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Figs are elixir for Western Fresh’s Kragie
It might be a bit of an exaggeration, but figs are the reason George Kragie is still in the produce industry today and not contemplating retirement. “I’m 71 years old and still love managing the fig deal,” said Kragie, president of Western Fresh Marketing, based in Madera, CA. “They are the reasons I continue to work at the same pace.” Fresh whole and cut Calimyrna and Mission figs from Western Fresh.Of course he also mentioned that he just finished planting four... Read more
California Giant Berry Farms ready for a prosperous spring
For 48 years, California Giant Berry Farms has been passionate about the berry business and over that time, the company has grown to become a leader in the industry. Currently, strawberries comprise about 80 percent of the Watsonville, CA-based company’s business, with blueberries coming in at 10 percent and blackberries and raspberries combining for the remaining 10 percent. While this has been consistent over the years, the company is starting to see blueberries... Read more
Consumers to begin seeing outstanding  crop of New Zealand KORU apples
This marks the sixth year New Zealand’s KORU apples have been marketed in the United States, with popularity continuing to grow. Jim Allen, vice president of marketing for New York Apple Sales in Glenmont, NY, said the first New Zealand KORUs of the season started arriving on both east and west coasts in late April. “We are thrilled at the quality of this season’s crop,” said Allen. “The KORUs are exceptional and living up to initial reports from New Zealand on... Read more
WP Rawl remains a  pillar of the community
Ashley Rawl, vice president of sales, marketing and product development for the family-run Walter P Rawl & Sons Inc., based in Pelion, SC, said agriculture has long been one of South Carolina’s biggest prides and the Rawl family has been farming the land since 1925, doing so while being sustainable and giving back to its local and global communities. The company supports and works with many organizations in the state, such as Katie’s Krops, Harvest Hope, LICS,... Read more
M. Levin & Co. welcomes fifth generation family member to its team
Multi-generational family owned and operated, M. Levin & Co. was one of the initial companies to move into the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market when it opened in 2011. Company president, Mark Levin, said that in May the company’s long-time tropicals buyer and salesman, Bill DeFelice, would retire.  “Bill has spent the past 54 years in the produce industry,” said Levin. “We are sad to see him go but wish him the best in his retirement.” Brian Kriebel... Read more
After 70 years, Procacci Brothers is still innovating
Celebrating its 70th year in business, Procacci Brothers Sales Corp. always has something new in the pipeline. In addition to its headquarters facility, the Philadelphia-based company has a major presence at the nearby Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. In mid-April, Rick Feighery, vice president of sales told The Produce News that the company was moving forward following the death of Joseph G. Procacci, chief executive officer and chairman, last November. “His... Read more
Titan Farms focuses on four pillars
South Carolina is home to a booming produce industry and is among the top five states producing watermelons, cantaloupe and leafy greens, and maybe more importantly, the second-largest peach producing state in the country. “At Titan Farms, we are the largest producer of peaches in South Carolina, with more than 6,000 acres and also lead the state in bell peppers at 700 acres, broccoli at 600 acres and eggplant at 50 acres,” said Daryl Johnston, vice president of... Read more
A steady program serves Wiers Farm
Again in 2018, “a very wide assortment” of Eastern and Western vegetables solidly remain on the production list of Wiers Farm Inc., located in Willard, OH. Ben Wiers, a fourth-generation member in the family business, said the farm has the soils to produce the variety of commodities. In the “Eastern veg” category are bell peppers and all the hot pepper varieties, cucumbers and summer squash. The “Western veg” category at Wiers includes sweet corn, dill, cilantro... Read more
Skyline stays the course for 2018 potato program
Expecting the 2017 storage crop to run well into the summer, Skyline Potato General Manager Les Alderete said in late April demand was good and prices have held steady so far in 2018. He said no major changes are planned for the conventional russet and organic russet and red program.Les Alderete “Our supplies will go through the end of July,” Alderete reported from his Center, CO, office. “The price has been steady, but demand has been a little slower than normal.... Read more
Fagerberg in year two of organic onion program
Colorado Front Range onion grower-shipper Fagerberg Farms and Fagerberg Produce saw a good season with its first commercial loads of organic onions in 2017, and Ryan Fagerberg, company president and warehouse manager, said the certified production is a good addition to the overall program. “There are no major changes to acreage or varieties this year,” he said, adding that a few more acres are being farmed east of the main facility in Eaton. The program remains... Read more
