March 14, 2013
In Today's Issue:
United Kicks Off Fresh Impact Tour with Chairman’s Luncheon

United CEO Tom Stenzel fields questions from members at the Fresh Impact Tour Chairman’s Kick-Off in Delano.

United Fresh kicked off a two-week California Fresh Impact Tour on March 13 with a special Chairman’s Town Hall Luncheon in Delano. Hosted by United Fresh Chairman David Krause, President of Paramount Citrus, along with California Citrus Mutual and California Grape & Tree Fruit League, attendees enjoyed a town hall luncheon at Paramount’s newly opened Cuties facility.

More than 50 attendees participated in a lively discussion of current issues facing the industry, including immigration, food safety and activities to increase produce consumption, as well as the opportunities for the industry at United' upcoming convention in San Diego May 14-16. Attendees then received a tour of Paramount's new Cuties facility, which opened this past November.

The California Tour is United's third annual Fresh Impact event, combining town hall meetings with visits to member farms and facilities. "The Fresh Impact Tours have been very valuable experiences for United and our members," said Miriam Wolk. "With our convention taking place in San Diego this May, we want to engage the California industry and encourage dialogue about some of the important issues facing the fresh produce industry, as well as our industry's opportunities for growth."

Next up, the United Fresh team will pass through the Central Valley with member visits, concluding the week with another town hall in Sacramento. Then, starting in San Francisco on March 18, the team conducts a series of town halls and member visits moving down the coastal growing areas ending the week with a breakfast town hall at the Los Angeles Wholesale Market and a luncheon town hall in San Bernardino. Stenzel will then join in the California Grape & Tree Fruit League Annual Convention, working with CEO Barry Bedwell, who also serves on the United Fresh Board and as chairman of United’s Government Relations Council. Finally, this year’s California tour ends with special events and member visits in San Diego, site of this year’s convention in May.

More information on Fresh Impact Tour locations, as well as town hall registration options, can be found on the United Fresh website.

Throughout the trip, members and staff will be posting updates and photos to the United Fresh Twitter and Facebook pages. Follow along online or attend a Town Hall to join in on the 2013 California Fresh Impact Tour!

For more information on the California Fresh Impact Tour, please contact Sophie Drayton, membership coordinator, at 202-303-3413.


United Fresh Gives Feedback on FSMA at Public FDA Hearings

Dr. David Gombas leads a discussion on the proposed rules at the Washington, DC United working groups meeting in late February.

United Fresh again gave comments at FDA’s public FSMA hearing in Chicago this week. Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology, urged a deeper examination of definitions within the proposed Preventive Controls Rule that could affect implementation and enforcement. Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy, spoke to challenges within the proposed Produce Rule and the need for an extension of the comment deadline past the May 16 deadline.

“The job is far from done,” warned Dr. Gombas. “We still have to consider issues such as the definition of a small and very small operation, and which operations should be following the Produce Safety Rule and which fall under the Preventive Controls Rule. We need a much simpler way for FDA to tell the difference and for producers to be able to clearly follow the rules.”

United’s Produce and Preventive Controls Rules Working Groups met just prior to the public FDA meeting in Chicago to continue their line-by-line analysis of the proposed rules. Both groups are close to completing the process, which will inform the comments United submits to FDA ahead of the May 16 deadline.

The next FDA public meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon March 27-28. For more information, visit or call Dr. David Gombas at 202-303-3400.

Produce Marketing & Merchandising Featured at New United Conference

Get inside the mind of today's complex consumer at United's new post-show Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference on Friday, May 17 in San Diego alongside the United Fresh 2013 convention.

United Fresh 2013 attendees are invited to attend this powerful conference to learn about trends that are influencing buying habits, and new strategies to reach consumers at multiple touch points. Educational sessions will give businesses the tools to “Know Your Market. Engage Your Consumer.”

“These expert speakers will help produce marketers, retailers and foodservice operators understand what’s making different consumers tick and how they can best serve the needs of our changing marketplace,” said Victoria Backer, senior vice president of member services.  

