Limes Are Cheaper Just in Time for Cinco De Mayo. Avocados, Too

Limes Are Cheaper Just in Time for Cinco De Mayo. Avocados, Too

Limes Are Cheaper Just in Time for Cinco De Mayo. Avocados, Too

May 3, 2018

Lime supplies are picking up just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

After several months of higher-than-normal prices and some supply shortages, the market has eased amid improving crop weather, according to Stephanie Fyle, an Atlanta-based executive vice president of procurement at Produce Alliance, which provides fresh food to food-service clients.

That’s good news for shoppers looking to squeeze the fruit into margaritas or flavor guacamole for the May 5 holiday. The date of the Mexican Army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 has become a broader celebration of Mexican-American culture in the U.S.

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Nékter Juice Bar Aligns with Produce Alliance

Nékter Juice Bar Aligns with Produce Alliance

Nékter Juice Bar Aligns with Produce Alliance

May 1, 2018

Nékter Juice Bar, the pioneering champion of the fresh and clean juice bar movement, has partnered with Produce Alliance to ensure the procurement and delivery of the freshest and most local produce to each of its 100-plus restaurants that now span the country from California to North Carolina. Through a network of more than 50 specialty distributors of fresh produce, the partnership will bolster Nékter’s procurement, national distribution and food safety assurance programs as the juice bar concept quadruples its footprint over the next few years.

“Restaurant brands that deliver transparency, ingredient quality and authenticity like Nékter Juice Bar will win the hearts and loyalty of the American consumer,” says Steve Schulze, co-founder, and CEO, Nékter Juice Bar. “Nékter continues to be a trailblazer in the fresh and clean juice bar movement, and as we grow, our partnership with Produce Alliance allows us to maintain our high standards and provide our guests with the freshest ingredients from growers across the country. Essentially, fresh will always be in season at Nékter Juice Bar no matter what the part of the country you live in.

“Produce Alliance is tremendously excited to team up with Nékter!,” says George Melshenker, owner and president of Produce Alliance, LLC. “We hope we can help them further achieve their goals of a fresh, healthy and active lifestyle within the United States and beyond. Their brand is attributed to a great option for today’s culture and Produce Alliance is really thrilled to be a partner to such a great brand. We are thankful for today’s business with them and tomorrow’s growth.”

According to Schulze, Nékter and Produce Alliance share common goals and core values around ingredient integrity and transparency. “As we grow, we will not compromise our standards, and will always seek innovative solutions and like-minded partners that will continue to set the industry standard,” continues Schulze.

Source

Industry Outreach: Acuity Agriculture

Industry Outreach: Acuity Agriculture

Industry Outreach: Acuity Agriculture

Creating a robust farm data solution at a lower price

Acuity Agriculture’s advanced wireless sensor technology collects field condition data you can access anytime from a dashboard on your device to better understand the needs of your crop.

Produce Alliance recently held a Q&A  with co-founders, Steve Dodge and Jon Zhang, about how they started, what they’re doing right now, and where they see the company going.

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How does this technology start/come to fruition?

We designed and built hardware to collect data and communicate as a team across all areas of farming operations including; soil moisture, dendrometers, water pressure, salinity, climate, inventory, and more.

To visualize this data, we created a digital dashboard interface that growers can access from any device.

Where does Acuity Agriculture see this level of technology changing the industry and best practices?

The Acuity Agriculture system allows growers to save time by discarding an outdated, manual data collection process by replacing it with a flexible, robust, real-time system. 

Growers can now access their data anytime, anywhere through our digital interface. They can review crop history, operations history, communicate in one place, and make more accurate decisions. 

 
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So, What’s Next? 

We’re in the process of designing new data visualization features on our dashboard and hardware to compliment our current platform. 

Our goal is to continue empowering growers by creating systems that can further optimize operational workflow and resources. We’re also conscious of our ability to impact the environment through farming technology.


If you're interested in learning more about Acuity Agriculture, please contact us. We'd love to hear from you.

Acuity Agriculture
1661 Tennessee St #2i
San Francisco, CA
94107

info@acuityagriculture.com

San Francisco: 415.200.3760

Celebrate Spring! A Get Fresh Grand Tasting Event!

Celebrate Spring! A Get Fresh Grand Tasting Event!

Celebrate Spring! A Get Fresh Grand Tasting Event!

Congratulations to the team at Get Fresh Produce for an amazing inaugural “Celebrate Spring! A Get Fresh Grand Tasting Event!” 

The room buzzed all afternoon as chefs and Get Fresh vendors connected, discussed culinary innovation, and tasted incredible product for future menu implementation. 

Our Produce Alliance team was more than happy to attend and lend our own culinary expertise. PA’s corporate chef, Chef Steph, created two dishes spotlighting Get Fresh Produce’s own line of Just Cut products. 

Get Fresh Produce’s Just Cut company provides precut and prepackaged produce in state-of-art breathable laser perforated bags and antimicrobial pads in trays for the best in freshness and shelf life. 

Using Just Cut products not only reduces food safety concerns and labor and food costs, but they have shown a 100% yield on manageable portion control, require less equipment, and reduce risk or injury in the workplace.

Hear what PA’s Chef Steph had to say about working with the product, and view the featured Just Cut product dishes below!

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Chilled Fennel and Mango Velouté with Goat Cheese and Pistachio Crumble

Just Cut products: Diced Mango, Shredded Fennel

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Golden Beet Caviar with Labneh, Za'atar, and Pickled Daikon

Just Cut products: Diced Golden Beets, Shredded Daikon Radish

Produce Alliance's Executive Vice President of Sales Joins Freight Farms Advisory Board

Produce Alliance's Executive Vice President of Sales Joins Freight Farms Advisory Board

Produce Alliance's EVP of Sales Joins Freight Farms Advisory Board

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Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, Executive Vice President of Sales for Produce Alliance, has joined the Freight Farms Advisory Board.

Freight Farms manufactures the Leafy Green Machine™ container farm, which is capable of growing 100 lbs. of produce per week in any climate or location, and develops the farmhand® software platform for hydroponic growers.

Ms. Ackerman has become a key member of management at Produce Alliance, leading PA, its distributors and its customers in new and innovative directions.  Under her leadership, PA leveraged technology and developed relationships to create boosted sales and creative new programming directions for both existing and new customers.  Ms. Ackerman’s next-generation thinking has also brought PA’s focus more clearly in line with current trends promoting healthful, sustainable, and simple eating. 

When asked about why her role with Freight Farms meshed so well with her vision for Produce Alliance, Ms. Ackerman said,

“Our commitment to sustainability and technological innovation drives so many of the newer initiatives we undertake at PA.  Freight Farms’ technology speaks directly to an ongoing theme are seeing across all markets; a deep interest in promoting local sustainable sources of produce. Freight Farms’ technology provides an easily obtainable, affordable way for communities and businesses to reap the benefits of hyperlocal eating,” 

Ms. Ackerman looks forward to bringing her excitement about the intersection of technology and sustainability to the Freight Farms’ advisory board.

Click here to read the full article on the newest additions to the Freight Farms advisory boards.

Yuma Growing Season Flourishes

Yuma Growing Season Flourishes

Yuma Growing Season Flourishes

Produce Alliance Visits GreenGate Fields and Facilities

This month, the Produce Alliance team traveled to Yuma County in Arizona, the nation’s third largest vegetable producer and the winter lettuce capital of the world, visiting the fields and facilities of our partners at GreenGate Fresh

Each fall as the seasons begin to change, growers transition crops from Salinas, CA to Yuma, AZ to ensure consistent quality and customer satisfaction. According to past agricultural statistics, Yuma County produces up to 50,000 acres each of head lettuce and romaine, about 12,000 acres of broccoli, 3,500 acres of cauliflower, 6,800 acres of spinach and 3,000 acres of other vegetables yearly. 

Yuma is also Arizona’s top producer of lemons, tangelos, and tangerines, and leads in watermelon and cantaloupe cultivation. It takes approximately 45,000 workers to harvest the fields and work in the nine salad plants that produce bagged salad mixes. During peak production months, it’s said that each of those plants processes more than two million pounds of lettuce per day.

Click here to read more on Yuma County and America’s winter vegetable capital.

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Thank you so much to everyone at GreenGate for touring us through their gorgeous cabbage and lettuce fields and facilities! As always, Produce Alliance is your source for insider coverage, market updates, and produce expertise all the way from field to fork. 

For weekly produce updates straight from the fields and our PA procurement team, click the link below to access the official PA Market Report, distributed every Thursday with full market briefings.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. They manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

More Foodservice Leaders Step Up to Bring Resources to California Firefighter

More Foodservice Leaders Step Up to Bring Resources to California Firefighter

More Foodservice Leaders Step Up to Bring Resources to California Firefighter

 Becky Hinkley, Honey Bear Tree Fruit & Vathina Jarvis, Produce Alliance

Becky Hinkley, Honey Bear Tree Fruit & Vathina Jarvis, Produce Alliance

As firefighters in the Southern California region continue to fight some of the most aggressive wildfires in California history, Produce Alliance and other members of the foodservice industry are following the lead of PA Member West Central Food Service by stepping up to lend a hand.

Michael Dodo, owner of West Central Food Service, recently began a campaign organizing deliveries of food, water, and supplies to over 700 firefighters battling blazes all over Southern California.

