California Giant tests item-level traceability

Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Berry Farms is piloting item-level traceability programs to find one that works best for its needs, said Cindy Jewell, marketing director.

The company currently uses a case-level traceability system. Jewell said the company is compliant with the Produce Traceability Initiative.

Curry & Co. expects more blueberries and blackberries

Matt Curry, president, Curry & Co. Inc., Brooks, Ore., said his company expects to market about 25% more blueberries and 15% more blackberries this season as compared to last year.

Curry & Co. started its blackberry program in 2011 and sources most of its berries from California and Oregon.

Curry & Co. is adding a new color version of its logo to its packaging beginning with this year’s California blueberry season, Curry said.

Gourmet Trading offers SuperBlues in smaller packs

Julia Inestroza, marketing director, Gourmet Trading Co., Los Angeles, said the company’s new 5 , 10, and 16-ounce packs for SuperBlues provide more choices to its customers and should help increase retailers’ profits.

The packs were introduced with this season’s California deal.

In addition to SuperBlues, Gourmet Trading markets regular-size blueberries and blackberries. It sources blueberries from California, Oregon and Canada. Most of its blackberries are grown in Mexico, Inestroza said.

HBF and Hurst’s move headquarters, add staff

On April 23, HBF International LLC and its grower partner, Hurst’s Berry Farm Inc., opened the offices of their new headquarters in McMinnville, Ore., said Doug Perkins, HBF managing partner.

The companies had been based in Sheridan, Ore.

Perkins said HBF recently hired Will Ratto and Todd Loyd as salesmen. Before joining HBF, Ratto worked in marketing and sales for Brooks, Ore.-based Curry & Co. Perkins said that Loyd is new to the produce industry.

In addition to blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, HBF markets red currants and gooseberries in the summer.

Perkins said he expects Oregon-grown red currants to be available from late June through August. Gooseberries are expected to be available from June through July.

The Oppenheimer Group to promote juice tie-ins

Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group, markets summer blueberries from North Carolina, New Jersey and British Columbia under the Ocean Spray label.

This year, Oppenheimer expects to promote blueberries through tie-ins with Ocean Spray’s blueberry juices, said Nolan Quinn, berry category director.

The promotions will take place in select areas and will include displaying blueberry juices in produce sections.

Pure Fresh adds location in Chile, Mexican berry deals

Miami-based Pure Fresh LLC has opened a new operation, Pure Fresh Chile, to handle berry production, said Roberto Castaneda Jr., vice president.

Pure Fresh added Mexican strawberry and organic blackberry deals this season. Its growing operation in Guatemala, Planesa S.A., handles crops in Guatemala and Mexico, Castaneda said.

The company markets berries from Mexico through May.

In March, Rob Campbell joined Pure Fresh’s Philadelphia office to promote distribution in the northeastern U.S. Castaneda said Campbell has more than 11 years of experience in the produce industry, at least six of which were in berry marketing.

Campbell has worked for Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group and Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos., Castaneda said.

Pure Fresh markets blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

Red Blossom uses QR codes to help retailers promote

Red Blossom Farms, Los Olivos, Calif., added quick-response codes to its labels, said Michelle Deleissegues, marketing director.

The company is working with its retailer customers to offer retailer-specific promotions, recipes and information to consumers through QR codes.

Sun Belle’s Chilean, Mexican berry programs growing

After a move to a larger 63,000-square-foot distribution facility in Jessup, Md., in December, Chicago-based Sun Belle has increased its business in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, said Janice Honigberg, president.

The company’s Chilean blueberry and Mexican raspberry and blackberry programs also have grown significantly this season, she said. Also new for Sun Belle are programs with Mississippi blueberry growers and packers, and a new blackberry variety grown in California.

The new Jessup facility has custom-built refrigeration designed specifically for Sun Belle’s product line. Its largest berry crop is blackberries, with blueberries running a close second, Honigberg said.