January 03, 2013
In Today's Issue:
Fiscal Cliff Compromise Brings Death Tax Relief, Extends 2008 Farm Bill Provisions

Congress passed a tax compromise just in time to avoid the fiscal cliff, but the effects will be felt by the agriculture industry.

Congress averted the “fiscal cliff” with the Tuesday night passage of a massive tax measure, which included a nine-month extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. The compromise also sets a $5.12 million per-person estate tax exemption, adjusted for inflation, with a rate of 40 percent.

“The new estate tax rules give greater certainty to thousands of family-owned businesses in the produce industry,” said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. “If Congress had not acted, much higher estate taxes would have gone into effect. The confidence this move allows many business owners is definitely a victory in the bill.”

Unfortunately, the extension of the Farm Bill excludes funding for several specialty crop programs and disregards reforms made by the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee in the 2012 Farm Bill. For example, lawmakers set discretionary funding for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) at $100 million, while mandatory funding stood at $50 million in the 2012 Farm Bill. With a discretionary designation, lawmakers must still approve appropriations for the research programs.

“We are pleased to see that compromise was reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, but disappointed that the 2012 Farm Bill, which was developed with broad, bi-partisan support in the House and Senate, wasn’t passed,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president & CEO. 

“We worked very hard with key members in the House and Senate to craft a Farm Bill that was fiscally responsible and gave producers resources, such as research, that they need to remain competitive and to ensure a safe, healthful supply of fruits and vegetables,” said Guenther. “We remain steadfastly committed to reviving these programs in the Farm Bill that will be written this year in the 113th Congress.”

The Farm Bill will need to be redrafted in the coming months and reconsidered by both chambers before the September 30, 2013 deadline.

Register Today for the Best Chance to Win Free Dining in San Diego

Register Today for United Fresh 2013 and you'll be automatically entered for United's Taste of San Diego giveaway. You could win a gift certificate to one of the best restaurants in San Diego!

Every Thursday, starting today through May 2, 2013, United Fresh will draw one lucky winner from the United Fresh 2013 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of San Diego's finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor, Diversified Restaurant Systems, Inc.

“The San Diego area is not only fortunate to have fantastic weather 99% of the time, but it is also fortunate to play host to many great and innovative restaurants that attendees of United Fresh 2013 have to choose from,” said John Toner, United vice president of convention & industry relations. “Many thanks go to Mike Spinazzola and his team at Diversified Restaurant Systems, Inc. for helping us select some of the best restaurants San Diego has to offer by sponsoring this year’s Taste of San Diego!”

Congratulations to our first winner, Mike Downey, Markon Cooperative, who will dine at George’s at the Cove, a restaurant for people who believe in enjoying the San Diego lifestyle to its fullest with innovative, contemporary food at its peak of freshness.

The sooner you register, the greater your chances to win a certificate to one of these stellar restaurants:

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina
Bully’s East
Baci Ristorante
George’s at the Cove
Pamplemousse Grill
Bertrand at Mister A’s
Donovan's Steak & Chop House
The Marine Room
Poseidon on the Beach
The Prado at Balboa Park
Island Prime
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
Mille Fleurs
Ruth's Chris Steak House

Learn more about these great restaurants and how you can experience a Taste of San Diego!


Port Strike Averted, Could Trouble Produce Industry Again

The averted port strike could still have an impact on the fresh produce supply chain.

A potential strike at ports throughout the Eastern and Southern United States was averted on December 28 by an extension of contract negotiations between the International Longshoreman’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, which is the organization that represents port operators and shippers. The master contract for those ports has been under negotiation and was set to expire on December 29. While not all issues have been resolved, enough progress was made on issues such as container royalties that both sides agreed to extend the negotiations until February 6. While the Longshoremen’s Association has pledged that any possible strike would not affect perishables, there is a potential that a strike resulting from contract expiration could have a significant impact on the produce industry.

