Christopher Ranch now carries spring garlic

Gilroy, Calif.-based garlic producer/distributor Christopher Ranch has added spring garlic, also called green garlic, to its portfolio, said Patsy Ross, vice president of marketing.

Spring garlic is harvested before it can bulb, Ross said.

“It’s pulled while the stems are green. It’s similar-looking to a green onion,” she said.

“It’s very, very popular at the farmers markets and trendy restaurants.”

Volume of the product is limited, but there should be enough to go around, Ross said.

“We’re nowhere close to the 60 million pounds of fresh garlic we typically produce each year, but we do have good availability to where we’d handle all our existing customers,” she said.

Spring garlic has no waste, which is a major appeal, Ross said.

“You can use the whole thing,” she said.

“We’ve worked with chefs who have literally worked with the roots. It’s completely edible, top to bottom. It’s another way to get another interesting flavor. It’s a super mild, fresh garlic flavor.”

Coosemans Worldwide adds bag for herbs

Miami-based specialty produce distributor Coosemans Worldwide Inc. has introduced a new “micro-perf” bag for fresh herbs, said Lolo Mengel, co-owner and general manager of Jessup, Md.-based Coosemans D.C. Inc.

“We’re beginning to find interest in it,” Mengel said.

“It’s still being researched, but the preliminary findings is the gas exchange is improved over certain clamshells, so we’re hoping to extend the shelf life of the herbs at retail.”

The breathable pack is offered in single-serve, quarter-ounce or 1-ounce units for any herb that Coosemans offers, Mengel said.

Californians celebrate Gilroy Garlic Festival

More than 100,000 people were expected to attend the 32nd annual 2010 Garlic Festival on July 23-25 in Gilroy, Calif., said Peter Ciccarelli, spokesman for the event.

The event had cooking competitions, live music, children’s entertainment and food enhanced by 4,500 pounds of fresh California garlic.

Greg Bozzo served as the volunteer president.

“First and foremost, our primary sustainable resource is this community and the 4,000 volunteers who comprise the work force,” Bozzo said in a news release.

The event raised $8.5 million for local nonprofit organizations.

Don Christopher of garlic producer Christopher Ranch co-founded the festival in 1979 to highlight local agricultural products.

The Great Garlic Cook-Off featured eight amateur finalists from across the U.S. preparing their submitted recipes.

The festival also featured a Garlic Showdown, with prominent Bay Area chefs Jerry Regester, Mattin Noblia, Jesse Llapitan and defending champion Ryan Scott.

HerbThyme Farms hires operations V.P.

Perrysburg, Ohio-based HerbThyme Farms Inc. has hired Oscar Garcia as its vice president of operations, said Vern Meyer, executive administrator.

“He is bringing some new techniques to the herb world,” Meyer said.

“We are collecting data from customers and farms and packinghouses to really scientifically approach how to grow the best oregano, how to make basil last an extra two days and track it through the system. We are putting in this intense methodology that’s changing the whole way the herb business has been done over the last 25 years.”

Garcia is a newcomer to the produce industry, having come from the manufacturing sector, Meyer said.

HerbThyme also is updating its packinghouses with automated labeling machines, Meyer said.

“We’re doing lots of training all the time on how to be the best,” he said.

“We’re building and updating our whole customer service area. It’s all about service, making sure things happen when the truck is late, updating orders that change to make sure our customers never run out of stock.”

Infinite Herbs adds warehouse space

Miami-based Infinite Herbs & Specialties has opened a 4,000-square-foot warehouse and packing operation in Chicago, said Camilo Penalosa, vice president of business development and partner.

The company already had similar facilities in Boston and Miami.

Infinite Herbs & Specialties also has started some farms and greenhouses in California, in the Oxnard-Ventura region, Penalosa said.

The company also grows herbs outdoors on 100 acres in Colombia, 7 acres in Mexico and 60 acres in California, he said. It also has 12 acres of greenhouse production in California, he added.

“We diversify to fight against Mother Nature’s risks,” he said.

Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo introduces recipe pairings

Pescadero, Calif.-based Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo Inc. has launched a label called Del Cabo Culinary Combos, said Marina Pace, marketing spokeswoman for the company.

“Under our new Del Cabo Culinary Combos label, we combine both lines of products — Del Cabo vegetables with compatible fresh culinary herbs from Jacobs Farm — with easy-to-prepare recipes that provide quick and easy solutions for delicious gourmet meals,” Pace said.

The line features “eco-friendly packaging with compostable trays, clear messaging and accessible recipes,” she added.

The first Culinary Combos packs are Organic Zucchini and Fresh Herbs and Organic Persian Cucumbers with Fresh Herbs, with a line extension using other organic seasonal fresh vegetables and herbs planned for the future, she said.

The company also has opened a warehouse packing and distribution center in Boston and has grown its greenhouse production from 250,000 square feet to more than 1 million square feet in the last two years, Pace said.

“This allows us to provide local basil year-round, and ensures a supply of chives, sage and other herbs difficult to source during the winter months,” she said.

Shenandoah Growers fills three staff positions

Shenandoah Growers Inc., Harrisonburg, Va., has made several additions to its sales and marketing program.

Remy Dardani has been named customer care manager, Richard Wangenheim is now sales and marketing executive, and Philip Karp has joined the company as vice president of sales and marketing.

Dardani has experience in category management, field operations and customer service.

Wangenheim has more than 20 years’ experience in sales management and marketing of fresh foods. He works with Michele Henning, vice president of key accounts in sales and account management.

Karp has 15 years’ experience in consumer marketing, retail leadership and business development. He drives the company’s consumer-centric strategy.

Shenandoah now offers a quarter-ounce Recipe Size fresh-cut clamshell, which enables the company “to tailor our programs to maximize fresh herb category sales based on an individual retailer’s specific shopper, market, positioning and footprints,” Henning said.

Shenandoah also will be harvesting herbs in a new greenhouse operation, beginning in September, said Timothy Heydon, president and chief executive officer.

The firm also is coming out with new packaging designs for clamshell labels and inserts. The change is designed to make the company’s color-coded packaging “cleaner, more contemporary, easier to read and more visually appealing on the shelf,” Karp said.

Spice World debuts squeezable garlic

Orlando, Fla.-based Spice World Inc. now offers minced garlic in a squeezable bottle, said Louis Hymel III, director of purchasing and marketing.

“It has taken it from an ingredient standpoint almost to a condiment standpoint,” Hymel said.

“It’s a great-looking pack and very convenient and, so far, the reception has been excellent.”