The day-long event will give powerful insight on where food dollars are spent and thought-provoking research on marketplace trends.  Highlights from the conference include:

  • Inside Today’s Consumer
    Speaker: Michael Sansolo, President, Sansolo Solutions
  • Multi-Cultural Marketing & Merchandising
    Speaker: Terry Soto, President and CEO, About Marketing Solutions, Inc
  • The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture
    Speaker: June Jo Lee, Vice-President, Strategic Insights, Hartman Group
  • Networking Lunch: Strategies to Enhance Produce Marketing & Merchandising Skills and Knowledge
    Hosted by Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director for Stemilt Growers and Chairman of United's Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council.
  • Retail Merchandising Strategies that Engage Customers
    Speaker: Harold Lloyd, Harold Lloyd Presents
  • Who’s the Next Buyer?
    Speaker: Darren Seifer, Food & Beverage Industry Analyst, NPD Group
  • All Things Fresh – Riding the Wave
    Speaker: Kelli Beckel, Senior Marketing Manager, Nielsen Perishables Group

The All Access Pass to United Fresh 2013 includes access to the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference, as well as all of the United Fresh education sessions and networking events. Early registration packages are available through April 1. Register today!


7th Annual Produce Executive Course Sells Out, United to Debut New Alumni Program

Attendees at the sold-out 2013 produce Executive Development Program peruse a fruit display on a class field trip to Aldis in Ithaca, NY.

This week kicked off the seventh annual United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program, with the sold-out course taking place on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York.  Executives from throughout the industry have gathered for this five-day program designed to sharpen their skills as business leaders.

Since the program was first launched in 2007, over 250 industry members have taken part in this week-long executive educational course, hosted in partnership the Cornell University Food Industry Management Program and the United Fresh Foundation.

To serve the growing number of program alumni, United has announced the launch of a new Produce Executive Development Alumni Program that will take place at United Fresh 2013 in San Diego. The exclusive event is open to program graduates and will feature an Executive Education Seminar and a Networking Reception on May 14.

“Continuing education and staying connected are two of the most common requests we’ve heard from the program graduates,” said Victoria Backer, senior vice president of member services, foundation. “Leadership isn’t static. It’s constantly evolving and we’re pleased to provide an opportunity for these executives to continue to enhance their professional development and strengthen their network.”

The 2013 Executive Alumni Program will include an educational seminar on “The Shifting Leadership Paradigm” led by Cornell’s Bill Drake, Director of Executive Education and Michael Hostetler from the Johnson Graduate School of Management.  The session will address how executives must constantly adapt their leadership skills to meet today’s unique industry challenges. The program will be followed by a networking reception. 

This program is designed exclusively for and open to the graduates of the United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is required by April 30, 2013. To RSVP, please contact Shannon Young, education manager, at or 202-303-3405.


Honest Dishes From Scratch Give a Comforting Taste of San Diego

Want to experience a Taste of San Diego? Register now for your chance at next week’s featured restaurant: Prepkitchen. The restaurant takes a “back to the future” approach to cooking by working with seasonal and farm to table products and makes most of our food from scratch; the way it used to be, they way it ought to be. Since first opening its doors, Prepkitchen has grown into a quintessential neighborhood spot serving great seasonal comfort food in a relaxed environment. Don’t miss the Grilled Pork Chop with grits, mustard greens and bourbon pork jus or the WNL Burger topped with gruyere, cured bacon, caramelized onions and a farm egg.

Every Thursday 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.

Congratulations to Jim Thomas, Darden, this week’s winner of our Taste of San Diego give away. Mr. Thomas will receive a gift certificate to dine at Donovan’s Steak & Chop House. Donovan's sets the standard of fine dining excellence as a classic steakhouse with a stylish, lively atmosphere where USDA Prime Steaks reign supreme. The menu is complimented by a wine selection that has earned the prestigious Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.

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!

