(March 17, 2:57 p.m.) The following news items were gathered March 7 at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure 2009 Retail and Foodservice Conference & Expo in Tampa, Fla.

Beachside

Beachside Produce LLC, Guadalupe, Calif., has gotten back into the strawberry deal this season with supplies from Santa Maria, Calif., from March to November, said Steve Adlesh, director of sales and marketing.

He said the company expects to produce the albion variety from 100 acres this season in 1-, 2- and 4-pound clamshells.

Also, Beachside now offers a tag for its longstem artichokes with Universal Product Code information for easier ring at checkout.

Cameo Apple

Kevin Precht, marketing program manager for the Cameo Apple Marketing Association, Wenatchee, Wash., promoted the group’s new research, which became available in late February.

He said it shows a breakdown of Cameo apple data by nine regions of the U.S. to help retailers better position the apple in the produce department.

Chappell Farms

Chappell Farms, Barnwell, S.C., has started marketing its own fruit.

In the past, Chappell used a Hobe Sound, Fla., broker, but this summer plans to sell its own 1,500 acres of peaches, said Lynne Chappell, owner.

Chilean Fresh Fruit

The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, Sonoma, Calif., now offers best retail practices information and a booklet for pricing and promoting fresh fruit. Tom Perrett, southeast merchandising manager, said the association’s study offers sales data for all U.S. retail chains for the past two years.

C L Henderson Produce

Expanding its fresh-cut line into other fruits, C.L. Henderson Produce Co., Hendersonville, N.C., is introducing orange slices.

The grower-shipper and fresh-cut processor in early March rolled out 4.07-ounce bags for individual student consumption and 1-pound foodservice packs.

The valencia oranges are packed in single-serve bags to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s daily half-cup fruit requirement for school snack programs, said Allan Henderson, chief executive officer.

“There seems to be a lot of demand now,” he said. “School systems are looking for more of a packaged snack to be distributed in a classroom environment and not just in a cafeteria.”

Colorful Harvest

Doug Ranno, Colorful Harvest LLC’s chief operating officer and managing partner, said the company has several new products for this spring.

The Salinas, Calif.-based company added a few colors to its rainbow carrots bag, so the pack now has red, yellow, orange, tangerine and cream carrots. This April, the company plans to have traypacks for retail and 4-inch cobbettes for foodservice in its red sweet corn line, Ranno said.

DLF

DLF International Inc., Vero Beach, Fla., has introduced a 5-pound boutique box of honeybell tangelos.

Responding to retail customer requests, the citrus grower-shipper packs the fruit in a heavy cardboard box resembling a treasure chest with the words “Treasures from the Treasure Coast,” said Scott George, sales manager.

Each box holds eight or nine pieces of fruit, he said.

FPAA

The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, Nogales, Ariz., promoted its new backroom poster for retail operations. Rod Sbragia, sales manager of FoodSource Nogales, and FPAA board member, said the poster has availability and handling information and contains both English and Spanish information.

Growers Express

Growers Express LLC, Salinas, Calif., displayed its new packaging for its herb line.

Cilantro, parsley, Italian parsley and spinach are now packed in sleeve packs, similar to how flowers are packed, so there are no rubber bands or twist-ties, said marketing director Rick Osterhues. The sleeve carries a barcode, country-of-origin information and the company’s Web site, he said.

Also at the expo, Growers Express promoted its new shrink-wrap for broccoli under the Green Giant label. Osterhues said it had been available regionally for about six months, but it’s now available nationwide. The company has a 55-cent coupon for retailers who join the program.

Grimmway

Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., introduced a 5-pound resealable bag of organic shredded orange and yellow carrots for foodservice, said Mike Anspach, vice president of retail sales.

L&M

L&M Cos. Inc., Raleigh, N.C., has introduced an organic apple display table. At the show, the grower-shipper rolled out the cardboard display table that holds two boxes of fruit.

Andy Tudor, L&M’s Selah, Wash.-based director of sales, said the table was developed to help generate retail interest. Because of its portability, Tudor said retailers can place the display anywhere in their stores.

Market Fresh

Market Fresh Produce LLC, Nixa, Mo., released some new club packs for its roma tomatoes in early March.

The 5-pound high-graphic cartons were designed for warehouse stores and spot promotions for retail, said Steve Phipps, principal owner and national sales and marketing director.

Market Fresh is also rolling out a 6-pound sweet potato product in a similar club pack.

Pacific Tomato

Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd., Palmetto, Fla., has introduced a new pack for its organic tomatoes.

The grower-shipper, which markets tomatoes under the Sunripe label, has introduced a 15-pound pana pack that holds place-packed tomatoes in various configurations, including 20-, 25-, 28-, 30- and 32-count sizes.

Beau McHan, Pacific’s organic sales director, said the pack is less abrasive on tomatoes than 2-layer boxes.

Pero

Pero Vegetable Co. LLC, Delray Beach, Fla., has introduced new green bean packs.

Marketed in the FreshWrap line of wrapped vegetable packs that offer improved food safety and handling advantages, Pero has rolled out 1- and 2-pound bean packs.

The grower-shipper has also released a 1 pint pack of specialty mini sweet peppers, said Frank Pero, vice president.

Phillips

Specialty mushroom grower-shipper Phillips Mushroom Farms, Kennett Square, Pa., is adding white button mushrooms for retail to its product offerings.

Phillips is rolling out the standard 8-, 12- and 16-ounce packs from a new Warwick, Md., production farm, said Kevin Donovan, sales manager.

Rosemont

Rosemont Farms Corp., Boca Raton, Fla., has rolled out broccoli tenders. The broccoli is available in 18-count 8-ounce bunches in half-bushel bulk boxes and in 6-ounce packs, said Rebecca Burnworth, Rosemont’s food safety and new product development manager.

Russet Potato Exchange

Russet Potato Exchange, Bancroft, Wis., began offering its russet potatoes in 3- and 4-pound bags this year to give retailers different price points, said Heather Wachsmuth, account manager. She said the company also began shipping its jumbo yellow onions in 10-pound bags this year under the Biggins line.

Sholl Group

Eden Prairie, Minn.-based The Sholl Group II, which markets fresh produce under the Green Giant label, plans to begin shipping a microwaveable 12-ounce bag of red potatoes and green beans in May. Annette Burgess, project manager, said the new product is in the Steam Sauced line and contains a country herb sauce packet. She said it will be packed in five locations across the country and be available year-round.

Southern Specialties

Southern Specialties Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., has expanded its line of french beans.

In April, the specialty produce grower-shipper and importer plans to introduce a 1-pound bag of french beans under its new Today’s Gourmet line, a sister to its Southern Selects line of cut vegetables.

The line should attract shoppers interested in cooking at home items they find in restaurants, said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development.

Wayne E. Bailey

Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Chadbourn, N.C., has added purple sweet potatoes to its fresh-cut offerings through its Pembroke, N.C.-based George Foods.

Ronnie Mercer, salesman, said the grower-shipper-processer is offering the moist purple sweet potatoes in bags of sliced medallions, sticks, slabs and puree.