"It's astronomical what they are doing," Dodo says in the Los Angeles Patch. "They are running to danger, putting themselves at risk. Helping them is something that we have to do."

From there, news of Dodo’s campaign spread, inspiring Produce Alliance to rally troops and help contribute to the cause.

After finding the right combination of growers, freight brokers, and trucks, the Produce Alliance team was not only able to successfully deliver supplies, but the growers, packers, and shippers that stepped up responded tremendously when they heard shipments were going to firefighter teams.

“Honey Bear Tree Fruit not only gave four pallets of apples, but they called on Smitten variety apple growers and packers to give a premium specialty variety,” explains Nate Montgomery, Senior Procurement Specialist of Produce Alliance. “And when A1 Transportation and Chinook Transportation heard part of the order was for the firefighters, they dropped their rate by $600.”

“Each contributed to helping their neighbor, and each deserves to be given the honor that is due. They all helped to give needed resources to the brave men and women that are fighting to keep the people in Southern California safe.”

Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. They manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Produce Alliance's Corporate Chef Wins entegra Culinary Competition

Produce Alliance's Corporate Chef Wins entegra Culinary Competition

Produce Alliance's Corporate Chef Wins entegra Culinary Competition

On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, Produce Alliance attended the annual 2017 Focus Group Meetings presented by entegra Procurement Services. The event gathered foodservice industry leaders from across the country to discuss ways to promote healthier lifestyles using produce within the healthcare, hospitality, and other various service industries.

During the session, a culinary competition took place prompting participants to supplement plant-based foods for meat products in a series of 3 recipes.

We are proud to announce that Produce Alliance’s very own corporate chef, Stephanie Goldfarb, took home first place for her innovative recipes!

Accompanied by fellow Produce Alliance team members, Chef Steph prepared a Butternut Squash Noodle Puttanesca with Crunchy Pistachio Crumble, a Sweet and Earthy Harvest Wrap, and Spicy Butternut Squash Tacos with a pickled brussels sprout slaw, chipotle crema, and pumpkin seeds. The award-winning recipes are featured below. 

Huge congratulations to Chef Steph on her well-earned victory!

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Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.


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Butternut Squash Noodle Puttanesca with Crunchy Pistachio Crumble

Ingredients

  • 9 lb vine tomatoes
  • 3 tsp salt, divided
  • 3 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 6 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbs melted unsalted butter
  • 3tbs garlic powder
  • 15 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbs chili flakes
  • 9 anchovy fillets
  • 6tbs capers
  • 2 ½ cup low salt vegetable broth
  • Juice and zest from 2lemons
  • 30 oz fresh spiralized butternut squash
  • 3 can drained chickpeas
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 ½ cup fresh ricotta cheese (whole milk preferably)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cute the tomatoes into wedges, toss with half the salt, half the olive oil, and the cracked black pepper. Arrange tomato wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet, careful not to over-crown the pan, and roast for an hour, or until the tomatoes appear deeply caramelized and slightly dehydrated. Set aside.

While the tomatoes roast, process the pistachios, panko, butter, and garlic powder in a food processer, and spread the mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast in the oven along with the tomatoes for about 15 minutes, or until the mix becomes fragrant and dark in color. Set aside.

When the tomatoes are done roasting, process them in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender until they are almost completely pulverized. Set aside. Heat a large skillet with the other half of the oil, and fry the garlic, chili flakes, anchovies, and capers until slightly browned. Allow the anchovies to disintegrate in the mixture. Add the vegetable broth, lemon juice, and the tomatoes to the pan. Add the butternut squash noodles, stir to coat them in the sauce, and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid for 5-6 minutes, or until the noodles begin to soften slightly. Remove the cover from the pan, add the chickpeas, and toss. Taste the noodles and check for seasoning. Top with dollops of the ricotta cheese, torn basil leaves, and finish with the pistachio breadcrumbs.


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Sweet and Earthy Harvest Wrap

Ingredients

  • 6 small sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 6 tsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp salt divided
  • 3tsp cracked black pepper
  • 6 tsp ground garam masala
  • 3 cup dried figs, dried stems removed
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 3 tbs yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 3 cup fresh fennel, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cup white vinegar
  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 3 large tomato, sliced
  • 3 cup fresh mozzarella
  • 12 Rich’s Grilled Flats

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Slice the sweet potatoes into ½ inch discs, toss with olive oil, 3 tsp salt, black pepper, and the garam masala. Arrange the discs on a parchment-lined sheet tray, and roast for 35-40 minutes, or until they become tender and slightly caramelized.