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

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

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


Food City Donates Salad Bars to Help Local Students Increase Fruit & Vegetable Consumption

Check presentation at Abingdon High School: (L-R) Haskel Bledsoe, Food City District Manager, Mike Tipton, Food City Director of Produce Operations Francine Ivery, School Nutrition Manager, Chad Wallace, Principal, and Steve Smith, Food City President & CEO.

Food City, K-VA-T Food Stores, has joined the movement to create healthier school food environments, donating five salad bars to schools in Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in conjunction with the United Fresh Foundation and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. At presentation ceremonies last week at Abingdon High School in Virginia, and the local Food City store in Johnson City, TN, Steven Smith, president and CEO of the Virginia-based retailer, was joined by students, foodservice directors, and school officials to celebrate these donations and demonstrate Food City’s commitment to the children in the communities they serve.

“Food City is excited to partner with United Fresh to make possible the donation of numerous salad bars throughout our region,” said Smith. “This is an exciting program that benefits everyone - the schools, the produce industry, the parents and most importantly our children.”

The schools receiving salad bars span the Food City market area, and include Liberty Bell Middle School and Science Hill High School of Johnson City, TN, Cumberland County High School in Crossville, TN, Perry County Central High School in Hazard, KY, and Abingdon High School of Abingdon, VA.

“Every salad bar donation assists schools in achieving their goal to create a healthier food environment for students. The salad bars help create added excitement amongst students, teaching them to select a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables each day” explained Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition & health.

United Fresh is a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, which supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation by providing salad bars to schools across the country. For more information about Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools,, visit or contact Andrew Marshall, policy & grassroots manager, at 202-303-3407.


Dressings and Sauces Industry Donates Salad Bar to Metro Atlanta Elementary School

A student at Craig Elementary cuts the ceremonial ribbon to announce the opening of the school’s new salad bar, donated by the Association for Dressings & Sauces.

In collaboration with the United Fresh Foundation, the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) is supporting Gwinnett County Public Schools School Nutrition Program efforts to enhance the healthy meal options available to students. ADS donated a salad bar to Craig Elementary School in Lawrenceville, Georgia, as part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, and hosted a grand opening celebration on March 5 at the school.

“Craig Elementary students are taught about healthy lifestyle choices, including exercise and nutrition, in addition to their regular curriculum,” said Angie Wright, Craig Elementary principal. “The students are truly excited to have a salad bar and are gaining exposure to vegetables they may not have previously sampled. We are grateful to ADS for making this salad bar possible.”

Craig Elementary is the twelfth school in Gwinnett County to receive a salad bar and serves more than 1,000 students in grades kindergarten through five.

“ADS strongly supports increased consumption of fruits and vegetables,” said Jeannie Milewski, ADS Executive Director. “The donation of this salad bar allows ADS to support the National Nutrition Month and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiatives and continue educating the public about healthy living, including the healthfulness of salad dressings and condiments. ADS appreciates the opportunity to give back to the local community and positively impact the lives of future generations.” Students will now have a lot of variety and choices available helping them to more easily make healthy selections.

Lets Move Salad Bars to Schools is a comprehensive public health initiative to provide salad bars to schools across the country in order to increase children’s consumption of a wide variety fruits and vegetables every day. The programsupports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! initiative to end childhood obesity in a generation. To date, the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools has awarded salad bars to more than 2,200 schools across the country, reaching over 1 million students.

For more information about Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, visit, or to learn how you can support salad bars for schools in your community, contact Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy and grassroots manager, at 202-303-3407.


Reminder: 2013 Produce Industry Compensation Survey Now Open

The 2013 Produce Industry Compensation Survey, a project of the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence, is now open! The data collected will be published in an expansive research report that will assist produce industry employers in understanding critical compensation benchmarks. Any U.S. or Canadian-based produce industry employers, including grower-shippers, brokers, wholesaler-distributors, importers, exporters and fresh-cut processors, are invited to respond ahead of the April 5 deadline. The final research report will be available for purchase at United Fresh 2013, the association’s annual convention and expo, May 14-16 in San Diego.

