Anthony Vineyards ramps up organic

Bakersfield, Calif.-based conventional and organic grape grower-shipper Anthony Vineyards plans to have about 100 additional organic acres for the fall crop, said Rob Spinelli, salesman.

The approximate 5% increase in organic acreage should translate to up to 100,000 additional boxes, Spinelli said.

Anthony Vineyards also has added another pipeline of production in the San Joaquin Valley by signing to handle grapes from Arvin, Calif.-based H. Spitzer & Sons Inc. and its Top Hat brand, Spinelli said.

“They have close to 300,000 boxes, all conventional, and we have exclusive rights,” Spinelli said. He said the first shipments from Spitzer will start in July.

Drake Larson Sales boosts acreage

Thermal, Calif.-based Drake Larson Sales, a grape grower-shipper, has expanded its acreage, said Drake Larson, president.

“We’ve expanded a little bit and are thinking about expanding a little further, but we’re still in negotiations,” he said.

He said the company doubled its acreage on scarlet royals and cut back on perlettes.

“We doubled acreage, but first-year crops are always small, so we might have maybe 15,000 boxes this year,” he said.

Larson anticipates volume will grow to 30,000 in time, even with no further acreage increase.

“I was originally not that impressed with the scarlet royal. Then, I got to looking at it and realized it might fit our program,” Larson said.

Peter Rabbit Farms makes transitions

John King, a longtime salesman with Coachella, Calif.-based Peter Rabbit Farms, has retired after 25 years with the company, said John Burton, general manager for sales and cooler.

King, 66, retired at the end of 2013, Burton said.

“He was a longstanding, high-quality individual we’ve enjoyed a relationship with for years and years,” Burton said.

The Powell family has owned the company for four generations, and some members of the family will be coming in to take on some duties King left behind, Burton said.

“We see down the road some fourth-generation family members coming into farm management, so we have more coming into the company from the Powell family,” Burton said.

Richard Bagdasarian brings back beans

Mecca, Calif.-based grower-shipper Richard Bagdasarian Inc. has resumed growing organic green beans, said Franz De Klotz, vice president of marketing.

“We’ve gotten back into the organic category as a result of being asked by some of our customers to grow them,” he said.

The company has 40 acres of organic green bean production and there could be more in the future, he said.

“I’d say we’d add to that as the demand and requirement from our current customer base ask for it,” De Klotz said.

The company also has a proprietary grape variety, the magenta, coming into conventional production this year, Bozick said.

Westfresh Distributing adds brussels sprouts

Monterey, Calif.-based Westfresh Distributing has brought in a brussels sprouts grower from Mexico for the first time, said Kirk Pohl, president.

“I had brussels sprouts all winter long, which was unusual for me,” he said.