November 24, 2011
In Today's Issue:
A Thanksgiving Message from United Fresh President Tom Stenzel

This message was first published in the United newsletter 18 years ago, and has appeared each Thanksgiving issue since.

Today, those of us in the U.S. will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. As we pack the kids in the car and head to the airport or put the finishing touches on the house before the family arrives, we take stock of our many blessings. Every year at this time, I am reminded of how lucky we are to do what we do. We are part of the noblest and most wonderful profession in the world—feeding people across the globe with the healthiest foods on the planet.

As representatives of each point in the fresh produce supply chain, those of you who grow, cut, pack, ship, sell or serve fresh fruits and vegetables have worked all year to provide Americans with the foods that their families will enjoy this holiday season. I hope you will relax and enjoy yourselves tomorrow and take time to reflect on the important role our industry plays in providing delicious and nutritious foods for Thanksgiving and every day of the year.

The United Fresh family salutes each of you for your accomplishments and ongoing commitment to bringing that amazing bounty from our farms to tables around the world.

Best wishes for a great Thanksgiving holiday.

Tom Stenzel

AMS Webinar Addresses Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

On Thursday, December 15, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will present “Grant Opportunity: Enhancing the Competitiveness of Specialty Crops,” a free webinar on the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Trista Etzig, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Programs Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Manager, will lead the webinar, introducing participants to the program and sharing information on how industry members can apply for grant funds to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

Projects funded in the past by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program focus on marketing and promotion, education, production, research, food safety, and pest and plant health.

The one-hour webinar will begin at 2 p.m. EST, and there will be a live question and answer session following the formal webinar presentation.

More information on the webinar is available by clicking here.

2011 Foodservice Award Winner Gives Fresh Holiday Cheer from Special Truck During Annual Provo Parade of Lights

The Provo School District, led by 2011 Produce Excellence in Foodservice honoree Jenilee McComb, will march in next week’s annual Provo Parade of Lights. Representatives from Provo School District’s Child Nutrition Program will hand out fresh fruits and vegetables provided by United Fresh board member Phil Muir of Muir Copper Canyon Farms from a special truck, decorated in holiday lights and featuring recognition of McComb’s award-winning work in integrating fresh produce into menus throughout Provo schools.

The nomination period for the 2012 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards is now open and more information is available by clicking here.

Get Your Tickets Now to Salute Industry Icon Reggie Griffin!

This January, United Fresh will honor the achievements and celebrate the career of industry icon Reggie Griffin with a special golf tournament and dinner, Monday, January 23 in San Diego.

“With his retirement as corporate vice president of produce and floral merchandising procurement, Reggie punctuates a 42-year career with The Kroger Company in which he touched the lives of thousands of us in the produce industry, and helped make fresh produce a cornerstone of the retail supermarket business across the country,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.

Festivities will be held at San Diego’s historic Rancho Bernardo Inn, beginning with the Salute to Reggie Griffin golf tournament, followed by dinner.

Proceeds from the events will support the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to developing leadership skills at all levels of the industry, advancing produce safety and quality, promoting global produce industry sustainability, and increasing children's consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables for better health.

“We’re honored that Reggie has agreed for the proceeds from the event to support the Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence,” said Steve Grinstead, CEO, Pro*Act, and chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Reggie’s career has defined the word ‘leadership’, and this event will help us continue to invest in future leaders of our industry.”

More information and registration options for the Salute to Reggie Griffin are available by clicking here or contacting United’s Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3400, ext. 416.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available, with multiple recognition levels for those attending the event and those across the industry who would like to join in honoring Reggie. Please contact United’s John Toner at 202-303-3400, ext. 424.

From Grower to Retailer, Produce Inspection Course is a One-Stop Shop

To help produce industry members better understand the breadth of the produce inspection process, the United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Food Safety & Quality, will conduct three more installments of its popular Produce Inspection Training Program in 2012.

