packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

WONDERFUL: Regional saleswoman Erin Wagner (from left), southern California district sales manager Naomi Rodriguez and sales manager Ryan Birdsall talk about the revamp of Los Angeles-based The Wonderful Co.’s pistachio packaging. The products now have an image of nuts instead of a see-through panel, and the no-shells product now comes in a bright green bag. The new packaging started shipping a couple of months ago.

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

SMITTEN: Don Zornes, marketing director for apple variety Smitten, displays a bag of the proprietary fruit. Zornes says Washington should have about 250,000 cartons of Smitten this season. Organic Smitten will also be available from Washington for the first time, about 25,000-30,000 cartons. The Washington crop will begin in September. The variety is also available from New Zealand from mid-April through mid- to late July.

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

BEE SWEET: Sales representative Anders Skooglund and director of communications Monique Bienvenue at Bee Sweet Citrus show off the company’s lemons and navels. Fowler, Calif.-based Bee Sweet is nearing the end of its domestic season and ramping up for imports. “We’ll have lemons, navels and mandarins coming up pretty soon,” Bienvenue says. Bee Sweet also imports from Chile and Peru.

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

ROBINSON FRESH: Business development manager Coy Williams (left) and market specialist Dan McGrath of Robinson Fresh stand in front of a display for Misfits, the company’s program for produce with cosmetic defects. The Eden Prairie, Minn., company is looking to expand Misfits on the West Coast, starting with the Food 4 Less banner. The Misfits line includes 20 stock-keeping units, from citrus and avocados to cherries and pears. The company discussed Costa Rican pineapples, and also mangoes and limes, at the booth.

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

SUN PACIFIC: Kate Reeb, director of marketing at Sun Pacific, displays a clamshell of Mighties-brand kiwifruit. The Pasadena, Calif., company will have organic kiwifruit for the first time this year. Reeb and others at the booth also spoke with visitors about the upcoming import Cuties season and new varieties in the company’s AirChief grapes product line. Organic is a big part of the Sun Pacific grape program — about 40%. Reeb joined Sun Pacific about a month ago.
 

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

COASTLINE: Owner Tina Cox (left) and business development manager Carmen Placensia talk about Coastline Family Farm’s celery, green onions and new exclusive variety Melonade. The Salinas, Calif.-based company planned to start shipping the melon May 15.

“It’s a mix of honeydew with lemon,” Placensia says. “It’s super sweet, and it has that little lime-lemon (flavor) in it. Very refreshing.”

The season for the melon will probably go to the end of June, and the responses have been good, Cox says. The melons are packed six to a box. The size is similar to that of a personal watermelon. Placensia joined Coastline about a month ago.

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

NEWSTAR: Greg Zelei, vice president of sales and marketing for NewStar Fresh Foods, talks about green onions and green and red kale on display from the Salinas, Calif., company. The product comes from Mexicali and Baja Mexico and is available year-round. There was a bit of an issue earlier in the season with thrips, but everything is looking good now, Zelei says.

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

PACIFIC COAST PRODUCE: Salesman John Cardenas displays the sliced squash medley Santa Maria, Calif.-based Pacific Coast Produce is offering. The product comes out this year and that early reaction has been positive, Cardenas says.
“It’s a ready-to-eat, microwaveable, pre-cut, pre-washed green and yellow zucchini,” he says.

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

HIGHLINE: Sales and distribution manager Rick Watters and account manager Sabrina Pokomandy of Highline Mushrooms discuss the company’s organic medley bags. Leamington, Ontario-based Highline carries three products in the line — a pasta version, a steakhouse version and a stir-fry version. The company has moved small volumes of these items already, and the full-scale rollout is expected to come around the end of the summer. 

packer
Ashley Nickle

Staff writer Ashley Nickle collected these news items May 12 at the West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs, Calif.

TRULY GOOD: Rick Starko, grocery channel development manager at Truly Good Foods, stands next to some of the newest items from the Charlotte, N.C., company — the Southern Sweets line, which includes Praline Pecans, Praline Nut Mix and Butter Toffee Peanuts, and single-serve nut packages branded trEAT4u. The latter are designed to be a healthy snack and have a suggested retail price of 99 cents. The products have been available for about a year and have drawn a very good response, Starko says.
 

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