May 09, 2013
In Today's Issue:
Produce Marketing, Business Management Councils to Launch at United Fresh 2013

Scott Danner (left), Liberty Fruit Co., is Chairman of the new Finance & Business Management Council and Roger Pepperl (right), is Chairman of the new Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council.

Two new United Fresh councils will convene for the first time at United Fresh 2013 in San Diego, May 14-16. The Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council and the Finance & Business Management Council will engage United volunteer leaders and build marketing and business value for all members.

"These two new councils will broaden the produce industry's resource base in marketing and business matters, aspects that can be key determinants of a company's success," said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. "The expertise represented by United's volunteer leaders is unrivalled, and we are looking forward to working with them to strengthen the entire industry and develop programs and services to serve our members needs."

Roger Pepperl, Stemilt Growers, will serve as Chairman of the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council, which is composed of more than 30 fresh produce marketing leaders. The Council will work to develop United programs that drive value in consumer marketing, branding, social media, point-of-sale strategies, retail partnership programs, and other merchandising components. With an overall goal to better understand and serve the end consumer who chooses fresh produce at retail stores or restaurants, the new council will bring together marketing and merchandising experts from all segments of the industry to address priority issues and enhance the sales and profitability of our industry.

The initial slate of volunteers on the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council for 2013-2014 are:

Roger Pepperl, Chairman, Stemilt Growers, LLC
Nick Bergstrom, Pero Family Farms
Jacqueline Bohmer, Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association
Chris Bartley Christian, California Strawberry Commission
Barbara Dan, Ready Pac Foods, Inc.
Lisa Davis, Edge Sales and Marketing
Julie L DeWolf, Sunkist Growers, Inc.
Tony DiNovo, DNO Inc.
Charlie Eagle, Southern Specialties, Inc.
Natalie Erlendson, Sun World International, LLC
Cindy A. Jewell, California Giant Berry Farms
Douglas Kling, Village Farms
Paul Kneeland, Kings Food Markets, Inc.
Cristie Mather, Pear Bureau Northwest
Mark Munger, MCL Fresh, Inc.
Gary Myracle, Associated Wholesale Grocers
Larry Narwold, River Ranch Fresh Foods, LLC
Scott Owens, Paramount Citrus
Jennifer Pelayo, Advantage Sales & Marketing
Audra Pura, Earthbound Farm
Robert Rinker, Fresh Link Group
Greg Robertson, Phillips Mushroom Farms
Bill Schneider, Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc.
Drew Schwartzhoff, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
Sarah Seebran, Bland Farms
Shannon Shuman, The Packer Publications
Kori Tuggle-Dinner, Ocean Mist Farms
Chris Veillon, Mastronardi Produce, LTD
Joe Watson, Rouses Markets
Mary Wright-Rana, PRO*ACT, LLC
Megan Zweig, DMA Solutions, Inc.

The Finance & Business Management Council will also hold its inaugural meeting at United Fresh 2013. Scott Danner, Liberty Fruit Co., Inc., has been selected as Chairman and will lead the council in working to provide member companies with a vetted source for information, benchmarking data, and programs to assist them in running their business operations. The council will focus on a range of business issues impacting companies such as financial and strategic planning, family business and estate transfer, financing and investment, human resources issues such as insurance and health care, and other critical business functions.

The initial slate of volunteers on the Finance & Business Management Council for 2013-2014 are:

Scott Danner, Chairman, Liberty Fruit Co., Inc.
Phillip Brooks, H. Brooks & Company
Chris Hagemann, N2N Global
Sue Hunter, Strube Celery & Vegetable Company
Robert Kershaw, Domex Superfresh Growers
Bob Kiehnle, PRO*ACT, LLC
Daniel D. Marchetti CPA, Urschel Laboratories
Rob Mumma, Belair Produce, Inc.
Steven P Ottum, Potandon Produce, LLC
Jason Pounds, Hardie's Fruit & Vegetable Company, Inc.
Toby Purse, Lipman
Loretta Radanovic, Four Seasons Family of Companies
Philip Taluban, Ocean Mist Farms
Greg Wohlleb, Bunzl, Inc.

The Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council and the Finance & Business Management Council will hold meetings at United Fresh 2013, May 14-16 in San Diego. To register for the convention, please visit

Fresh Horizons at United Fresh 2013 Are Right Around The Corner

The United Fresh 2013 show floor will be one of our busiest yet, with more than 275 exhibitors.

Next week, the industry's best and brightest will gather to build sales and profitability for the fresh produce industry in sunny San Diego at United Fresh 2013.

Discovering Fresh Horizons means stepping forward with innovative business inspirations and strong industry connections – and United Fresh 2013 has a full roster of opportunities to do just that:

  • An exciting kickoff to the week with the official United Fresh 2013 Opening Party on the USS Midway, featuring a live skydiving exhibition by former Navy SEALs.
  • More than 25 education sessions, featuring general sessions with Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb and Former Congressman Joe Scarborough.
  • A celebration of fresh produce success in school foodservice, with the official press conference for the donation of 350 salad bars from Let's Move Salad Bars to California Schools, as well as 35 school foodservice directors participating in the convention.
  • Spotlight on women leaders in the industry with the annual Women in Produce Reception with Honoree Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Enterprises, and an inspiring panel discussion.
  • Thousands of industry leaders like you who can't wait for cutting-edge education, quality networking, business success and the exciting destination of San Diego!

Register your team today at


Tell Congress Your Business Needs an Adequate Workforce to Survive

The fresh produce industry needs a viable guest worker program to survive. Take action and let Congress know that you support comprehensive immigration reform today!

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy this week. This is the first time in years Congress is poised to take meaningful action on immigration reform. United Fresh is helping lead the charge to secure a stable and legal agriculture workforce. WE NEED YOU to turn this opportunity into reality!  WE NEED YOU to join the effort to make sure Congress knows you need a viable guest worker program and it MUST PASS NOW!

United Fresh members are encouraged to take action and contact their senators today!

Fresh produce industry leaders will also have the opportunity to drive immigration reform at United Fresh 2013, May 14-16 in San Diego. A grassroots call center will be set up in the United Fresh Membership Booth with direct lines to Capitol Hill. Attendees will be able to connect with the offices of their senators and representatives and urge the passage of comprehensive immigration reform.

"Every call that our members make to their senators and representatives will have an impact," said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. "This is an opportunity to drive this landmark reform forward and it is critical that we speak up to ensure that agriculture's priorities are included in the final bill."

The dialogue will continue at The Critical Need for Labor and Immigration Reform workshop on Wednesday, May 15. Expert speakers Chalmers Carr, President, Titan Farms; and Monte Lake, Partner, CJ Lake, LLC; will join moderator Barry Bedwell, President & CEO, California Grape & Tree Fruit League, Chairman, United Fresh Government Relations Council, for a discussion of the path forward to resolve the immigration crisis. The interactive session will focus on late-breaking information on Congressional negotiations and the fresh produce industry's efforts to finally resolve this critical economic policy issue. A question and answer period will follow, where members are encouraged to join the conversation and share their perspectives on the issue. 

To take action, visit United's Grassroots Action Network Center and contact Capitol Hill today!

United Fresh Congratulates GLOBALG.A.P. on GFSI Recognition

United Fresh congratulates GLOBALG.A.P. on recognition of their Produce Safety Standard (PSS) and Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standards by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The successful completion of the benchmarking process is another step towards streamlining food safety audits for fresh fruit and vegetable producers.

"We are thrilled to see GFSI recognize GLOBALG.A.P.'s Produce Safety Standard and Integrated Farm Assurance," said Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of Food Safety and Technology. "GLOBALG.A.P. has adopted the Harmonized Standards as their National Interpretation Guideline in the U.S., a pioneering step for a GFSI-benchmarked audit organization. Because of this, we are confident that fresh produce suppliers, and buyers that are requiring their suppliers to be certified to a GFSI-benchmarked standard, will find GLOBALG.A.P.'s PSS to be a reasonable and complete food safety standard for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits."

The Produce Safety Standard (PSS) assures a credible assessment of suppliers' food safety practices. United Fresh, GLOBALG.A.P. and a broad spectrum of industry stakeholders developed the Harmonized Standards, the interpretation reference for PSS in the U.S., in a joint effort.

