12-To-Jo-samanthaSnyder
Amy Sowder

TAMPA, Fla. — Northeast editor Amy Sowder collected these news items Feb. 29 on the show floor at Southeast Produce Council's Southern Exposure.

TO-JO MUSHROOMS: Avondale, Pa.-based To-Jo Mushrooms has changed its Chef’s Blend mushroom tray pack, says Samantha Snyder, account executive. The pack used to have yellow oyster mushrooms, but to extend shelf life to 14 days, that variety was swapped for shiitake mushrooms.

1-ArkFoods-NoahRobbins
Amy Sowder

ARK FOODS: Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Ark Foods CEO Noah Robbins offers samples of his vegetable bowl line, of which there are several new varieties: Buffalo Cauli Mac, Veggie Spaghetti, General Tso’s Cauli and Sesame Veg Noodles. The company popularized the shishito pepper in the U.S. “We view vegetables as our North Star. Our bowls answer the question, ‘How do you make vegetables indulgent?’”

2-Bright Farms-AbbyPrior
Amy Sowder

BRIGHT FARMS: Irvington, N.Y.-based Bright Farms plans to expand to North Carolina, adding to its farm locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Virginia, says Abby Prior, senior vice president of sales and marketing. The hydroponic grower of lettuces, including its most popular baby lettuces, is also doing well with Sunny Crunch, it’s second-best seller. “It’s a beautiful replacement for romaine,” Prior said.

3-Riveridge
Amy Sowder

RIVERIDGE PRODUCE MARKETING: Tom Curtis (from left), Mitch Brinks, RJ Simons, all account managers at Sparta, Mich.-based Riveridge Produce Marketing, give samples of their company’s apple ciders. The pint size offering launched in October. The grower of apples, cherries and asparagus has eight blends of cider, offered with or without preservatives, including pumpkin spice and salted caramel. “It’s like drinking fall,” Simons said.

4-HessBros-ChrisandMattie
Amy Sowder

HESS BROTHERS FRUIT CO.: Chris Sandwick, marketing director, and Mattie Leid, senior sales representative of Lancaster, Pa.-based Hess Bros. Fruit Co., share about a partnership with Selah, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit Co. to expand its Wild Twist program, an apple that blends cripps pink and HoneyCrisp varieties. Shipping began in early February from eastern U.S. farms. “When Rainier’s crop starts next year, we’ll have it bicoastal,” Sandwick said. The apple should be available through June.

5-MontereyMushrooms-MikeStephan
Amy Sowder

MONTEREY MUSHROOMS: Mike Stephan, Watsonville, Calif.-based Monterey Mushrooms director of sales in the central and eastern regions, writes “prescriptions” for more vitamin D from mushrooms to attendees who stop by his booth. “We’re promoting the fact that mushrooms are the only produce item that has vitamin D. The USDA just upped the daily requirement,” Stephan said.

6-Vega-EduardoBautista
Amy Sowder

VEGA PRODUCE: Medley, Fla.-based Vega Produce is selling a lot of Cape gooseberries from Colombia, as well as the yellow and pink dragon fruit, to retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Fresh Market, says Eduardo Bautista, business development. The company’s FruPacks of pureed fruit are doing well. “We’re bringing in one to two containers a week from Ecuador,” Bautista said about the dragon fruit.

7-RiceFruitCo-BrendaBriggsMaggieTravis
Amy Sowder

RICE FRUIT CO.: For the first time, Gardners, Pa.-based Rice Fruit Co. is rolling out the EverCrisp apple, “for spring, like right now,” says Maggie Travis of the sales and marketing team. Brenda Briggs, vice president of sales and marketing, and Travis also shared about the company’s four-count recyclable box. The domestic Honeycrisp program starts August 10, and then the Novia Scotian Honeycrisp takes Rice from December through April. “That allows for an East Coast program August through April, which is really good,” Travis said.

  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail