Ashley Nickle

EARTHFRESH: Marketing director Stephanie Cutaia and vice president of sales Derrick Rayner hold packages of organic potatoes from Burlington, Ontario-based EarthFresh Foods. They spoke with booth visitors about the light-blocking technology in the company’s bags, which were designed to prevent premature greening. The company is seeing the product gain traction as retailers notice shrink decrease, Rayner said.

“It’s a marked difference for sure, to the point where we see sales switching from a bulk product to a bagged product in some of our customers because the customers are obviously having a better experience with our product and they have confidence to buy it in an already bagged format,” Rayner said.

Ashley Nickle

FRESH FARMS: Director of sales and marketing Jerry Havel and salesman Alan Voll speak with booth visitors about organic grapes, organic squash and organic cucumbers from Mexico. Rio Rico, Ariz.-based Fresh Farms will have organic grapes April through July, organic squash and cucumbers October to June, and organic English cucumbers December to April.

Ashley Nickle

RED SUN: Senior director of sales Harold Paivarinta and sales program manager Kyle Moynahan talk with booth visitors about the expanding organic vegetable line of Kingsville, Ontario-based Red Sun Farms. Organic beefsteak tomatoes are new to the company this year, complementing mini cucumbers, cucumbers, peppers and grape tomatoes. The company also now has organic products in its new basket-look packaging.

Ashley Nickle

FRESH FARM DIRECT: Director of organic sales and marketing Lonnie Gillespie and vice president Dave Yeager show the organic “Express Bake PotatOH!” available from Monte Vista, Colo.-based Fresh Farm Direct. The company actually launched the product a couple of years ago, but the market was not quite ready, Gillespie said. With its re-release in September, however, there has been solid interest.

“There’s some real positive feedback on them,” Gillespie said. “Everyone wants organic and convenience, and that’s both.”

The potato is pre-washed and can be cooked in its wrap in a microwave in 6-7 minutes, according to its label.

Ashley Nickle

AWE SUM: Jocelyn Olson, Heather Wood, Kirk Crane, Jodi Carkner and Sara Pettit speak with booth visitors about the year-round organic kiwifruit program from Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Awe Sum Organics. The fruit comes from New Zealand and Italy. The company is also developing an organic grape program, which has limited supply currently but is projected to grow significantly in the coming years.

Ashley Nickle

BRIGHTHOUSE: Marketing coordinator Monica O’Reilly and vice president of marketing Mike Joergensen show off the newest products for the Brighthouse Organics line from San Antonio-based NatureSweet. Grape tomatoes, bell peppers and mini sweet peppers are the latest additions.

“What we’re recommending is that actually the whole lineup is merchandised in the store together, meaning at room temperature,” Joergensen said. “Some retailers do that now, but some also put cukes and peppers in refrigeration. And there’s actually kind of the latest and greatest research on the topic from (University of California, Davis) that shows, especially for cucumbers, that refrigeration is too cold, so you’ll actually shorten their life and lose flavor.”

The company also advocates for stores to have an organic section rather than co-mingling conventional and organic product. Joergensen said this separation allows consumers to find what they are looking for more easily and makes it more likely that retailers get credit with consumers for the size of their organic selection.

Ashley Nickle

GRIMMWAY: Senior vice president of sales and marketing Eric Proffitt and vice president of marketing Kellen Stailey talk with booth visitors about the rainbow carrot program from Bakersfield, Calif.-based Grimmway Farms, which markets its organic product under the Cal-Organic Farms brand. The company sells rainbow carrots in bags and bunches and, on the value-added side, offers rainbow mixes of baby carrots and shredded carrots. Red bunched carrots are new for the company. Those are grown in the desert region in California and available for 8-10 weeks.

Ashley Nickle

ECORIPE: Vice president of business development Marc Holbik and account executive Wes Wever display the new value-added coconut from Medley, Fla.-based Ecoripe Tropicals. The Genuine Coconut comes equipped with a tab like a soda can so that it can be easily opened, and its packaging also includes an expandable straw. Ecoripe receives its first shipment of the coconuts the week of Jan. 29. The product is grown in Thailand, processed in Spain, imported and then shipped out from Miami. Feedback at the show was very positive, Holbik said.

“A lot of people are excited about it,” he said.

The company was also featuring its organic limes from Colombia and was developing programs for organic French beans from Guatemala and organic baby bananas from Ecuador.

Ashley Nickle

NATURESEAL: Regional sales manager Eric Fernandes and assistant marketing manager Colleen Byrnes speak with booth visitors about shelf life-extension products from Westport, Conn.-based NatureSeal. The company has seen increasing organic business as the segment expands. NatureSeal has options for many kinds of fresh-cut produce and is working on a product for fresh-cut avocados.

 

MONTE PACKAGE: Salesmen Mark Dahn and Ryan Moscardelli show one of the bags available from Riverside, Mich.-based Monte Package Co. Grab-and-go bags have been very popular, Dahn said. The company was also displaying compostable trays, which it has offered for years but which have been gaining interest as more grower-shippers expand their organic options.