Although the strike has been averted with the extension, the supply chain remains impacted from a planning standpoint. Produce shipments are on the water for days and most times weeks prior to arrival at a US port. The East Coast and the Gulf Coast ports are vital to the nation’s trade with nearly 50% of the inbound containers are off loaded through the 14 ports. The possible impact to produce is critical in supply chain planning. Importers may assume off loading of perishables is not impacted or slowed down in any way so proceed with business as usual, or they could potentially cancel shipments or divert them to a West Coast or Canadian port. The potential talk of a port strike may make for an interrupted and tenuous supply of fresh produce that relies on ocean transport. 

United Fresh joined with other business sectors to urge President Obama to take all possible steps to avoid a strike and we will continue to work with those interested industries to monitor the contract negotiations and urge any appropriate action by lawmakers.

For more information, please contact Dan Vaché, United vice president of supply chain management, at 425-629-6271.

Miriam Wolk Promoted to Vice President of Membership & Marketing

Wolk will bring association experience to new level, spark membership engagement.

United Fresh is proud to announce the promotion of Miriam Wolk to Vice President of Membership & Marketing. In her new position, Wolk will lead marketing efforts to drive member engagement and company participation. She will also continue to direct the programs and outreach initiatives that she has successfully cultivated as senior director of membership.

“We are very lucky to have such an enthusiastic membership and marketing team,” said Tom Stenzel, United president & CEO. “Miriam has been instrumental in building unwavering relationships with our members and is perfect to lead the team forward.”

Wolk has been with United Fresh since July 2008, most recently as senior director of membership. She is an ASAE member and earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in January 2010.

“I’m excited to find new ways to engage our members with creative marketing,” said Wolk. “I look forward to directing our marketing efforts to communicate to our members that coming to events and experiencing what United Fresh has to offer is truly the value of belonging to the association.”

Celebrate a Produce Legend with Dinner and Foundation Golf Tournament

Join us in celebrating the inspiring career of Frieda Caplan in Tucson on January 28.

United Fresh will honor Frieda Rapoport Caplan with its Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals for a lifetime of achievement and for lasting contributions to the fresh produce industry. The award will be presented at the new annual Produce Legends Dinner to be held each year in conjunction with the United Winter Leadership Meetings. This year’s dinner honoring Frieda Caplan will be held on Monday, January 28 at the Loews Ventana Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Friends and associates who wish to join in honoring Frieda are invited to participate in the dinner, as well as the Foundation’s benefit golf tournament earlier that day.

“Frieda Rapoport Caplan truly embodies the essence of Lifetime Achievement in the produce industry,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “From the very beginning of her career, she epitomized the classic produce entrepreneur, always pushing forward as a progressive marketer, savvy business personality and as a leader in our industry. Frieda has not only been a longtime role model for women in produce, but also a role model for the entire industry. Come together with industry leaders as we support her contributions!”

This year’s United Fresh Foundation Golf Tournament will bring together produce buyers, sellers, suppliers and most of all, friends of the produce industry! Join us on this gem of a course for 18 holes of championship golf at one of America’s premier golf resorts. The Mountain Golf Course at Ventana Canyon is set in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains and makes use of the spectacular desert terrain while preserving the integrity of the natural environment.  All proceeds from the golf tournament will go to the United Fresh Foundation. Funds raised from last year’s event helped the Foundation sustain important initiatives, such as the salad bar campaign, and meet other important goals.

Information on golf and dinner tickets and sponsorship is available here. For more information, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

Does Your Produce Manager Deserve Special Recognition in 2013?

Display by 2012 Retail Produce Manager Award winner Leslie Alex of Hannaford Brothers in Dover, NH.

The United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Leadership Excellence, is accepting nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. Established in 2005 by founding sponsor Ready Pac Foods, Inc., the program will honor 25 outstanding retail produce managers at the United Fresh 2013 convention May 14-16 in San Diego. The deadline to submit a nomination is January 18.

The Retail Produce Manager Awards Program pays special recognition to produce managers on the front line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception, over 170 managers from more than 60 different retail banners have been honored for their commitment to customer satisfaction, innovative merchandising, produce-related community outreach, and recognition among company peers.

“We salute the incredible work of these men and women who are delivering an exceptional produce experience every day to the consumer,” said Michael Solomon, President and CEO of Ready Pac Foods, Inc. “We are proud to sponsor this program and honored to have such dedicated and talented managers showcasing the best our industry has to offer.”

This year, 25 award winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to the United Fresh 2013 convention. The winners will be honored at the Produce Celebration Dinner on Thursday, May 16, where five grand prize winners will be announced as recipients of an additional $1,000 cash prize.

Nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program may be accessed online and must be received by January 18.

Click here for more information, including selection criteria and a list of winners since 2005, or contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at syoung@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3405.

Chefs to Be Honored for Creative Fresh Produce Feats at United Fresh 2013
Welcome New Members!
The 2012 Foodservice in Excellence Awards winners shared their diverse experience with convention attendees in an education session prior to being recognized at the awards banquet.

Nominations are now being accepted for United Fresh Foundation’s 2013 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by PRO*ACT, LLC since its inception, the program honors the foodservice industry’s most innovative produce performers. The deadline to submit a nomination is January 16.

Since its launch in 2008, the program has honored 27 talented chefs and foodservice professionals for their exceptional work in incorporating fresh produce in menu development, proper food safety and handling, engaging in community outreach, and building an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce. 

In 2013, six winning chefs will be honored in each the following business categories: Business in Industry & Colleges Hotels & Healthcare Industry, Casual and Family Dining Restaurants, Fine Dining Restaurants, K-12 Foodservice, and Quick Serve Restaurants. Winners are selected by a panel of United Fresh member representatives focused on excellence in the foodservice sector. Nominations must be submitted before January 16. Nominations are accepted on the United Fresh Foundation website.

The six winning chefs and their corporate executives receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to United Fresh 2013, May 14-16 in San Diego. The winners will be honored at the Annual Chairman’s Reception & Produce Celebration Dinner and will also participate in education sessions at the convention to share their views on produce trends in foodservice. PRO*ACT will also make a donation to a charitable organization of each winner’s choice.

For more information about the award program, please visit the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program online or contact Miriam Wolk, United Fresh vice president of membership & marketing, at 202-303-3410.


An Ivy League Education for Produce Industry Professionals
Welcome New Members!
The 2012 Produce Executive Development Class completed the program with new business perspectives and valuable resources.

For the past five years, the produce industry’s best and brightest executives have converged on Cornell’s campus for a five day, transformational education experience. Now it’s your turn.

Join top executives in the industry for the 2013 United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program, March 10-15. Presented in partnership with the esteemed Cornell University Food Industry Management Program, the program blends an Ivy-League learning environment with produce industry thought leaders, making for a unique experience that will dramatically impact your career.

"While this program is designed to address the unique challenges of our industry, it doesn’t stop there,” said Brian Coates, senior produce buyer at Meijer and 2011 program graduate. “It pushes you to think beyond the industry to the larger issues impacting the business world. You walk away thinking differently about your own business, your role as a leader in the industry, and how you can effectively lead those in your company.”

During this intensive five day course, you will be exposed to the latest business trends, master skills to navigate economic challenges and learn effective tools to advance your company. The small class size of 40 attendees enables the instructors to tailor the curriculum to your specific needs, allowing for a personalized learning experience.

Tuition for the program includes five nights lodging, course instruction, materials and supplies, breakfasts, luncheons and several special dinners. For United Fresh members, the registration fee is $4,995 if booked prior to January 18. Enrollment is limited to 40 participants. Last year’s course sold-out, so interested participants are encouraged to register early.

More information on the Produce Executive Development Program is available online or by contacting Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3405.


Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2013 Supporters
Welcome New Members!

The 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 2013 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Capital City Fruit Company, Inc. Norwalk, IA
  • Renaissance Food Group, Rancho Cordova, CA
  • San Miguel Produce, Inc. Oxnard, CA
  • Syngenta, Greensboro, NC


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 Vice President of Membership & Marketing Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


New Member Welcome
Welcome New Members!

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

  • California Microbiological Consulting, Inc., Brentwood, CA
  • Enerfab, Inc., Cincinnati, OH

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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Produce Inspection Training Program
January 14-18, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh Foundation Golf Tournament & Produce Legends Dinner
January 28, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

2013 Winter Leadership Meetings
January 28-30, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

2013 Produce Executive Development Program
March 10-15, 2013, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
United Fresh 2013 
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA