Tom Karst

CENTRAL AMERICAN PRODUCE: Sabine Henry, tropical manager for Central American Produce Inc,, Pompano Beach, Fla., says mango supply from Ecuador will increase for the firm in late November. Brazil mango shipments were declining in late October, but Henry says the market shouldn’t face any shortages after Ecuador volume increases in late November.

Tom Karst

DOUBLE DIAMOND FARMS: Caitlyne Johns, sales manager for Double Diamond Farms, Kingsville, Ontario, holds individually wrapped organic bell peppers, a new offering for the company. Double Diamond also recently introduced individually shrink-wrapped and labeled baby eggplant, she says. “We decided to shrink wrap baby eggplant because we noticed, at the store level, there is a lot of shrink,” she says. Individually shrink-wrapping baby eggplant can added four to five days to the shelf life, she says.

Tom Karst

HEINZEN: Willi Ortner, sales engineer for Heinzen, Gilroy, Calif., and Valentino Quistian, product development manager, say they had great interest in a new water-jet tool that uses a robotic arm to cut broccoli florets. “We are pretty close to being deployed,” Ortner says. “We still have more development we are going to do for the vision side, to map and see the curvature of the broccoli and create the best cut path scenario based on the size and shape,” he says. The robotic arm, with sanitary gripper technology, has been in development for about four months, he says. “In the past, the water jet has been brought to the product,” Ortner says. “Now we are using a robot to be able to cut shapes that we couldn’t do before by manipulating the product at the knife and leaving the knife stationary.”

Tom Karst

FREY FARMS: Emily Brookman, saleswoman for Frey Farms, Keenes, Ill., displays a bottle of Tsamma watermelon blueberry juice blend the company introduced Oct. 20. The firm now has three SKUs of its watermelon juice: the original red, watermelon coconut and watermelon blueberry, Brookman says. She says the company got very positive feedback at Fresh Summit on the watermelon blueberry flavor.

Tom Karst

WILCOX FRESH: Derek Peterson, vice president of sales and marketing for Wilcox Fresh, shows off the company’s just introduced Easy Creations pack, featuring Idaho baby russet potatoes in a 28-ounce pack that comes in three flavors. “It is an easy stepping off point for customers to create a masterpiece at home and be a home chef,” Peterson says. The pack’s flavors include sriracha, garlic parsley parm and lime thyme, he says. Shipments of the product, which has about eight servings with an expected price point of $1.99 retail, should begin in time for the Christmas season, he says. 

Tom Karst

CRUNCH PAK: Gene Woodin, director of information systems for Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash., says the company has released a peeled version of the popular Foodles apple snack. Woodin says the change came about as a result of a sensory evaluation of apple slices by kids. A good number of kids were taking the apple slice and biting out the flesh, he says. Even before the peeled option, Woodin says Foodles have been the best selling apple snack item in the country. The company also is looking at expanding its apple ring line to included a peeled version, he says. The entire line of Crunch Pak’s products was scheduled to receive a refreshed packaging look by late October, he says.

Tom Karst

AMCO: Kurvin Soobrayen, marketing coordinator for Leamington, Ontario-based Amco Produce, displays the company’s Garden Pack, which has 16 ounces of mini cucumbers, 10 ounces of mini sweet peppers and 16 ounces of grape tomatoes. He says the pack is available with customizable stickers for retailers.

Tom Karst

WEST PAK: Tom Struif, sales and business development representative for West Pak Avocados Inc., displays a 2-pound bag of avocados in the I Love Avocados label. Struif says the 2-pound bag has proven to be very popular with recent prices of the fruit, doubling in retail sales compared with a year ago.
“The company has found huge success in the 2-pound value pack using smaller fruit,” he says. Consumers eat the smaller fruit in a single serving, often taking them for lunch, he says. The I Love Avocados brand uses the American Heart Association Heart Check food certification, Struif says.

Tom Karst

MUCCI FARMS: Emily Murracas, director of marketing for Mucci Farms, Kingsville, Ontario, and Joe Spano, vice president of sales and marketing for Mucci Farms, say the firm’s Smuccies strawberries are hitting all the right notes in the market. The firm recently celebrated the second phase of strawberry expansion, bringing a total of 24 acres under glass. More acres will be added in the future and will utilize technology that may extend the growing season to year-round, Spano says.The strawberries are offered in a 12-ounce pack and a 2-pound pack for some club stores. Mucci Farms won the Kids Choice Award of the Fresh Summit Sensory Experience Contest for its Smuccies Layered Strawberry and Mango Dip.

Tom Karst

NATUREFRESH: Kara Badder, marketing coordinator for NatureFresh Farms, Leamington, Ontario, and Peter Quiring, owner and president of NatureFresh, say the company has expanded its Tomz line of snacking tomatoes to have year-round availability. “We are able to grow our Tomz brand year-round now between our Leamington facility and our Ohio facility,” Badder says. Tomz includes red grape, orange grape, yellow grape, red cherry, cocktail and mixed snacking tomatoes.