Delaware Agriculture focuses on inner city

The Dover-based Delaware Department of Agriculture has launched a program aimed at increasing consumption of produce and other fresh foods in inner cities.

The program — yet unnamed — is focusing specifically on Wilmington in its early stages, said Ed Kee, Delaware secretary of agriculture.


Dublin Farms adds traceability

Horntown, Va.-based vegetable grower-shipper Dublin Farms recently installed a new traceability system from RedLine Solutions, said David Hickman, Dublin Farms’ vice president.

The move was an effort to “stay current” with food-safety and traceability requirements, Hickman said.

The system provides instant traceability of all items, Hickman said.

“It has a bar code on the package that will be read when it enters a chain store’s warehouse, and this will give the actual field location where the potatoes were grown and the location of the packing shed,” he said.

Hickman said his company ships about 16.8 million pounds of potatoes yearly.

The company also is changing its 5- and 10-pound polybags to a light-blocking system this year, too, Hickman said.


Fifer Orchards makes upgrades

Wyoming, Del.-based Fifer Orchards built a new loading dock at one of its facilities this year, said Curt Fifer, sales director.

There are other changes, as well. He said the company doubled its capacity on high tunnels, in which it grows tomatoes and kale.

Fifer Orchards also is growing hard squash and sweet potatoes “in small acreage” this year, Fifer said.

The company’s growing operation also now is all irrigated with overhead or triple irrigation, Fifer said.

Among other changes, the company is getting a comprehensive GlobalG.A.P. audit this year, Fifer said. It also is doing case labeling and is now fully complaint with the Produce Traceability Initiative, with bar codes and labels on all products.

In addition, Fifer Orchards is adding trucks to strengthen its service to the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore markets, Fifer said.


Papen Farms readies for summer crops

Dover, Del.-based Papen Farms has added refrigeration to its cold storage, said Richard Papen, owner.

Papen said he also is hiring sales help for the summer season to lighten some of his workload.

The vegetable grower-shipper’s season was on track to begin around June 10 with cabbage and will run until November with a line of vegetables.


Parker Farms hires salesman

Russell Brown has joined the sales staff at Parker Farms in Oak Grove, Va.

Brown, formerly with Savage, Md.-based wholesale distributor Coastal Sunbelt, joined Parker Farms Nov. 1.

He said he had been with Coastal Sunbelt for 7½ years, in its buying department.

Brown said he has been in the produce industry for 13 years.


Sunny Valley adds Canadian blues

Glassboro, N.J.-based Sunny Valley International Inc. has added to its blueberry program with a new grower in British Columbia, said Bob Von Rohr, director of marketing and customer relations.

The deal will bring about up to 10 loads of berries per week, he said.