April 17, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh Meets with Members at Town Halls in Central California

United CEO Tom Stenzel addresses a Town Hall in Visalia on Wednesday co-hosted by the California Grape & Tree Fruit League and California Citrus Mutual.

This week, CEO Tom Stenzel and Political Affairs Manager Angela Tiwari continued the United Fresh 2014 "Now Boarding for Chicago" Spring Fresh Impact Tour with Town Hall events in Central California. 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 Chairman, Ron Midyett, CEO, Apio, Inc. kicked off the week by hosting members in San Luis Obispo on Monday evening. The group discussed a wide range of topics including immigration, the 2014 midterm election and water management.

Barry Bedwell of California Grape & Tree Fruit League and Joel Nelsen of California Citrus Mutual co-hosted a Town Hall in Visalia on Wednesday. More than 70 local industry members gathered to hear an update on current industry issues from United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. Critical issues discussed included how the 2014 Farm Bill benefits fresh produce, pilots and trends in fruit and vegetable purchases in the SNAP program, children’s access to healthy options in schools, immigration and water.

Today (Thursday), Angela and Tom traveled to Salinas to meet with Jim Bogart and the Board of Grower-Shipper Association of Central California. The meeting provided an interactive forum to discuss hot-button issues that are top of mind.

Thanks to all who have attended and shared insights and opportunities to grow the fresh produce industry. 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.

Also at of this week’s tour stops, United took the opportunity to preview the business opportunities available at United Fresh 2014, June 10-13 in Chicago.

Be sure to visit the United Fresh Facebook page, where members and staff have posted updates and photos. For more information, contact Miriam Wolk, United vice president of membership & marketing, at 202-303-3410.


Top Chefs Earn Top Honors at United Fresh 2014

Seven of the country's most exciting chefs and foodservice professionals, representing an array of culinary styles and backgrounds, will be honored this June as part of the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by PRO*ACT LLC, and now in its seventh year, the program honors chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. United Fresh will formally recognize the seven winners at United Fresh 2014 in Chicago, June 10-13, 2014.

"We at PRO*ACT continue to be amazed at the creativity, vision, and dedication to fresh produce shown by the honorees in this program," said PRO*ACT President Max Yeater. "We are so proud to be a sponsor of the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards and we thank all of the nominees and chefs who work so hard to increase the consumption of healthful fresh fruits and vegetables."

The seven winners were selected from more than 130 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders reviewed each nominee's demonstrated incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of protocols for correct storage and handling of produce, leadership in produce-related community service and special events, and recognition by their company and industry peers.

"These winners have made extraordinary dishes that feature fresh fruit and vegetable mainstays on their menus and we are proud to honor them for the important role they play in showcasing our industry," said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. "We appreciate their tremendous commitment and recognize PRO*ACT's generous support in honoring these winners and their positive influence on restaurant menus across the nation."
The winning chefs, along with an executive from their company, will attend United Fresh 2014 in Chicago. All honorees will participate in a panel session, Restaurant Flavors and Trends from the Best, on Thursday, June 12 at 1:30 p.m.

The 2014 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are:

  • Business in Industry: Chef Daniel Benigno, Guckenheimer Executive Chef at TD Ameritrade, Omaha, NE
  • Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Carlito Jocson, Executive Chef, Yard House, Irvine, CA
  • Colleges & Universities: Chef Chandon Clenard, Senior Executive Chef, Stanford University Residential Dining Services, Stanford, CA
  • Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Adam Hegsted, Chef/Owner for Eat Good, Wandering Table and Yards Bruncheon, Spokane, WA
  • Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Rolf Nettesheim, Executive Chef & Food Service Director, The Palace Group, Miami, FL
  • K-12 School Foodservice: Chef Jason Morse, Executive Chef, Douglas County School District, Castle Rock, CO
  • Quick Service Restaurants: Jeff Sinelli, Founder, CEO and Chief Vibe Officer, Which Wich, Dallas, TX
For more information on the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award program, please contact Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Take Action: Viral Fundraising Campaigns Benefit Salad Bars for Midwest Schools

Interested in supporting salad bars for Midwest schools?  Check out two new viral fundraising promotions to benefit the United Fresh Foundation’s, Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools campaign:  The Tour de Fresh and a Minnesota salad bar crowdrise fundraising page.

The Tour de Fresh has 40 cyclists all raising funds to support salad bars for schools in the Midwest or other parts of the country where they have a personal connection. Individuals are encouraged to visit the Tour de Fresh rider page and make a contribution. Riders are also reaching out to friends, business colleagues, family and others in their social networks to help them achieve their salad bar fundraising goals.  

The Minnesota salad bar crowdrise fundraising page is a fun and innovative way to get friends and business colleagues to make personal contributions to support salad bars for Minnesota schools.  The idea was encouraged by United’s Minnesota salad bar co-chairs, Phil and Nina Brooks of New Brighton, Minnesota-based H. Brooks and Company, and Jason Craig, government affairs manager at C.H. Robinson, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  They’ve already shared the fundraising link with their contacts in Minnesota, but we welcome additional contributions from industry friends and colleagues. 

