March 20, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh Meets with Members at Town Halls in North Carolina and Texas
Dan Edemeier and the Kingdom Fresh team hosted United for a visit at Bland Distribution Services and showcased the work they do for Walmart. James Bassetti of Little Bear Produce/J&D Produce shows off their parsley packing line to United’s Robert Guenther. United had a packed Town Hall at the McAllen Country Club co-hosted by the Texas International Produce Association with more than 60 members in attendance.

This week marked the launch of the United Fresh 2014 "Now Boarding for Chicago" Spring Fresh Impact Tour with Town Hall events in North Carolina and Texas. During the tour, United Fresh staff travel across the country to meet with members to discuss top industry issues and provide a preview of this summer's United Fresh convention, June 10-13 in Chicago.

United Fresh Board members Brian Kocher, COO, Chiquita and Randy Scott, produce category manager, Delhaize, co-hosted a Town Hall in Charlotte on Tuesday.  More than 40 local industry members visited the Chiquita corporate headquarters to hear an update on current industry issues from United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel.  Past United Board member Mark Hilton, vice president of produce and floral at nearby Harris-Teeter Supermarkets, also participated in the discussion, which covered a wide range of topics including trends in produce sales, food safety, increasing fruit and vegetable purchases in the SNAP program, GMOs, immigration reform, and more.

In Texas, more than 60 attendees participated in the McAllen Town Hall, which was hosted by Texas International Produce Association.  United’s Robert Guenther, senior vice president, public policy, and John Toner, vice president convention and industry relations, led discussion on industry issues, including the Food Safety Modernization Act and its anticipated impact on shippers, importers and transportation companies; how the 2014 Farm Bill benefits fresh produce; fresh produce trends in retail and foodservice; and a preview of business opportunities at United Fresh 2014, June 10-13 in Chicago.

Today (Thursday), Robert and John traveled to San Antonio for the Town Hall at H-E-B, and then to Dallas for a Town Hall hosted by FreshPoint. Thanks to all who have attended and shared insights and opportunities to grow the fresh produce industry.
The "Now Boarding for Chicago" Spring Fresh Impact Tour continues with stops in Ohio, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho and California.

To see a list of the upcoming Town Hall meetings, visit the United Fresh website. Be sure to visit the United Fresh Facebook page, where members and staff are posting updates and photos. Follow us online or attend a Town Hall to join in on the Now Boarding for Chicago Spring Fresh Impact Tours! For more information, contact Miriam Wolk, United vice president of membership & marketing, at 202-303-3410.


Strube, JAB Produce Educate USDA and Chicago Public Schools about Local Terminal Market
United Fresh worked with Strube and JAB Produce to organize a tour of the Chicago Wholesale Terminal Market for Chicago Public Schools foodservice buyers and USDA Farm to School leaders. Steve Serck, president of JAB Produce/Jack Keller Co., talks with USDA Farm to School National Program Director Deborah Kane while touring the Chicago Wholesale Terminal Market.

United Fresh Policy and Grassroots Manager Andrew Marshall last Thursday med with Wholesaler-Distributor Board members Lisa Strube, Strube Celery & Vegetable Company and Steve Serck, JAB Produce/Jack Keller Co, as part of a tour organized by United Fresh to educate USDA Farm to School officials and representatives from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) about the produce supply chain and the role of the wholesale terminal market in getting produce from field to fork.

USDA and CPS officials walked through the Chicago-based Strube and JAB Produce stalls and storage coolers, as well as had the opportunity to meet with and ask questions throughout the tour.   “I can’t thank Lisa and Steve enough for hosting this tour and providing an opportunity for these important stakeholders to get a behind-the-scenes look into how produce gets onto grocery store shelves, restaurants and other foodservice venues, and ultimately to consumers,” said Marshall.  “We greatly appreciate their willingness to invite us to their home base, and answer everyone’s questions with full transparency and a true passion for this unique industry.”

Attending the tour were, Deborah Kane, national director for the USDA Farm to School Program, Vanessa Zajfen, USDA Farm to School Regional Lead for the Midwest Region, as well as Leslie Fowler, director of nutrition support services for CPS and members of her procurement and nutrition education team.  Also, in attendance were representatives from new United Fresh member company, FarmLogix, which works with CPS and other Midwest school districts to provide farm-identified, locally sourced produce.

