Avocado commission plans cross-promotions

The Irvine-based California Avocado Commission is planning a cross-promotion with watermelons from Dulcinea Farms LLC, Ladera Ranch, Calif., for the Fourth of July, said Jan DeLyser, the commission’s vice president of marketing.

“We’re going to showcase a watermelon recipe called ‘Firecracker Guacamole’ that incorporates watermelon into the guacamole, and you serve it in the shell of the watermelon,” she said.

“It’s a convenient way to serve avocados, but it’s also tying them to a traditional high-consumption item for that holiday.”

The commission also is partnering with Torrance, Calif.-based King’s Hawaiian bread, which will promote California avocados in its packaging.

“They have a robust e-mail newsletter subscription base and social activities, and CAC will be sharing assets there,” she said.

Del Rey Avocado installing baggers

Donny Lucy, son of partner Bob Lucy, has joined Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc., Fallbrook, Calif., as a salesman handling East Coast sales, a task previously handled by his father, who will spend more time generating new retail business, especially in the organic category.

The company also is in the process of updating and improving its packinghouse, including some reconstruction and expansion to make room for bagging machines.

Giumarra of Escondido opens Ventura facility

This will be the first full season that the Escondido, Calif.-based Giumarra Agricom International LLC packinghouse will be up and running in Ventura, Calif., said Bruce Dowhan, general manager. The facility was established to serve the firm’s growers in the northern district.

In the past, product from the Ventura area was transported to the company’s Escondido packinghouse, but with an increase in business, the company needed a separate packinghouse and staff in the north, Dowhan said.

The Escondido location remains in operation for southern-area growers. The Ventura facility will operate through October. Both packinghouses will pack about the same volume.

Hass Avocado Board funds nutrition research

The Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board has unveiled a major nutrition research program that is looking into the benefits of avocado consumption on heart health, weight management, healthy living and diabetes, said Emiliano Escobedo, executive director.

One of the initial studies, a review of more than 60 avocado research studies conducted over 50 years, already has been published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

The goal of the program is to increase avocado consumption by examining the composition of avocados and their potential health effects and communicating that information to consumers, Escobedo said.

He expects the studies, which will be financed by HAB assessments over several years, to have an effect in the U.S. and around the world by confirming that “avocados are a superfood.”

Index Fresh announces three new employees

Index Fresh Inc., Bloomington, Calif., has hired Brian Gomez as a salesman, said Dana Thomas, president.

Gomez has five years of avocado sales experience, most recently with West Pak Avocado, Temecula, Calif..

Ty “TJ” Salinas also has joined the company as a field man and will work with growers in the southern region. Salinas most recently was with Fallbrook Fertilizer, Feed and Farm Supply, Fallbrook, Calif.

Finally, Nnaemeka Ike, a graduate of University of California, Riverside, with a bachelor’s of science degree in environmental science, has joined the company as food safety coordinator. He will help growers achieve good agricultural practices certification.

Index Fresh ships conventional avocados under the AvoTerra brand and organic fruit under the AvoLoma brand.

West Pak turns 30, upgrades cartons

This is a milestone year for West Pak Avocado Inc., Temecula, Calif., said Doug Meyer, vice president of sales and marketing.

The company is marking its 30th anniversary.

When the company opened in 1982, hass avocados were a seasonal crop and were not distributed very far outside the West, he said. California was the only region producing hass avocados for U.S. distribution.

West Pak has implemented a traceability system that is fully integrated from its groves to its packing, ripening and distribution facilities, and the company is fully compliant with the industry’s Produce Traceability Initiative, Meyer said.

Besides adding hardware and software, the project required a redesign of the firm’s cartons to accommodate the PTI label.

“During our carton redesign process, we added strength and airflow enhancements and updated the graphics with a fresh, new look,” Meyer said.