“This program provides a valuable resource to industry members throughout all sectors of the produce supply chain,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president, member services, foundation. “We continue to see many new and returning companies take advantage of the straight-forward training and practical applications that this unique course offers.”

“Through our partnership with United Fresh, these programs present a special opportunity for the government to connect with and educate the private sector,” said Robert Keeney, deputy administrator, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, USDA-AMS. “As we enter our tenth year since the program started, we’ve trained nearly 750 industry members and interest continues to remain high.”

These hands-on training sessions are executed in partnership with USDA-AMS and will be offered at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors’ Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, VA: January 9-13, May 21-25, and September 10-14.

The program is offered in two specialized courses: Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and Commodity Labs. Upon completion of both courses, attendees receive a certificate of completion from United Fresh and USDA.

The first of the two courses, Fundamentals of Produce Inspection, is a prerequisite of the Commodity Labs course and focuses on topics such as inspection essentials, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA), sampling procedures, and general market principles. The three-day Commodity Labs course takes place in the lab and applies the principals learned in the fundamentals course to real product inspections. Each Commodity Labs course will include the five most commonly requested commodities: grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes, and will be customized with additional commodities based on the attendees’ most common preferences (up to 12 in total).The following course options are available in the coming year:

  January 9-10   Fundamentals of Inspection
  January 11-13   Commodity Labs
  January 9-13   Both Courses
  May 21-22   Fundamentals of Inspection
  May 23-25   Commodity Labs
  May 21-25   Both Courses
  September 10-11   Fundamentals of Inspection
  September 12-14   Commodity Labs
  September 10-14   Both Courses

Class size is limited and attendees are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee for United Fresh members interested in the introductory course is $895, while the advanced course is $1225. If both courses are taken together, members may register at the discounted rate of $1925. If three or more colleagues from the same member company register for both courses at the same time, each will receive a $100 discount on the registration rate. For non-members, the prices are $1095, $1425 and $2325, respectively. Seminar registration fees include training seminars and all course materials.

Attendees may register for the training seminars on the United Fresh website at or by contacting Shannon Young, education manager, at 202-303-3400, ext. 405 or

PTI FYI November/December Issue Now Available

The November/December issue of the PTI FYI newsletter is available now by clicking here. In this month’s issue, PTI tackles the initial findings of PTI pilot projects and updates to best practices on case/RPC labeling and GTIN assignment strategies. Also included in the issue is news from the most recent PTI Leadership Meeting in Atlanta in October, as well as profiles of the industry volunteers behind the PTI Technology Working Group and Master Data Working Group.

The issue is available in on the PTI website in English, Spanish and French. PTI FYI will return in January 2012 with more PTI news and information.

For more information, visit

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2012 Supporters

United Fresh’s Chairman's Roundtable provides extra support for programs in government relations, food safety, nutrition policy and other areas to help grow the produce industry. We are pleased to recognize the following companies who have committed to the 2012 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Apio, Inc., Guadalupe, CA
  • Castellini Company, Newport, KY
  • Ciruli Brothers, Tubac, AZ
  • Columbine Vineyards, Delano, CA
  • Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, WA
  • North Bay Produce, Traverse City, MI
  • Rocky Produce, Detroit, MI
  • Village Farms, Eatontown, NJ
  • Wiers Farm/Dutch Maid Logistics, Willard, OH

The Chairman's Roundtable is an opportunity for United Fresh member companies to contribute above and beyond their basic dues. Roundtable members are industry leaders who set the pace in building United Fresh's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support. For more information on the Chairman’s Roundtable, please contact Senior Director of Membership Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

New Member Welcome

Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry.

  • E Foods, Altamonte Springs, FL
  • Potato Services of Michigan, Edmore, MI
  • Weis Markets, Sunbury, PA

United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the association and the produce industry. Please let us know whenever we can be of service to you. For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Jeff Oberman at 831-422-0940 or Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

Events in your area, designed to grow your business.