"United Fresh encourages all audit organizations to utilize the Harmonized Standards for their GAPs checklist. We look forward to working with GLOBALG.A.P. on the next phase of officially benchmarking the Harmonized Standards to the GFSI guidance document," said Gombas.

For more information, please contact Dr. David Gombas at 202-303-3400.


USDA Announces Specialty Crop Block Grant Funds

The Department of Agriculture has announced the availability of approximately $52 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant funds for the 2013 fiscal year to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. The funds are authorized by the extension of the 2008 Farm Bill and can be used for projects that enhance all aspects of growing and marketing specialty crops including research, plant and pest health, food safety and production.

"This program is valuable in helping the fresh produce industry remain competitive and I would encourage producers to apply," said Robert Guenther, United Fresh senior vice president of public policy. "We're working hard to ensure that these resources are included in the 2013 Farm Bill and continue to be available to our members."

State departments of agriculture or other interested stakeholders interested in obtaining grant program funds are invited to submit applications to USDA. Applications must be received no later than July 10, 2013.

For more information on Specialty Crop Block Grant Funds, please contact Robert Guenther at 202-303-3400.


Experience the California Take on French Cuisine in This Week's Taste of San Diego

Want to experience a Taste of San Diego? Register now for your chance at next week's featured restaurant: Mille Fleurs. Experience the lighter side of French with Mille Fleur's French Californian Cuisine. Nestled in the heart of the historic and charming village of Rancho Santa Fe, just four miles inland from Del Mar, Mille Fleurs offers magnificent food presentation with extraordinary French flair. Mille Fleurs has received numerous accolades including: "Top 25 in America" from Food & Wine Magazine and was quoted as "Far and away the best restaurant sampled in greater San Diego" in The New York Times. And just a mile down the road is the Chino's Family Farm where the chef heads every day to select the choicest fruits and vegetables.

Every Thursday leading up to United Fresh 2013, United will draw one lucky winner from the 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 Eric Beringer, Winnemucca Farms, this week's winner of our Taste of San Diego give away. Our winner will receive a gift certificate to dine at The Prado at Balboa Park. Set in a rich landscape among finely manicured gardens, the Prado Restaurant is located at the historic House of Hospitality in the center of San Diego's famous Balboa Park. Specializing in California cuisine, The Prado's Executive Chef Jonathan Hale presents a fusion of regional signature specialties with traditional favorites that will delight all palates.

Register today for United Fresh 2013 and you'll be entered for the final Taste of San Diego giveaway!

Taste of San Diego giveaway winners have a lot to look forward to at United Fresh 2013! We've given away gift certificates to some of the best restaurants in San Diego:

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


Last Call to Participate in Census of Agriculture
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With the window to respond to the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closing on May 31, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is urging the fresh produce industry not to miss this opportunity to be counted and help determine the future of farming in America. Conducted every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census captures a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches and those who operate them. The data is used to inform agriculture policies and secure funding for industry services, which makes fresh produce industry participation in the Census vitally important.

"United members should take advantage of the opportunity to be counted and represent the fresh produce industry," said Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of issues management & communication. "The Census is an important source of data used by federal, state and local governments, and other entities, and a strong showing can create benefits for the industry."

The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics. In 2007, U.S. farmers reported over two million farms, spanning across more than 922 million acres. This showed nearly a four percent increase in the number of U.S. farms from the previous Census in 2002. These new farms tended to have more diversified production, fewer acres, lower sales and younger operators who also worked off-farm.

The Census will close on May 31. Producers may complete their forms online. For more information about the Census, visit

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

  • Cascade Analytical, Wenatchee, WA
  • Covenant Brokerage, Boerne, TX
  • eSoftware Professionals, Portland, OR
  • Five Star Gourmet Foods, Ontario, CA
  • Gladstone Companies, McLean, VA
  • Maya Management Group LLC, Dallas, TX
  • Perricone Farms, Beaumont, CA
  • Rio Farms, King City, CA
  • SunWest Fruit Company, Parlier, CA
  • Sun Pacific Marketing, Pasadena, CA
  • United Agribusiness League, Irvine, CA

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 Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

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

Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference
May 17, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

Produce Inspection Training Program
June 3-7, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

Washington Public Policy Conference
Sept 30 – Oct 2, Washington, DC