LA MIRADA, CALIF. — Numerous companies spotlighted their product lines at booths at the Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s Southern California Expo July 20. The Packer’s Western correspondent, Tom Burfield, gathered these briefs there:

Caldwell Fresh Foods


Roxanne VanPaing, president of Maui Girl Farms, Maui, Hawaii, was on hand at the Maywood, Calif.-based Caldwell Fresh Foods booth to introduce her macadamia nut pesto sauce.

The product is made with fresh herbs, extra-virgin olive oil and “the finest ingredients.”

It’s been sold into Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Mother’s Market stores and is available to other retailers.

“We’re ready to go,” VanPaing said.

Caldwell Fresh Foods will manufacture and market the product, said general manager Maurie Thomas.

Crunch Pak

Cashmere, Wash.-based Crunch Pak displayed its Grab & Go 5-ounce cups of sliced apples and grapes, apples and caramel dip and apples and peanut butter dip.

The company also featured its five-pack containers of sweet seedless grapes, carrot crunchies with ranch dip, apple slices and grapes, and apple slices and caramel dip.

Also shown: Burger King peeled apple fries with low-fat caramel dip.

All of the products have 21-day shelf lives from the date of manufacture, said Gene Loudon, director of new business development.

Fresh Express

Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express Inc. offered a preview of the newest additions to its line of salad kits.

Chicken Caesar and chicken taco flavor whole meal salads and house ranch and house Italian house salads are due out in August, said Ron Jackson, business manager.

Two limited-time offerings also will launch. Strawberry Fields kits will be available from August to December, and Pear Gorgonzola should be available from January to April. Existing kits include Caesar, Caesar Lite, Caesar Supreme and Asian.

Mission Produce

Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., promoted two of its avocado-related products — Frontera brand all-natural guacamole mix, which debuted earlier this year, and the chunky, mild version of its Mr. Avocado brand guacamole. The newest Mr. Avocado product is set for launch Aug. 1, said salesman Hector Soltero.

North Shore Greenhouses

North Shore Sales & Marketing Inc., Thermal, Calif., was formed July 1 to handle sales and marketing for North Shores Greenhouses Inc., said Suzette Overgaag, vice president and chief financial officer in the marketing company and partner in the original firm.

The new company will make it easier to implement future strategic planning, Overgaag said. The company produces about three dozen kinds of living herbs and some European cucumbers.

The Oppenheimer Group

Chilean navel oranges have arrived, and the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group has them, said salesman Mark Smith.

“Chile is coming in with some very nice product,” he said.

The company received its first navels of the season around July 10. Oppenheimer plans to market about 400,000 boxes on the East and West coasts.

Ready Pac

Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Foods Inc. showed its newest product — four varieties of Fresh Fruit Parfaits — now testing in California and ready for launch in Arizona, based on its California success, said Neil Merritt, division vice president of Southwest sales.

The parfaits have yogurt on the bottom, granola in the middle and fresh-cut fruit packed separately on top. The 5.5-ounce cups have a 10-day shelf life, so consumers can pick up several at a time, he said. They come in blueberry, mango, apple and apple/mango flavors.

San Miguel Produce

Oxnard, Calif.-based San Miguel Produce Inc. showed just-introduced and soon-to-be-introduced organic Cut N Clean Greens products.

The hearty greens variety, featuring collard and kale, was released in early July, and rainbow chard is set for launch this fall, said Kelly Bishop, marketing coordinator.

The company offers 19 Cut N Clean varieties, including six organic versions.

Organic product packs in 8-ounce recyclable, plastic containers, and conventional product comes in 12-ounce, 1-pound and 2-pound bags.

San Miguel Produce grows, processes and ships the greens to maintain complete control over the product, Bishop said.

West Pak Avocado

A new “Just Ripe” Price Look-Up sticker is now in use on preconditioned avocados from West Pak Avocado Inc., Temecula, Calif., said Heath Shoup, regional salesman.

The new, larger stickers are easy to scan and can include more consumer information, such as “just ripe when soft,” Shoup said. He estimated that about half of the company’s avocados are preconditioned.

World Variety Produce

Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce Inc. showed off its new, 6-ounce, single-serving size of Melissa’s brand fully cooked, ready-to-eat edamame and Melissa’s Veggie Sweet mini peppers.

The company introduced edamame in the late 1990s, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations. The new, single-serving, in-shell soy beans come in a modified-atmosphere package, he said.

The miniature peppers are mild and mostly seedless, he said. They sell in 5-ounce clamshell containers and in 2-pound bags.

Innovations abound at FPFC expo