(April 6, 3:09 p.m.) The following news items were gathered at the New England Produce Council's ninth annual produce exposition April 1 in Boston:

Backyard Farms

Backyard Farms LLC, Madison, Maine, in January opened a Portland, Maine, office and has expanded its acreage.

The hydroponic tomato grower increased its acreage from 24 acres to 42 acres. The additional acreage should be ready for production in October, said Tim Cunniff, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Country Fresh Mushrooms

Country Fresh Mushrooms Co., Avondale, Pa., has given its label a makeover.

In its redesign, the company aimed to make a cleaner and updated look to the label, which now features photos. The label is smaller so consumers can see more of the product, said Bob Besix, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

East Coast Fresh Cuts

East Coast Fresh Cuts, the fresh-cut division of Savage, Md.-based Coastal Sunbelt Co. Inc., has increased the marketing of its fresh-cut fruit packs.

Previously available only in limited markets, the fresh-cut company is expanding the sales of its packs that feature cups and trays of melons, mangoes and cored pineapple. Additionally, East Coast is selling 12-ounce packs of watermelon hearts. The brick-shaped melon hearts come packed with six pieces of melon per unit, said Ross Forca, Coastal Sunbelt’s chief financial officer.

F&S Produce

F&S Produce Co. Inc., Rosenhayn, N.J., has added to its fresh-cut Green Giant Fresh-branded program.

F&S is offering 22- and 40-ounce trays and 4-pound bulk packs of cut broccoli, carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes.

The trays feature a proprietary seal, said Sam Burleson, F&S’ director of sales.

The company has also released a 5-ounce Green Giant-branded snack pack featuring similar items to be marketed in convenience stores and similar venues, Burleson said.

Green Giant Fresh

Eden Prairie, Minn.-based The Sholl Group II, which markets fresh produce under the Green Giant Fresh label, has introduced sweet potato fries and vegetable grilling retail packs.

Green Giant has offered orange fresh-cut sweet potato fries, grown and processed through Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Chadbourn, N.C., for two years. The 12-ounce packs of fries and cubes introduced at the show use white sweet potatoes, said Ronnie Mercer, a Wayne E. Bailey salesman.

Green Giant also introduced aluminum vegetable grilling trays that can be placed on the grill or in an oven. The 22.5-ounce trays come in four selections: baby red potatoes with rosemary herb sauce; a barbecue blend, with broccoli, red potatoes, squash and carrots; a green beans and carrot blend; and a California blend, with broccoli, carrots, yellow squash and zucchini.

Maheras Potato & Onion

Maheras Potato & Onion, Chelsea, Mass., located on the New England Produce Market, has introduced new potato packs. Maheras, which markets under the Chelsea Creek label, now has 2-pound bags of Yukon gold and red potatoes, said Bill Maheras, sales manager.

Mastronardi Produce

Mastronardi Produce Ltd., Kingsville, Ontario, has rolled out a new pack of cherry tomatoes. The company introduced the hydroponic tomatoes called “One Sweet Tomato.” The tomatoes contain high brix levels and come in 1-pint clamshells that feature a round base with a square top.

Additionally, Mastronardi April 10 plans to release a brown tomato called kumato. The kumatos will be packed in 4- and 5-count tube packs as well as in 5-kilogram (11-pound) bulk packs, said Paul Mastronardi, executive vice president.

Maurice A. Auerbach

Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., South Hackensack, N.J., has introduced a line of baby potatoes. The red, white, gold, purple, fingerling and gourmet mixture potatoes come in 28-ounce bags.

Auerbach has also rolled out a 1.5-ounce vacuum-packed peeled garlic pack. The packs feature three tear-apart pieces for easy use in recipes, said Bruce Klein, marketing manager.

Procacci Bros.

Eyeing increased sales for more price-conscious shoppers, Procacci Bros. Sales Corp., Philadelphia, is introducing an economy line of prepackaged fruit and vegetables.

The value-packed program, announced at the show, can feature up to 40 items custom-packed to retailers. The produce is overwrapped in plain wrappers with no branding except to say “value.” Procacci developed the program so retailers could keep price points low to offer cash-strapped consumers more produce purchasing options, said Rick Feighery, Procacci’s director of sales.

The lineup features a variety of produce available in numerous sizes, including 2-, 3-, 4- and 6-count lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, squash and broccoli.

Quality Sales

Quality Sales LLC, Hartford, Conn., a forward distribution center for Eurofresh Farms, Willcox, Ariz., has released an 8-ounce overwrapped pack of hot peppers. The packs feature 6-8 hot peppers such as long hots, habaneros and anaheims, said Lucas DiBenedetto, Quality Sales’ director of operations and human resources.

State Garden

State Garden Co. Inc., Boston, has added 11- and 16-ounce packs of baby spinach. The New England Produce Center-based company, which also owns Olivia's Organics, previously packed baby spinach only in a 7-ounce pack.

The company is also representing Naturipe Farms LLC, Naples, Fla., for berry sales, said Stephen Noll, State Garden’s vice president of sales.

Tourtellot & Co.

Tourtellot & Co. Inc., Warwick, R.I., is marketing a new summer fruit trio pack.

Chris Marsh, sales merchandiser, said the company is pushing the 15-count show pack with no cover that includes three plums, six nectarines and six peaches.