MONTEREY, Calif. — The Packer’s Editor Greg Johnson, Packer foodservice writer Ashley Bentley and contributing writer Jody Shee visited exhibitors at the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference & Exposition July 30-Aug. 1.
They compiled these notes from the show floor (PART 3 of 3 PARTS):
Muranaka Farm, Moorpark, Calif., introduced a 25-pound carton of radishes with the top and tail cut off to make the product easier for foodservice operators to work with, said Charles Muranaka, salesman.
Other packaging options include five 5-pound packs per box or 5-pounds in a single carton.
Washed and bunched cilantro and parsley is new for NewStar Fresh Foods LLC, Salinas, Calif.
The company offers the products in 3-count or 6-count packages for cilantro, parsley and Italian parsley, with a 16-day shelf life.
Rainier Fruit Co.
Rainier Fruit Co., Selah, Wash., will start shipping its Grapple, the apple infused with grape flavor, loose in 40-pound boxes of sizes 100 and 113 for foodservice customers in October.
Suzanne Wolter, marketing director, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers the Grapple a processed product, so it cannot be shipped to retail loose in cartons, but only in packages, like Rainier does in its 4-pack clamshell.
Vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan, the Netherlands, introduced Salanova, a line of lettuce varieties with three times the number of leaves of a regular head of lettuce.
A few of the varieties are green butter, red butter, green oak, red oak and frisee, all one-cut ready, meaning that when cored, each leaf falls off and is the same size and usable, said Karen Marie Feliz, crop specialist for lettuce and melons. Various growers are growing the company’s lettuce.
River Point Farms
Beginning with the fall harvest, River Point Farms, Hermiston, Ore., will offer red cippolini onions in 10-pound foodservice bulk packs as well as 6-ounce packs, said chief executive officer Steffanie Smith.
Steve Marinello, director of imports for Seald Sweet International, Vero Beach, Fla., said the company now offers choice grade navels from Chile in sizes 88s and 113s.
He said carrying choice grade in addition to fancy allows foodservice operators more flexibility and price points.
Seald Sweet expects to have the navels from June until September.
Specialty Potato Alliance
Mountainside, N.J.-based Specialty Potato Alliance has two new potato varieties.
The company — which has offices and growing areas in Center, Colo.; Bakersfield, Calif., and in Idaho — launched Red Rebel and Rocky Rose, two fingerling varieties.
Red Rebel is a red potato with yellow meat, while Rocky Rose has rosy, pink skin and a creamy inside.
“We see the category getting much bigger,” said Richard Leibowitz, managing director.
Heyburn, Idaho-based Southwind Farms added a new specialty potato to its line-up.
The company just started harvesting the bintje variety of yellow marble potatoes within the month, said Jerry Tominaga, vice president.
The potatoes are coming out of the ground in Washington, but will be grown in Arizona later in the year.
The new variety also marks the first grower partnership for the company. Southwind Farms grows all its other potato varieties itself.
“It’s just an experiment, so we’ll see,” Tominaga said.
“Business has been good. The market is really good, red-hot right now.”
Tate Mathison, sales team leader for Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash., said the company now offers a fundraising program for groups to sell 10-pound boxes of Stemilt apples, pears or cherries to raise money for charity rather than selling candy or similar less nutritious food.
Mathison said Stemilt provides the boxes and point-of-sale material.
Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., now offers seedless lemons year-round, said Leland Wong, director of marketing.
He said they are available to foodservice now in half-cartons and should be packed in consumer bags later this year.
Taylor Farms California Inc., Salinas, introduced several items for foodservice.
Product manager Marcus Shebl said it has butter leaf lettuce and sugar snap peas in 2-pound bags for foodservice. It also carries its broccoli sweet petite, which is broccoli crossed with Chinese kale, in 2-by3-pound bags or 4-by-2-pound bags for foodservice.
Also new this August is a fresh-cut celery line which consists of 4-inch celery sticks, celery crescents cut in ¼-, 3/8- or ½-inch sections and diced celery cut in ¼-, 3/8- or ½-inch sections.
Shebl said the celery line should take much of the labor out of celery use for chefs.
Tamaya Gourmet, Santiago, Chile, introduced a fruit only grown in Northern Chile, called Carica. The fruit, which cannot be eaten fresh, is cooked and pasteurized, giving it a two-year shelf life unopened or 10 days after opening it, said general manager Daniel Vitis.
The fruit’s flavor is a combination of mango, pineapple, apricot, pear and peach with a slightly crunchy texture. It is available in a 35-ounce resealable bag.
The Salad Farm
Whole lettuce filets are now available from the Salad Farm, Salinas, Calif., in green leaf, red leaf and romaine. The filets come washed and ready to use in two 5-pound bags or 10-pound liners.
Company president Lex Camany said the filets often are used in foodservice as a wrap to hold ingredients or as a plate liner, among other things.
The company also added radicchio to its line in the past year, in 9- and 12-pound boxes.
3 Star Lettuce
Salinas, Calif.-based seed company 3 Star Lettuce announced the pending availability of baby romaine hearts, which grower shippers will soon be working with to have available to foodservice in 3-count clamshells as well as whole leaves in clamshells, said Javier Saldana in product development and sales.
The seed will be available to grower-shippers in November.
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Folsom, Calif., introduced its new foodservice CD, which features 60 recipes, photos, storage information and blueberry background information, said Kathy Blake, associate vice president for Lewis & Neale, the council’s public relations representative.
Kevin Stanger, vice president of sales and marketing for Wada Farms Marketing Group, Idaho Falls, Idaho, said the company plans to have its own red and yellow potato varieties for this fall’s harvest, after years of trials. He said he expects Wada to begin shipping the varieties in September.
Wayne E. Bailey
Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co. now offers a full fresh-cut sweet potato fry kit.
The Chadbourn, N.C.-based sweet potato company developed two kinds of batter to go along with its fresh-cut sweet potato fries.
The fries come in 20-pound or 12-pound cases, packaged in 5-pound or 3-pound individual bags (4-by-5 or 4-by-3). They have a 14-day shelf life, and take two minutes to fry.
“We’ve been in fresh-cut since 2006, and a French fry without a batter will not be as good as this product,” said George Wooten, president.
West Pak Avocado
New this summer to Temecula, Calif.-based West Pak Avocado Inc., is the ability to deliver to customers more specific pressure parameters, said Doug Meyer, vice president of sales and marketing.
West Pak has post-ripening, pressure testing and sorting technology that can deliver to foodservice operators a more consistent product, he said.
“This increases sales, lowers shrink and minimizes problems, and is great for foodservice because it can cut down on storage,” Meyer said.
World Variety Produce
Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, owners of the Melissa’s brand, has a new 5-pound pack of cooked, ready-to-eat beets.
The French beets have been available in retail packs, which World Variety packs for Trader Joe’s, and because of their popularity, the company launched them in a foodservice pack, said Bill Schneider, director of marketing.