According to Andrew Marshall, United’s staff lead for the Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools campaign, “We’re excited about these new viral fundraising promotions. It’s a new way to engage members and we’re eager to see how the industry responds.  These viral fundraising efforts give individuals the opportunity to make a small contribution, $10, $20, $50, or more and then share notice of their donation with family and friends through social media and other channels,” added Marshall.
Salad bars are popular with students, and make it easy for schools to serve a wide variety of healthy, fresh produce.  They empower students to make their own healthy choices, and create an excitement about trying new fruits and vegetables that ultimately increases children’s daily consumption.

Companies looking to support one or more salad bars for Midwest schools are encouraged to complete United’s Midwest salad bar Pledge Form.   Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools is raising funds to support salad bars for schools in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, and highlight contributions at United Fresh 2014 in Chicago.  

For more information about supporting salad bars for Midwest schools, or schools in your community, visit www.UnitedFresh.org/saladbars or contact Andrew Marshall, (202) 303-3407.


“You’ve Got to Take this Course!” See What Produce Executives Say About the Produce Inspection Training Program

Produce industry leaders are talking about United’s Produce Inspection Training Program. The course helps them understand quality standards, inspection grading, USDA produce procedures and much more! The next program will be held June 2-6, 2014 at the USDA SCI Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, VA.

This unique five-day course includes the fundamentals of produce inspection, covering essential knowledge, terminology and practical information. The course also includes Commodity Labs, which apply the principals learned in the fundamentals course to real produce inspections. USDA experts show hands-on examination of a range of commodities, including grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes.

Visit the United Fresh website to learn more about the program. You can also watch a video and hear from participants about their experiences in the course. Click here to register online or you can download the registration form and email it to syoung@unitedfresh.org. If you have questions, feel free to contact Shannon Young at 202-303-3405.


Employers, Ready for the Affordable Care Act? United’s Webinar Can Help
An expert on compliance with the Affordable Care Act, attorney Chris Condeluci is the featured speaker for United’s April 30 webinar.

Produce industry companies of all sizes should be ready for requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Questions regarding workforce size and seasonal employment can determine if your company is subject to the “employer mandate” and required to offer an “affordable/minimum value” plan to your employees or pay a penalty tax. There are complex rules for determining whom you must offer health coverage to and what type of coverage you need to offer.

Learn your responsibilities under the ACA on this United Fresh webinar, Managing Your Responsibilities Under the Affordable Care Act, April 30 at 2 pm EDT. The webinar is offered by United’s Grower-Shipper Board and the Finance & Business Management Council. Hear from attorney Christopher Condeluci, an ACA compliance expert from the Venable law firm in Washington, DC.  Chris’ practice focuses on the ACA and its impact on stakeholders ranging from employers and private health insurance exchanges to agents/brokers and hospitals/health systems. Prior to joining Venable, Chris served as Tax and Benefits Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and participated in the development of portions of the new health care law, including the health insurance exchanges, the insurance market reforms, and all of the new taxes enacted under the law.

Register for this webinar now at the United Fresh website. The webinar is free for United members and $50 for non-members. For full more information, contact United Education Manager Shannon Young at syoung@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3405.

Enjoy the Taste of Chicago – Register for United Fresh 2014 Today

Register today for United Fresh 2014 and you'll be automatically entered for United's Taste of Chicago giveaway. You could win a gift certificate to one of the best restaurants in Chicago! 

This week’s drawing features these great Chicago restaurants: Eataly, Chicchetti and Tru.
Last week’s winners were Rachel Meyers of Produce Source Partners, John Haycox of Costco Wholesale, and Michael Riccomini of Grimmway Enterprises. Congratulations!
Every Friday through June 6, 2014, United Fresh will draw three lucky winners from the United Fresh 2014 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of Chicago's finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor Testa Produce, Inc. 

Watch for the weekly announcement from United Fresh to see if you're a winner and Register now for United Fresh 2014 for the best chance to win!


Register by Tomorrow for Hands-On HACCP Course for the Fresh-Cut Industry 

The University of Georgia Food Science Extension Outreach Program and United Fresh are sponsoring a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification program on safe fresh-cut produce handling practices. The course is offered May 6-8, 2014 at the University of Georgia in Athens.

This program has been designed for the fresh-cut industry and is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance. The goal of this program will be to provide you with the skills and knowledge to design, implement, document and maintain HACCP in your fresh-cut business. Our short course provides a unique program of lectures and work group discussions from a broad-based faculty of food microbiologists, HACCP experts, and authorities from academia, industry and government. The work group sessions provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs in fresh-cut processing plants.

This program has been designed to meet the FDA's training requirements and is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance, whose goal is to provide standardized training for the food industry in HACCP principles. The course curriculum was developed to help processors understand, develop and apply HACCP principles in their produce operations. 

Owners, plant managers, quality assurance personnel, production supervisors, field inspectors, marketing directors, and anyone responsible for designing and implementing field and fresh-cut food safety programs are encouraged to attend. 

Visit the course website for more information and to register. Prepaid registration is required by April 18, 2014. Register by April 18, 2014 - fee $550; United Fresh member registered by April 18 - fee $500 (save $50). Register three or more from the same company at the same time before April 18, 2014, and receive a $50 per person discount on the regular registration fee. Limited to 40 participants, so register early!  

New Member Welcome

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

  • Champions for Change, Sacramento, CA
  • Colormasters LLC, Albertville, AL
  • Fresh Origins, San Marcos, CA
  • Northern Fruit Co., Wenatchee, WA
  • Pam Young and Company, Salinas, 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:


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