Colora Orchards gains GAP certification

Colora Orchards, Colora, Md., is certified in good agricultural practices, co-owner Steve Balderston said. The farm also has one employee dedicated to ensuring his orchard and packing house continue to meet all requirements.

Balderston said he hopes the FDA’s plan to harmonize the GAP program will make the process easier for growers, who must now deal with different regulations from every buyer.

The fifth-generation farmer, who grows 200 acres of apples and peaches, said he’s planted several nectarine varieties, including fantasia. However, a new yellow peach variety, Victoria, didn’t survive the spring freeze.

Balderston said he’ll keep the late variety for another year.

C&E Farms to upgrade food safety audit

Cheriton, Va.-based C&E Farms is preparing to upgrade its food safety audit this year, said president Bob Colson.  

C&E, which specializes in hydro-cooled green beans, packs 600,000 to 700,000 bushels at its Virginia facility, and sells them from Richmond, Va., to Boston.

Dublin Farms growing new potato varieties

Horntown, Va.-based Dublin Farms is growing several new yellow-fleshed potato varieties this year, vice president David Hickman said.

“This year we’re trying a new yellow variety called allegra,” Hickman said.

Another variety, Augusta, is showing promise. It has a red eye like a yukon gold, he said, but offers better quality and yield.

“We also have sylvana, which is oval with a deep yellow color,” Hickman sa

J.J. Jardina makes hire, expands deliveries

Mike Jardina, chief executive officer of fresh fruit wholesaler J.J. Jardina Co., Forest Park, Ga., has hired his brother Matt in sales to replace his brother Mark, who died in September.

In response to customer demand, Jardina said the company is expanding its delivery range.

Watermelon group plans promotions

Allen, Md.-based Mar-Del Watermelon Association plans to slice watermelons and hand out recipes at events this summer, including the MS Bike-a-thon, Dover Speedway Race, Washington, D.C.’s BBQ Fest, farmers markets, grocery stores, the Delaware State Fair and Wright’s Market Watermelon Festival in Mardela Springs, Md., said Dawn Collins, promotions coordinator for the association.

The group also plans to promote watermelon for the first time at the Farmer and the Chef in Millsboro, Del., on Aug. 16, she said.