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The Peruvian sweet onion is a premium sweet onion during the fall and winter months. Peru remains the second-largest supplier of onions to the United States, following Mexico, with more than $50 million coming into the country in the last year. Imports begin in August and last until February, with peak shipments during the last three months of the year. Delbert... Read more
Skagit Valley’s George Wallace was 87
Skagit Valley potato icon George Wallace, who with his brother Dick founded G&D Wallace and Wallace Farms decades ago, died July 9 on the family farm near Burlington WA. He was 87. “He had been involved in agriculture in so many ways over the years,” Mr. Wallace’s son, Jack, told The Produce News. “He was a CPA and an insurance broker as well as a farmer,... Read more
SEPC recognizes Next Generation Award nominees
The Southeast Produce Council is now going through the selection process to decide upon the recipient of this year’s Next Generation Award, co-sponsored by The Produce News, to honor a young person who is the Next Generation of produce leaders for the industry. Those nominated for this prestigious award must meet the following criteria: 39 years or younger (on... Read more
Schnucks paying customers back for purchases
Schnuck Markets Inc. launched Schnucks Rewards, a program that allows customers to earn points redeemable for dollars off future purchases. “This is a modern way for us to say ‘thank you’ to customers for choosing Schnucks,” said Schnucks Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Todd Schnuck. “Customers will be rewarded for something they’re already doing — buying... Read more
Directly, or not, trade wars will impact Michigan apples
Domestic sales in the produce industry are complex, but Michigan apple shippers are among those who appreciate the challenges of the export market. Ken Korson, apple category manager for North Bay Produce Inc. in Traverse City, MI, traveled in Colombia, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic this summer to develop exports.Michigan apple exports ship to South... Read more
Inaugural Ag Prep class off to a Wonderful start
The Wonderful Company co-owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick led a celebration of the 90-strong inaugural graduating class of the Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep program, known as Ag Prep, at a special event held Aug. 11 at Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano, CA.  More than 300 family, friends and community members gathered to honor students graduating... Read more
Kroger names Gil Phipps VP of branding, marketing and Our Brands
The Kroger Co. named Gil Phipps, currently vice president of Our Brands, to vice president of branding, marketing and Our Brands, effective Aug. 15. Phipps joined the company in 2012 and led the transformation of Our Brands by evolving existing brands and introducing new brands that resonate with customers. Through elevating recipes and product formulations,... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices Plus+ audit program for specialty crops is now accepted as technically equivalent by the Global Food Safety Initiative. “Technical equivalence means producers utilizing this one-stop USDA audit also meet other U.S. and international regulatory and market requirements,”... Read more
No harm, no fowl: Lasers help Starr Ranch Growers keep birds at bay
Each season brings its own challenges to fruit growers, but one that has been around since time immemorial is how to keep birds out of the orchards. Flocks of birds will gather on power lines or other strategic lofty locations and descend en masse into fields or orchards to eat. Starr Ranch Growers had used bird squawkers and propane cannons, both of which effectively... Read more
H-E-B names Mike Georgoff as chief product officer
H-E-B, one of the nation’s leading independent food retailers and the largest privately-held employer in Texas, named Mike Georgoff as its chief product officer of H-E-B Digital. Drawing on more than a decade of working with high-growth consumer technology startups, Georgoff will help drive H-E-B’s continued omnichannel growth, leading the company’s digital-product... Read more
High demand shortens California avocado season
There have been many challenges facing California agriculture this year, and California avocado growers have been in the thick of it with heat, wind and fire impacting production. The commission’s marketing committee met Aug. 1 and estimated this year’s harvest will be about 300 million pounds with availability continuing through the month. “We had originally... Read more
ShopRite brings state-of-the-art supermarket to New York
ShopRite opened a state-of-the-art, full-service supermarket in Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, earlier this week. The existing retail space was completely renovated to make way for a new ShopRite with a convenient shopping format, and the new store offers a large selection of organic, local and gluten-free foods and fresh produce. The 45,000-square-foot supermarket is... Read more
Christopher Ranch celebrates Gilroy Garlic Festival's 40th anniversary
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Christopher Ranch hosted 150 guests, including extended members of the Christopher family, employees, the heads of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, community leaders and the company's partners in philanthropy. "Every year we find this event to be the perfect way to bring together everyone that... Read more
Heritage: Youthful future springs from deep roots at Divine Flavor
Deep roots support a booming present; and young, qualified players plan the future. These are the ingredients driving Divine Flavor. At the core is a close family bond. For decades, the extended branches of the Divine Flavor family tree independently experienced success in agriculture. Pedro Batiz Sr., a partner and vice president of sales, is at the heart... Read more
Kwik Lok names new CFO
Kwik Lok Corp., the leader in packaging closure-solutions, announced the promotion of Jeff Buege to chief financial officer. Buege started with Kwik Lok in March of 2018. Prior to that he was the CFO at Columbia Reach in Yakima, WA, from 2013 to 2018, where he oversaw all financial aspects of the company. As CFO, Buege will be responsible for accelerating reporting... Read more
Ahold Delhaize to update Stop & Shop with a fresh new format
Ahold Delhaize, one of the world’s largest food retail groups and a leader in both supermarkets and e-commerce, reported a solid second quarter with increased sales and margins, unfavorably impacted by the timing of Easter, and delivery of strong earnings and free cash flow growth. Looking forward, the company said it plans to update its largest business in the... Read more
Michigan apple crop up 25 to 30 percent
Michigan apple growers have been blessed with very good weather this year. Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said everything is looking pretty good for the state’s 2018 apple crop. “We have a good-sized crop. Good quality. Everybody is really happy with how everything came together.” Smith said Michigan’s “weather has been ideal,... Read more
Kroger makes executive changes
The Kroger Co. announced Valerie Jabbar, currently president of the Ralphs division, as group vice president of merchandising for the company, effective Sept. 1. Mike Murphy, currently vice president of operations for the Columbus division, will succeed Jabbar as president of the Ralphs division. Jabbar began her Kroger career in 1987 as a clerk in the Fry's... Read more
Explosive growth leads to aggressive grape promotion opportunities
Grape category leader Sun World International will have a record amount of Sun World proprietary grape varieties this coming fall, including its flagship late-season trio: Scarlotta seedless, Autumncrisp and Adora seedless brand grapes. The company’s grape volume has grown a record amount overall. This year, retailers can plan aggressive promotions from mid-September... Read more
ALDI's $5 billion initiative increases fresh and organic offerings
As part of the company’s aggressive growth initiative, ALDI announced a new product expansion to deliver more of the fresh products customers want most. With an emphasis on fresh, organic and easy-to-prepare options, 20 percent of products in every ALDI store will be new compared to last year. With more than 1,800 stores across the country, ALDI is in the midst... Read more