Del Mar Farms adds to sales staff

Anthony Wright, who is new to the produce industry, has been hired as a salesman at Del Mar Farms, Patterson, Calif., said sales manager Brian Wright. He will sell the company’s melon line and other commodities.

The company’s melon program includes cantaloupes, honeydews and hami melons. Del Mar Farms will offer the Infinite Gold cantaloupe variety from October into November.


Devine Organics tests new melons

Devine Organics LLC, Fresno, Calif., is planting a small test plot of organic tuscan and galia melons this season to see how they perform, said Rod Rosales, director of sales. If they turn out well, the company likely will add them to its product line in the future.

Devine Organics should have a good supply of organic cantaloupes, honeydews and orange flesh honeydews from California’s Westside growing area this season, he said.


Dulcinea Farms under new owners

Dulcinea Farms LLC, Ladera Ranch, Calif., continues to progress under its new ownership, said John McGuigan, general manager. The company was acquired by Pacific Trellis LLC, Fresno, Calif., Jan. 1.

The company continues to have a long-term partnership with its previous owner, Switzerland-based Syngenta.

Some back-office functions have been consolidated as a result of the purchase, he said.

“Our brand, our focus and our go-to-market strategy is still running separately under Dulcinea Farms,” he said.

Owners David Sullivan and Linda Chen have brought a “nice produce background and produce vision” to the operation, McGuigan said, adding that he expects to see the company add items to its portfolio within the next six to nine months.

Dulcinea Farms offers its PureHeart and Tuscan-style cantaloupes, Ruby Bliss full-size seedless watermelons, PureHeart mini-seedless watermelons and a small amount of Sunny Gold yellow-flesh miniature watermelons, which will be available in late August.


Five Crowns nixes Bakersfield deal

Brawley, Calif.-based Five Crowns Marketing will not have its usual Bakersfield deal this season because of concerns about water availability, said Daren Van Dyke, director of sales and marketing. The company will grow melons in other parts of the Westside growing area, however, and has planted some late desert varieties to help make up for the lack of the Bakersfield program.

Van Dyke said the company hopes to return to Bakersfield next year. Five Crowns Marketing offers honeydews and cantaloupes, including the Origami cantaloupe.


Legend Produce in expansion mode

Legend Produce LLC, Firebaugh, Calif., is expanding, thanks in part to its successful Origami cantaloupe variety, said owner Barry Zwillinger.

The company has expanded its staff and opened an office — Legend Produce East — in Fort Mitchell, Ky.

Kristen Miesel has been named director of food safety and will oversee field audits, Global Food Safety Initiative certification and other food safety-related functions. Craig Smith and Justin Bootz, who are new to the industry, have been hired as sales assistants.

Staffing the Kentucky office are Don Johnston, sales director; Tony Fey and Phillip Cianciolo, salesmen; Kristie Johnston, sales coordinator; Donna Groves, director of transportation; and David Ovens, director of grower relations. All were previously members of the Chiquita marketing group.


Pandol to triple Sweet Cheeks

Selma, Calif.-based Pandol Associates Marketing Inc. hopes to find a California grower for its Sweet Cheeks extra-sweet honeydews, said president Jim Pandol.

Currently, the melons are grown only in Mexico. The program kicks off in July and continues into the fall.

Sweet Cheeks melons rate a couple of degrees higher on the brix scale than typical honeydews, he said, but at the expense of some postharvest life. That’s why the melons are shipped promptly after cooling.

“We work very hard to have our sales programmed so that, as the melons are being harvested, we pretty much know where they’re going,” Pandol said.

This will be the second year for the program. Pandol said he expects to triple last year’s volume.


Sandstone focuses on Kiss melons

Sandstone Melon Co., Yuma, Ariz., is getting out of the cantaloupe business after 30 years and will focus on its specialty line of proprietary Kiss brand melons — Golden Kiss (a French Charentais melon), Honey Kiss (a Chinese melon), Sugar Kiss (a Japanese melon) and Summer Kiss (an Israeli melon) — said Milas Russell, director of marketing.

The company works directly with retailers on marketing the melons, he said, and speaks directly to consumers through social media, such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

“We also utilize Google Glass in the field to take pictures of melons while they’re harvesting,” he said.

The Kiss brand was launched in 2007, “and it’s really taking off in the last three years,” he said. The melons are available from early May until mid-November.