Following the tour of the terminal market, Marshall met with the CPS Foodservice team and toured a CPS high school to eat lunch with students, attend a food science class, and see the school’s impressive garden that when not covered with snow, as was the case last week, grows a variety of vegetables and herbs that occasionally are incorporated into school lunch entrees. 

After visiting with Chicago Public Schools, Marshall and the FarmLogix team travelled across town to visit Testa Produce and tour their state of the art, platinum LEED certified facility. The group met with Peter Testa and got an inside view of the innovations coming out of this leading produce company.

For more information, contact Andrew Marshall, United Fresh policy and grassroots manager,, (202) 303-3407.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Deliver Keynote Address at Joint United/FMI General Session

On June 10, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the Tuesday afternoon Joint United/FMI General Session at United Fresh 2014. Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the 67th U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service.

This conference is an opportunity to launch the co-location of United Fresh 2014 and FMI Connect in Chicago. This event will bring together members and guests of both associations. Following her keynote address, Secretary Clinton will engage in an informal question and answer discussion. Participation in the Joint General Session will only be available to attendees who are enrolled in the Convention Package or All Access Package. Visit the United Fresh 2014 website for more information about this session and the overall event.

Hear Insights on the Future of Food Retailing from Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw at United Fresh 2014

Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw will be the keynote speaker at the Opening Breakfast General Session at the United Fresh 2014 convention in Chicago this June. Crenshaw will share his views on current and future trends in the supermarket retail industry, building upon his 40 years’ experience at Publix, and his role as a member of the Board and past chairman of the Food Marketing Institute, representing all of the retail supermarket industry.

“Ed Crenshaw is an industry leader who will inspire our audience to think differently about the future of retail,” said United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel. “Ed has long championed the ‘service-oriented’ retail approach at Publix, and we are excited to hear his strategies for success and his insights into the future of food retailing.”

Crenshaw joined Publix Super Markets in 1974. Over the years, he gained experience in all areas of store operations, starting as a stock clerk in Lake Wales, Florida. In addition to serving as a store manager, his staff experience includes buying and retail operations. Publix, one of the largest supermarket chains in the country, operates more than 1,075 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The company has been honored as one of the top 100 companies to work for in America, as well as being recognized as one of America's most admired companies.

The Opening Breakfast General Session will be held Wednesday, June 11, from 8:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. in the Vista Ballroom at the McCormick Place Convention Center.  Participation in the keynote session is available only to those attendees who have purchased United’s educational package. United appreciates the support of Sunkist Growers as sponsor of this Breakfast General Session. 

United Fresh 2014 is the must-attend destination for the fresh produce industry. Co-located with FMI Connect 2014, the United Fresh show brings together the retail and fresh produce industries, offering executives unprecedented value in the opportunity to connect with customers and industry counterparts. The convention offers more than 900 exhibiting companies in 800,000 square feet of exhibits, more than 100 hours of educational programming, and extensive networking opportunities with more than 15,000 retail and produce attendees. Learn more about registration for United Fresh 2014 by visiting the show website.


FDA to Announce Extension on Proposed FSMA Food Defense Rule

FDA this week said it will soon announce a 90-day extension on the comment period for the FSMA draft rule on mitigation strategies to protect food against intentional adulteration, and the accompanying draft qualitative risk assessment. FDA’s proposed food defense rule focuses on preventing acts intended to cause widespread harm to public health and would require domestic and foreign facilities to address vulnerable processes in their operations. The proposed rule, which is required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, would require the largest food businesses to have a written food defense plan to address significant vulnerabilities in food operations.

With the 90-day extension, the comment period for both the draft rule and accompanying qualitative risk assessment documents will end June 30, 2014. FDA also is extending the comment period on the designation of high-risk foods for tracing until May 22, which provides an additional 45 days for comment. This document requests comment on the proposed methodology for determining which foods are high risk.

For more information, please contact United’s David Gombas, senior vice president, food safety and technology, at 202-303-3411. You can also visit United’s website or the FDA website for additional information on the proposed rules.

United Fresh to Honor Outstanding Women in the Industry at United Fresh 2014 Convention

United Fresh is now accepting nominations to help select an honoree to speak at the annual Reception Honoring Women in Produce, Thursday, June 12 at the United Fresh 2014 convention in Chicago. 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.

“It was an amazing experience to be awarded this honor last year,” said Lisa McNeece, 2013 Women in Produce Honoree and vice president of foodservice and industrial sales for Grimmway Enterprises Inc. “I encourage the produce industry to participate in the nomination process and recognize the many outstanding women who contribute to our industry.” 