The compensation survey, which was first released in 2011, has been updated based on input from the United Fresh Market Segment Boards, including the addition of three new positions, Regional Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, and Manager of Food Safety/Quality Assurance. Additional enhancements will include job descriptions, an expanded section on employee benefit practices, and the report is now open to produce companies operating in the U.S. or Canada.

Prepared by expert research firm Industry Insights in partnership with the United Fresh Foundation, this confidential survey measures compensation and benefits for 33 full-time positions within the produce industry. Data will be collected from U.S. and Canadian-based produce companies on a range of positions, including Sales & Marketing, Production & Operations, Quality Control & Assurance, Finance & Accounting and Executives.

The results from the survey will be published later this spring in a detailed research report. The report will allow produce companies to directly compare their salaries and benefits for full-time positions across multiple business sectors, as well as by ownership type (family, private, public), type of business, produce sales volume, number of full-time employees and geography. The new data will also show important shifts since the report was first published two years ago.

“Our economy has changed tremendously since we first launched this survey in 2011,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation. “This year’s compensation tool will help our members understand the current industry landscape, so they can ensure their competiveness in the marketplace. And with healthcare costs a major factor for produce employers, the data from this survey will provide a deeper understanding about current expenditures and benefit practices.”

The survey is available at Companies that participate in submitting data for the survey are eligible to receive a fully-customized report for their company at a deeply discounted rate of $195. Non-survey participants can order a survey report for $495 for United Fresh members and $695 for non-members. For more information on the survey, please contact Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400, ext. 408.

United Fresh Member David Larkin Highlights Role of Packaging in Delivering Safe Produce

Since 2002, David Larkin has been offering solutions that help people and companies become more successful, and has been ever mindful of the role that food safety plays in meeting that goal. As General Manager of Giro Pack, Inc., David has established the company as a force to be reckoned with in the domestic market and has incorporated food safety and traceability as key priorities. This focus and more than 20 year involvement in United Fresh make him an example of the thousands of industry leaders who are members of United Fresh and are working together towards a stronger industry. He is the latest in a series of members to be profiled and featured on our homepage. If you know David, you know United.

Based in Georgia, Giro Pack offers net packaging items that are consistent with FDA standards and consider the interrelatedness of traceability, allowing the ability to print traceability information on each package. “We also equip our bags with extra measures to protect food safety,” David explained. “Our sealing indicates if it has been opened, to protect our packers from someone swapping produce from one bag to another or mixing product from other lot numbers that could possibility be contaminated. As the industry continues to deal with issues of contaminated produce retailers will continue to see value in our packaging options and I see the industry being progressive to improve checks and balances.”

To read more about David’s industry involvement and his work at Giro Pack, continue reading his profile here. For perspectives from other industry leaders, click here.


Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2013 Supporters
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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:

  • organicgirl, Salinas, CA
  • Pro*Act, LLC, Monterey, CA

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

  • Agroponiente Natural Produce, S.L.
  • Griffin Ranches, Inc., Somerton, AZ
  • Huxtables Kitchen, Vermon, CA
  • Marathon Products, Inc., San Leandro, CA
  • Onion Crunch Inc., West Palm Beach, FL
  • Rousseau Farming Company, Tolleson, AZ

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 831-600-8922 or Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Sacramento Fresh Impact Town Hall
March 15, Offices of Downey Brand & Seymour, Sacramento, CA

San Francisco Fresh Impact Town Hall
March 18, San Francisco, CA

Salinas Fresh Impact Town Hall
March 19, Grower-Shipper Assoc. of Central CA, Salinas, CA

Santa Maria Fresh Impact Town Hall
March 20, Santa Maria, CA

Impact of FSMA and the Produce Rule at Retail Webinar
March 20, Online

Oxnard Fresh Impact Town Hall
March 21, Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard, CA

Los Angeles Fresh Impact Town Hall
March 22, Near LA Produce Market, Los Angeles, CA

San Bernadino Fresh Impact Town Hall
March 22, Hilton San Bernadino, San Bernadino, CA

San Diego Fresh Impact Special Events
March 26, San Diego, CA

United Fresh 2013 
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA