March 8, 2012
In Today's Issue:
Fresh Impact Tour Visits California, Texas

Tom Stenzel leads an engaging produce industry town hall luncheon at Monsanto's Oxnard facility.

Jeff Brechler (L) from Little Bear Produce/J & D Produce discusses how cilantro moves through the packing facility. More than 30 different greens are grown on their farm.

The 2012 Fresh Impact Tour continued this week with industry meetings and member visits in California and Texas. The town halls have provided a unique chance for the produce industry to come together and discuss food safety, labor, nutrition and the upcoming Farm Bill. The visits to farms and facilities spotlight how members are addressing these concerns and taking advantage of industry opportunities.
 
John Toner, vice president of convention & industry relations, and Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety & technology, are tackling Texas this week, covering nearly 1500 miles. The Texas tour began in McAllen on Monday with a visit to Fox Packaging. On Tuesday, the Texas Produce Association hosted a South Texas industry breakfast town hall, followed by member farm and facility visits with Rio Queen Citrus, J & D Produce and Frontera Produce.
 
On Wednesday, John and David headed to San Antonio, where they visited Fresh from Texas/Energy Sprouts and IFCO’s local facility before heading to H-E-B Produce Operations for a town hall luncheon. John and David will be in Houston on Thursday for a town hall meeting at the Houston Food Bank. The Texas Fresh Impact Tour will culminate in Dallas, the site of United Fresh 2012, with a lunch town hall meeting and visits to Hardie’s Fruit & Vegetable Company and FreshPoint.
 
Tom Stenzel, president and CEO, and Jeff Oberman, vice president of membership, kicked off the California tour on Monday with a pre-dawn tour of the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, where Westlake Produce staff led a tour of the market facility. After a visit at Sunkist Growers, it was off to Yorba Linda for a Southern California town hall luncheon, hosted by Wes Liefer of Pura Vida Farms. Click here to see video of the event. Tom and Jeff then visited with Dole Produce Company before heading north.
 
In Oxnard on Tuesday, Tom and Jeff held a second town hall luncheon at Monsanto’s Oxnard facility, followed by visits to Duda Farm Fresh Produce, Gills Onions and Catalinos Berry Farms. Tom and Jeff headed to Santa Maria on Wednesday, where they toured Bonipak’s growing operation and held a third town hall meeting. The team continues north to Salinas on Thursday, where the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California will co-host a town hall meeting. Tom and Jeff will visit Tanimura & Antle, Mann Packing and the California Strawberry Commission. The California Fresh Impact Tour will wrap up Friday in Sacramento with a town hall luncheon hosted by Raley’s and a tour of Renaissance Food Group.
 
Follow along on the United Fresh Facebook page for candid photos and insightful updates from the Fresh Impact Tour! For more information on the Fresh Impact Tour, please contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410. To see a recap of the events in the Southeast and Washington, click here.

Publix Super Markets, Produce for Kids Donation to Fund Salad Bars for 39 Southeast Schools

(L-R) Dan Vaché, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, United Fresh; Miriam Miller Wolk, Senior Director of Membership, United Fresh; Garry Bergstrom, Business Development Director, Publix Super Markets; Kim Avola, Vice President, Produce for Kids; John Shuman, President and Founder, Produce for Kids.The United Fresh Foundation is celebrating a successful collaboration with Produce for Kids and Publix Super Markets that raised funds to donate salad bars to 39 schools in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative. The largest single produce industry contribution to Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools to date will benefit more than 20,000 students. United’s Miriam Wolk, senior director of membership, and Dan Vaché, vice president of supply chain management, were present for the announcement, made by Produce for Kids founder and president, John Shuman, and vice president Kim Avola at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure 2012 Show in Tampa, March 2. Garry Bergstrom, business development director of Publix Super Markets, was also on hand to celebrate the donation.

“We are thrilled that 39 schools will receive salad bars and especially gratified that 17 salad bars will go to Miami-Dade County Public schools where just over a year ago First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools at Riverside Elementary School. This generous donation from Produce for Kids and Publix Super Markets will jump-start salad bars in Miami-Dade County Public Schools,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition.

Salad bars will also be donated to schools in Walker County in Alabama; Polk County and Union County in Florida; Troup County and Lanier County in Georgia; and the Coffee County School District in Tennessee.

“Foods that are colorful and fresh are tempting to the eyes and the taste buds,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of media & community relations. “When children are exposed to fruits and vegetables from a salad bar they are more likely to eat and enjoy them. Our goal is to help develop a love for these foods at school that can then be shared with families at home.” Publix sponsored the Produce for Kids “Healthy Schools, Healthy Minds” sales promotion this past fall in the produce departments of all their stores to benefit Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools and to increase awareness about healthy eating.

“The Produce for Kids campaigns are aimed at raising awareness about healthy eating while raising funds for worthy children’s causes,” said Kim Avola, vice president, Produce for Kids. “The Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative takes the healthy eating message directly to schools by providing kids with nutritious options and giving them the opportunity to try healthy fruits and vegetables.”

“Childhood obesity is a problem nationwide, but the Southeast has higher rates than the national average. Children’s fruit and vegetable consumption is also lower in the Southeast. We are proud to have Produce for Kids and Publix Super Markets join us in helping schools in the Southeast. These 39 salad bars will increase students’ fruit and vegetable consumption and provide healthier options at lunch,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh President and CEO. “Together with our Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools partners, more than 1,200 schools nationwide now have salad bars.”

To learn how your company can get involved, contact Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy and grassroots manager, at 202-303-3407. Schools interested in requesting salad bars can apply at www.saladbars2schools.org.

United Participates in National Ag Day Events

National Agriculture Day panel discusses the effect of technology in agriculture on the environment and economy.United Fresh staff participated in events on Capitol Hill marking the 39th anniversary of National Ag Day on March 8, which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. A series of events in Washington raised awareness of American agriculture and helped to remind citizens that agriculture is a critical part of the nation’s economy and heritage. Representatives from a variety of agricultural groups helped lead the events.

United’s Julie Manes, director of government relations, participated in a panel discussion on March 7 before an audience of young adults focused on pursuing careers in agriculture. The event, coordinated by Agriculture Future of America (AFA) and the Agriculture Council of America (ACA), was held at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Along with fellow panelists from other major agriculture entities such as Monsanto, John Deere and the American Farm Bureau, as well as former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Charlie Stenholm, Manes spoke of the need for young people in agriculture to help educate the vast majority of Americans who don’t work in agriculture about what the industry does and how it contributes to our nation’s well-being. In addition, the panel took questions on a wide variety of topics such as the Farm Bill, ways to educate urban populations about agriculture, federal regulations affecting farm labor and animal rights. The students, from across the country and representing every segment of agriculture, then made a series of visits to the offices of key policymakers in Congress.

A widely-attended panel discussion, conducted Wednesday at the Hart Senate Office Building, explored the future of food and American farming. The event organizer, U.S. Farmer & Rancher Alliance (USFRA), is leading a multi-year, national public awareness campaign to bolster public support for production agriculture. United Fresh is the only national produce industry organization that is a member of the USFRA. A recording of the event is available here.

“Research tells us that the technology utilized by modern production agriculture can create concerns among consumers,” said Ray Gilmer, United’s vice president of communications, and a member of the USFRA leadership team. “A pinnacle of the alliance strategy is to foster a constructive dialogue with lawmakers, thought leaders and consumers about the way our industry produces our food.”

At a reception following the program, Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) of the Senate Agriculture Committee praised the industry for working together on common goals and challenges. “As we continue our work on the next Farm Bill, and as we debate the serious issues discussed here today, including conservation and sustainability, new technologies and so many others, we must remember that agriculture supports 16 million American jobs,” she said. “It is one of the industries leading our nation’s economic recovery.”

United Fresh members can learn more about the benefits of this type of consumer dialogue strategy at the United Fresh 2012 show this May in Dallas. Learn more about the USFRA future of farming event, and watch a video, at fooddialogues.com.

For more information, please contact Ray Gilmer at 202-303-3425.

United Fresh to Honor Women in the Produce Industry

Past Honorees: (L-R) Lorri Koster, Mann Packing; Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald-Sweet, LLC; and Steffanie Smith, River Point Farms, LLC.

United Fresh Produce Association is now accepting nominations for an honoree to speak at the 15th annual Reception Honoring Women in Produce, Wednesday, May 2 at United Fresh 2012 in Dallas, Texas. Each year, United Fresh recognizes the contributions of all women working in the produce industry and honors one outstanding female industry leader at this reception.

“This year’s event is especially meaningful as we celebrate our 15th anniversary of this program,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “The annual reception is an opportunity to showcase the contributions of women who guide the produce industry, who are thought-leaders, role models, and opinion-drivers. We’re looking forward to welcoming back our past honorees and also celebrating the career of another outstanding leader at this year’s convention in Dallas.”

Nomination forms may be downloaded online and must be received by Wednesday, March 14.

Past honorees at the Reception Honoring Women in Produce include:

  • Tonya Antle, Tanimura & Antle
  • Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Frieda’s, Inc.
  • Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, D’Arrigo Brothers of California
  • Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission
  • Jan Fleming, Strube Celery & Vegetable Company
  • Janice Honigberg, Sun Belle, Inc.
  • Lorri Koster, Mann Packing Co.
  • Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission
  • Dr. Martha Rhodes-Roberts, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
  • Steffanie Smith, River Point Farms, LLC
  • Heather Shavey, Costco Wholesale
  • Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald-Sweet LLC
  • Rosemary Talley, Talley Farms
  • Jenney Tenney, The Kroger Company

For more information on the Reception Honoring Women in Produce, please contact United Fresh Political Affairs Manager Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

Let United Fresh Treat You to Exceptional Dining at Dallas’ Finest Restaurants

Register today for United Fresh 2012 and you’ll be automatically entered for United’s Taste of Dallas giveaway! You could win a gift certificate to one of the 50 best restaurants in Dallas!

Every Thursday through April 26, 2012, United Fresh will draw three lucky winners from the United Fresh 2012 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of Dallas’ finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor, FreshPoint Dallas. Watch for next week’s Inside United Fresh to see if you’re a winner.

Congratulations to this week’s winners! Our winners will experience one of the finest steakhouses at Chamberlain’s, flavorful and authentic dishes at Nicola’s and creative American flair at Sevy’s Grill.

  • Chamberlain’s – Keith Cox, Food City
  • Nicola’s – Jerrold Chadwick, Lancaster Food, Inc.
  • Sevy’s Grill – Matt Mandel, SunFed

Register now to be eligible to win a gift certificate to next week’s featured restaurants: Shinsei, Suze and Truluck's.


Shinsei is a traditional sushi bar with a Pan-Asian kitchen, a neighborhood gathering place with date night appeal. The food is electrifying, the décor is warm, and the experience carries an incisive artistic spin. Try the jalapeno peppers stuffed with coconut chicken, battered and fried, then served with a yellow curry dipping sauce or the crisp-fried calamari rings on a salad with hearts of palm, sliced banana and green mango dressed with cane sugar vinaigrette.


Suze is renowned for its great food, unique wine list, neighborhood appeal and cozy atmosphere. The menu has grown over years of experience to feature a unique mix of classic dishes and seasonal specialties that are guaranteed to please the discerning palate. Don’t miss the porcini pappardella pasta or the cast iron roasted salmon!


Truluck’s is a getaway for the senses. Savor the freshest crab, delight in the fresh-catch seafood menu or select tender, juicy steaks grilled to perfection. The blackened redfish Pontchartrain smothered with crawfish tails, shrimp and blue crab in a spicy piquant Creole sauce is a fabulous favorite.

New Member Welcome

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

  • Best Environmental Technologies, Provo, UT

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

Join us for events designed to grow your business.