Nomination forms may be downloaded from the United Fresh 2014 website and must be received by Thursday, March 27.
Past Women in Produce Honorees include:

Dan’l Mackey Almy, DMA Solutions, Inc.
Tonya Antle, Tanimura & Antle
Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Frieda’s Inc.
Margaret D’Arrigo , Taylor Farms, Inc.
Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission
Jan Fleming, Strube Celery & Vegetable Company
Janice Honigberg, Sun Belle, Inc.
Lorri Koster, Mann Packing Company
Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Farms
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 International
Rosemary Talley, Talley Farms
Jenney Tenney, The Kroger Company

For more information on the Reception Honoring Women in Produce, please contact Angela Tiwari, United Fresh political affairs manager, at 202-303-3416 or visit the United Fresh 2014 website.


Deadline Approaching to Apply for the United Fresh Industry Leadership Program

United Fresh is now accepting applications for the 20th class of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program. Thanks to the generous support of founding sponsor DuPont Crop Protection, United members have the opportunity to take part in this unique experience dedicated to developing future leaders of the industry. Since it was first launched in 1995, more than 200 industry members have graduated from this exclusive program.

The United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program is the only ongoing, fully paid leadership program for the produce industry. Each year, twelve fellows are selected to participate in the program which is developed around four fundamental goals: leadership development; business relationships; government and public affairs; and media and public relations.

During the year-long fellowship, participants will take part in a series of customized trips including face-to-face meetings, hands-on training with top industry experts and educators, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington and more. This year's schedule will include four trips, with the class graduating at the 2015 United Fresh Convention in Chicago.

Participation in the program is limited to 12 fellows who are selected by an Advisory Committee. The fellows are chosen from a broad cross-section of the industry to represent the breadth of the United Fresh membership. Candidates interested in applying for the 20th class can download an application at The deadline for applications is April 7, 2014.

Eligibility to participate in the program is limited to representatives of United Fresh member companies, and all candidates must have the support of their companies to participate. There is no cost to participate in the program and all regular expenses are covered by the program. For full more information, visit or contact United Education Manager Shannon Young at or 202-303-3405.

United’s March Webinar Explores the Latest Fresh Produce Trends in Restaurants

United Fresh invites industry members throughout the supply chain to sign up for the March webinar, Fresh Insights for Foodservice: Understanding Today’s Produce Trends, on March 27, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). The webinar is part of United’s 2014 Webinar Series. The webinar is hosted by the United Fresh Retail-Foodservice Board. During the one-hour event, Maeve Webster of Datassential will showcase the latest Spring trends for fresh produce in foodservice and restaurants. Maeve will share an in-depth analysis of United’s latest Fresh Insights for Foodservice report, as well as what’s hot on today’s menus.

The webinar is free for United members and only $40 for non-members. To register for the webinar, click here.

Next Generation Dieticians Visit United Fresh to Talk Nutrition Policy and Career Goals

Graduate students from the nutrition and dietetics program at Seton Hill University visited United Fresh this week to learn how the association works to shape government nutrition and health policy impacting fresh produce.  Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra discussed several case studies in shaping child nutrition and health programs, from school meals to hunger programs such as WIC and SNAP.  The group also discussed career opportunities for dietitians in public policy and the fresh produce industry.


New Member Welcome

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

  • ACC Coatings, Middlesex, NJ
  • Pro Citrus Network, Visalia, 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

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

Dallas Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
March 21, Campisi’s Restaurant, Dallas, TX

Cincinnati Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
March 25, Marquis Banquet Center, Wilder, KY

Ohio Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
March 26, 224 Varsity Club, Willard, OH

Indianapolis Town Hall Luncheon
March 27, 12255 Club Point, Fishers, IN

Fresh Insights for Foodservice: Understanding Today’s Produce Trends
March 27, Webinar

Pennsylvania Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 1, Four Seasons Family of Companies, Ephrata, PA

Philadelphia Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 2, Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, Philadelphia, PA

Seattle Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 7, Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, WA

Spring Government Relations Council Meeting
April 8-10, Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington, DC

Yakima Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 9, Gasperetti’s Gourmet Restaurant, Yakima, WA

Recall Ready Training Workshop
April 9-10, Costco Headquarters, Issaquah, WA

Visalia Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 16, The Vintage Press, Visalia, CA

Produce Inspection Training Program
Jun 2-6, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh 2014
Jun 10-13, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

2014 Washington Public Policy Conference
Sep 8-10, Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Produce Inspection Training Program
Sep 22-26, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA