plums are available from about June 20 through August.


V.H. Azhderian quits melon deal

For the first time in more than 100 years, cantaloupe and mixed melon grower-shipper V.H. Azhderian & Co. Inc. of Los Banos, Calif., will not offer melons, said Berj Moosekian, general manager and grandson of founder Vahan Azhderian.

The company will continue to grow almonds and may offer organic cantaloupes next year, he said. However, that decision has not been finalized.