Giumarra Cos. names grower chief

The Giumarra Cos., Reedley, Calif., has hired Don Warkentin to head its grower and field services.

He brings with him more than 20 years experience in the San Joaquin Valley stone fruit business, said John Thiesen, division manager.

“He’s really an asset to our deal and company,” he said.

Warkentin will be based in Reedley.

The grower-shipper this season also plans to introduce plum packaging and retail displays that focus on using the fruit in pies, according to a news release.

The Easy as Pie promotion will involve Nature’s Partner branded 2-pound zipper pouch bags with a peel-off recipe label. A quick-response code printed on the bag and accompanying multicolor vinyl display wraps will take consumers to a YouTube cooking video that illustrates how to make a fresh plum pie.

The video features Helen Krause, a retired plum producer who used to grow for Giumarra, as she shares her plum pie recipe and step-by-step instructions.

The recipe calls for two 2-pound bags of either red or black plums, which will ship from early June through September.


More galas in Primavera’s future

Primavera Marketing Inc., Stockton, Calif., plans to increase its volume on gala apples 25% or more in the next two to three years.

“We continue to make some new plantings and grafting to higher-colored strains on the galas,” said Rich Sambado, sales manager. “So our gala production should make a good jump this year and a significant jump in 2015 and 2016. At that point we may need to make some expansions in our pack line.”


Sun World picks operations director

Coachella, Calif.-based Sun World International LLC has named industry veteran Tom Clark director of southern facilities and operations in Coachella.

He succeeds Joe Sanchez, who was appointed North American director of grower relations and licensing.

Clark most recently was general manager of LoBue Citrus, Lindsay, Calif., and has extensive experience in managing packinghouse and cold storage operations in the San Joaquin Valley, according to a news release.

In his new role, Clark will manage all packing and cold-storage operations and staff for Sun World’s Southern California grower base.

Sanchez will be responsible for sourcing and licensing activities in the San Joaquin Valley and Mexico, including the firm’s California stone fruit licensing business and supporting the company’s central California grape growers.

He also will oversee the company’s Hermosillo, Mexico, grower relations and licensing staff.


Westside Produce conisders solar power

Firebaugh, Calif.-based Westside Produce plans to have solar power up and running before the expected July 1 start of melons.

“A couple of companies say they’ll have it all done for us before July and we’re excited about that,” Steve Patricio, president and chief executive officer, said March 21. “We expect to formalize that any day.”

“We’re looking to furnish the bulk of our power needs (with it), if it all works out,” he said.


Zaninovich & Sons starts Tudor Ranches deal

For the first time, Vincent B. Zaninovich & Sons Inc., Richgrove, Calif., will be packing and marketing grapes from Tudor Ranches Inc., Mecca, Calif., under the VBZ label this season.

The Coachella crop is expected to start in early May and transition into the San Joaquin Valley crop, which Chance Kirk, VBZ director of retail and food service sales, expects to start in late June.

VBZ also plans to expand its Sweet Sunshine proprietary grape program this year, complete with graphic stand-up pouches and accompanying retail displays.

“Last year was our first coming out party with that variety, and a couple retailers had semi-exclusives with them,” Kirk said.

This year, the maturing vineyards should yield about 20% more fruit as they near full production.

VBZ also has an exclusive arrangement this season with Safeway for organic Sweet Sunshine, which should hit shelves about the third week in July.

In addition, the grower-shipper plans to continue its bicolor cherry clamshell that features half royal rainiers and half red cherries in 1- and 2-pound containers.