Monte Vista Potato Growers continues steady growth curve
With 2018’s crop being planted in late April and 2017 potatoes running until the end of July, Monte Vista Potato Growers near Monte Vista continues to expand in volume and in shipments, particularly to Mexico. General Manager Jason Tillman said in mid-April the cooperative now is made up of 11 growers, and he said volume has increased 35 percent in the past year as a result of good yields and the additional acreage.Jason Tillman “We had eight growers when I started... Read more
FreshXperts transfers full ownership to industry veteran Anthony Totta
FreshXperts, a consulting group for the fresh produce industry, announced that it has restructured to provide better service to clients and more autonomy for its consulting members. Anthony Totta, a founding member and industry veteran who has spent more than 30 years working in the produce industry, has assumed total ownership of FreshXperts. Furthermore, the organization's back office operations will join its corporate headquarters in Kansas City, relocating from... Read more
Great weather sets up Prime Time for spring deals
Speaking under sunny skies with temperatures hovering in the low 80s on April 13, Mike Way of Prime Time International in Coachella, CA, said the “perfect conditions” should give the company a great supply of its spring crops over the next couple of months. “We’ve had a very warm winter with no cold spells in Coachella,” he said. “We had three or four days earlier in the week with some hot weather, but the forecast for the next two weeks is 80-90 degrees. That... Read more
Tudor Ranch’s season  to start off strong
With some land that tends to produce an early crop and relatively new Flame Seedless vines, Tudor Ranch Inc. in Mecca, CA, is expected to start the 2018 Coachella Valley grape deal with good volume. Andy EconomouAt least that was the view of longtime grape veteran Andy Economou of Tastyfrutti International Inc. in Philadelphia, which has helped sell that grower’s production for many, many years. Economou was planning on arriving in Coachella on May 7 or 8, the... Read more
Flavor is first in Georgia
While Flavor 1st Growers & Packers operates out of Mills River, NC, the company has a farm in Rebecca, GA. That farm grows 700 acres of beans (green, KY and wax), 100 acres of summer squash (green and yellow), 50 acres of grape tomatoes, 25 acres of Tasti-Lee tomatoes and 25 acres of green Bell peppers. “Our partner on this farm, Dan King (King Ranch Farms), also has 200 acres of watermelons and 250 acres of cantaloupe,” said Mike Porter, sales manager for... Read more
With 2018’s crop being planted in late April and 2017 potatoes running until the end of July, Monte Vista Potato Growers near Monte Vista continues to expand in volume and in shipments, particularly to Mexico. General Manager Jason Tillman said in mid-April the cooperative now is made up of 11 growers, and he said volume has increased 35 percent in the past year as a result of good yields and the additional acreage. “We had eight growers when I started six-and-a-half... Read more
As a means to cope with water shortages in Colorado’s Lower Arkansas Valley, Hirakata Farms in Rocky Ford will cut back its melon acreage this season, according to sales rep Gene Schneider. “There’s a drought situation in the Arkansas Valley,” Schneider said. “Last year we suffered from it as well.” He noted that water officials have told growers to plan on a 40 percent reduction in surface water. “That means we have to cut back on acreage in most of our crops,”... Read more
As he nears his three-year anniversary as manager of the San Luis Valley Research Center, Tyler Thompson said the upgrades and changes at Colorado State University’s College of Ag Sciences facility north of Monte Vista are too numerous to list. Just in the past year, Thompson said, the potato research center has seen the development of a continuous sterilizing seed cutter, improved and buried electrical utilities, the acquisition of a self-propelled Lenco potato... Read more
Blueberry interest up for Gourmet Trading
As blueberry category manager for Gourmet Trading Co., Luciano Fiszman works side-by-side with growers and the sales team in order to move the crop in each region and grow the programs with customers, season after season. “We focus on grower and customer service, we care about quality, food safety, logistics and delivering what we promise,” he said. “Success comes from time. Time for your team. Time for your growers. Time for your customers. Time to plan. Time... Read more
Experience, partnerships, encouragement drive G&R Farms
G&R Farms is an experienced, year-round supplier of sweet onions. “To be a success in this segment one needs to be savvy, very diversified, very cash flow flexible, and one must be able to adjust quickly to market and weather problems thrown at you,” said Walt Dasher, co-owner of G&R Farms, based in Glennville, GA. “My family has been in the Vidalia business longer than anyone else in the industry. I like to say we are like the Farmers Insurance... Read more