( Courtesy Access Organics Inc. )

Access working with Navajo Pride

For the third year, Access Organics Inc., Kalispell, Mont., will be sourcing product from the Navajo Pride Organic program starting around Aug. 19, said Access Organics president Bonnie Poux.

The main focus this year will be red mini seedless watermelons and full-size seedless watermelons followed by butternut squash in mid-September and russet potatoes mid-October.

New Mexico green chilies also will be part of the program on a trial basis, she said.

All of the products are grown by the Navajo nation.

Navajo Pride Organic is an offshoot of Farmington, N.M.-based NAPI — Navajo Agricultural Products Industry.

“They are really working on the importance of health and diet,” Poux said.

Awe Sum set for Peruvian grapes

The biggest growth this year at Awe Sum Organics, Santa Cruz, Calif., will be its organic Peruvian grape program, which will start in December and finish around March, said Heather Wood, marketing manager.

“We’re looking forward to continued growth in volumes and better quality this year, ready to hit the market at a time organic grapes are scarce,” she said.

The company’s new website — awesumorganics.com — launched earlier this year, and with its recent brand refresh, Awe Sum Organics has redesigned its packaging and will be phasing out old packaging, she said.

Boskovich Farms plans new items

A rather laid-back summer at Oxnard, Calif.-based Boskovich Farms Inc. is about to come to an end as the company gets ready to gear up for a busy production season that starts in late October and continues into June, said Darrell Beyer, director of organic sales.

“We’re hoping for an excellent season and looking forward to great production out of the USA and Mexico,” he said.

Boskovich Farms will have several new items this season, he said, including red leaf, green leaf, romaine, romaine hearts, napa cabbage, cauliflower, barbecue onions, shredded kales for foodservice and packaged collards for foodservice.

More SugarBees for Chelan Fresh

Chelan Fresh Marketing, Chelan, Wash., is increasing its organic SugarBee apple volume as more blocks get certified this season, said Kevin Stennes, organic sales manager.

The company also introduced new organic cherry packaging during the summer and plans to add a third organic packer this season using existing equipment.  

Organic products available from Chelan Fresh during late summer and early fall include Santa Rosa plums, pluots, gala apples and starkrimson and bartlett pears.

New package from Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye Produce, Idaho Falls, Idaho, has revamped the packaging and labels on its Eagle Eye organic Tiny Taters, said Coleman Oswald, director of sales.
Tiny Taters are trays of small, round potatoes available in red, yellow or russets and a medley pack of red and yellow potatoes.

They come with olive oil and seasoning and are microwave ready.

Eagle Eye also has added 3-pound packs of small round potatoes in red, yellow and russets and a red and yellow medley pack.    

“In the past, we focused on 5-pound bags, but we are working to keep up with consumer demands and trends, which are moving to smaller pack sizes,” he said.

Earthbound Farm now 35 years old

San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based Earthbound Farm is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, and the company has released a number of new products, said Jessica Harris, senior marketing and innovation manager.

Earthbound Farm is getting “fantastic consumer response” to its Mighty Spinach (spinach, bok choy, pak choi, tat soi); Rosé Blend (lolla rossa, red oak, red tango, red baby butter, radicchio); and Baby Red Butter, she said.

“New for us is our mixed leaf lettuce program, which we trialed down in the desert and are into full production back here in the Northern California growing region,” Harris said.

Homegrown adds specialty citrus

Homegrown Organic Farms, Porterville, Calif., is ramping up an organic specialty program this season that it toyed with last year, said Scott Mabs, chief executive officer.

The company is working with a ranch that grows more than 50 varieties of citrus.

Lemonade lemons, several kinds of blood oranges, Buddha hand, finger limes and “pretty much any citrus specialty item is part of the program,” Mabs said. 

Meanwhile, Homegrown Organic Farms launched its Asian pear program Aug. 12, and Mabs said pomegranates and persimmons, both new items for fall, would not be far behind.

Ocean Mist adds Brussels sprouts

With the recent introduction of 1-pound Brussels sprouts in a net bag, Castroville, Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms now offers more than 15 organic fresh produce items certified by California Certified Organic Farmers, said Joseph Angelo, sales manager.

Lakeside to start Brussels sprouts

Lakeside Organic Gardens, Watsonville, Calif., plans to harvest Red Bull variety purple Brussels sprouts soon, said Marliese McWherter, creative marketing manager.

“They have a sweet, nutty flavor and stay red when cooked,” she said.

In early August, the company wrapped up three days of filming for its new company video, which will be launched on Lakesideorganic.com and at Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in October.

Onions 52 starts Washington deal

The Washington onion season kicked off in early August for West Syracuse, Utah-based Onions 52, said Falon Brawley, director of marketing.
The company offers premium organic red, yellow, white and tearless Sunions.

“We are one of two growers in the U.S. with the rights to grow tearless and sweet organic Sunions,” she said.

Pro Organics now using Vocollect

Burnaby, British Columbia-based Pro Organics has completed a pilot program and now is using Vocollect voice technology to fill orders in its warehouse.

“The idea behind it is to make order filling really, really efficient,” said Erik Ezekiel Sturgeon, supplier relationship manager.

Vocollect communicates with order pickers via headsets and “designs a pick path for them that is super-efficient,” he said.

Putting orders together usually is a challenge for the produce industry because the stock-keeping units change so often, Sturgeon said.

Vocollect speeds up the picking process, reduces labor requirements and makes the process easier, he said.

Pure Flavor adds tomatoes, cukes

Pure Hothouse Foods Inc., Leamington, Ontario, added U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified, Canadian-grown organic tomatoes-on-the vine and long English cucumbers to its product offering this spring, said Chris Veillon, chief marketing officer.    

For fall, Pure Flavor will add USDA-certified organic Sangria Medley Tomatoes to its organic product line, he said.

Pure Flavor also is slated to open its new southeastern distribution center in Georgia in late summer.  

The 60,000-square-foot facility will serve as a consolidation point for the company to provide fresh, greenhouse grown vegetables throughout the entire Southeast, he said.

South Mill Champs adds baby bellas

Kennett Square, Pa.-based South Mill Champs is increasing production of its organic baby bella mushrooms as a result of growing demand, said Vince Versagli, director of sales.

“We’re looking forward to a good fourth quarter with those items,” he said.

Baby bellas have been the “growth item” for the company since the firm ramped up its organic production about three years ago.