Boil 1 cup of water with the rest of the salt, the sugar, and the vinegar. Pour the mix over the onions and fennel, and allow to sit, uncovered for at least 30 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes roast and the onions and fennel pickle, add the figs, orange juice, and mustard seeds to a small pot. Add enough water to ensure the figs are sitting in around a ½ inch of liquid. Bring the pot up to simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the figs become tender. Allow the pot to sit, covered and off the heat for another few minutes so the figs become entirely tender. Process the mixture until it is completely smooth and set aside.

Assemble the wraps: Spread each wrap with a few dollops of the fig jam, and layer each with roasted sweet potatoes, fresh tomatoes, a bit of mozzarella, fresh greens, and the pickled onion and fennel mix.


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Spicy Butternut Squash Tacos 

Ingredients

For the squash:

  • 3 medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced into ¾-inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp black pepper

Pickled Brussels:

  • 3 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 6 tsp granulated sugar
  • 6 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup julienned radish, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, both green and white parts
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice, to taste
  • 3 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

For the crema:

  • 1 ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Garnish and Assembly:

  • 1 cup raw, minced onion
  • 3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 avocado, sliced
  • 2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped
  • Corn tortillas 

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cubed butternut in enough olive oil to lightly coat all sides, about 6 tablespoons. Sprinkle with 3 teaspoon chili pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the butternut in a single layer. Bake until the butternut is tender throughout and caramelized on the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway.

While the squash roasts, assemble to slaw. Boil the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour the mix over the Brussels sprouts, and allow to sit, uncovered for at least 30 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the black beans, radish, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt. Toss to combine, then taste and add additional lime juice and/or salt if necessary. Drain the brussels sprouts once they are nicely pickled, and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Allow to cool in the refrigerator.

To make the crema: Process all the ingredients together and taste for seasoning.

To warm the tortillas: In a small skillet over medium heat, warm each tortilla on both sides before transferring to a plate and covering with a lint-free towel to keep warm. Repeat with each tortilla, stacking each warmed tortilla on the last.

Assemble: Toast the corn tortillas, and layer each with the butternut squash, slaw, crema, pumpkin seeds, avocado, onions, and cilantro.

Produce Alliance’s SVP of Business Development Joins Forbes Councils Board

Produce Alliance’s SVP of Business Development Joins Forbes Councils Board

Produce Alliance’s SVP of Business Development
Joins Forbes Councils Board

Forbes and YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council), two iconic, world-class organizations, have partnered to create an unique community of professional innovators.  The Forbes Councils Board, an invitation-only circle of entrepreneurs across all areas of industry, centers on the idea of bringing together inventive and ambitious minds, and giving them best-in-class resources and unprecedented tools to facilitate productive relationship building, thinktank-like collaboration, and ultimately, the next generation of market trend development.  Produce Alliance is proud to announce that Tyler Deutsch, our Senior Vice President of Business Development, has been asked to join as a member of the board of Forbes Councils.

Tyler launched his career with Produce Alliance in December of 2010 as a Client Support Specialist in the Nashville office. Over his 7+ years with PA, he has seen and helped the company grow exponentially. From Client Specialist to Customer Account Manager, Tyler has grown from an eager student of the industry into an invaluable member and leader of the Produce Alliance Business Development team.  Through his hands on industry knowledge and second to none business acumen, Tyler has formed unique partnerships with some of the largest national restaurant and hospitality brands in the world.

When asked about the invitation to be part of the Forbes Councils, Tyler expressed his gratitude saying, “The opportunity to become a member of the Forbes Business Development Council is a true honor. The chance to meet other business developers from different industries from all over the country is an amazing privilege and educational experience. I am very flattered and humbled to be asked to be a part of such an organization. I look forward to learning and contributing to all the organization has to offer.” 

Tyler is currently SVP of Business Development in the PA Chicago office, and works closely with all departments of Produce Alliance to help bring ongoing solutions, collaborations, and innovation to national produce programs and foodservice partners across the country. 

FDA Launches New Food Safety Software

FDA Launches New Food Safety Software

FDA Launches New Food Safety Software

Have you heard the news? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has unveiled their new, cost-efficient Food Safety Plan Builder (FSPB) to help guide businesses in creating customized food safety plans and comply with FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements.

With this Food Safety Plan Builder, more and more business will be provided the tools they need to identify potential hazards, and put preventative measures in place to reduce and/or prevent those issues.

The software is free to use, and according to the FDA, “strictly optional on the part of the user.” This essentially means that although the tool correlates with existing guidance and regulations, “use of the Food Safety Plan Builder by owners and operators of food facilities does not mean that their food safety plan, preventive controls, good manufacturing practices and other food safety procedures are approved by FDA or comply with FDA requirements.”

The following sections are accessible when using the Food Safety Plan Builder:

  • Facility Information
  • Preliminary Steps
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) & Prerequisite Programs
  • Hazard Analysis & Preventive Controls Determination
  • Process Preventive Controls
  • Food Allergen Preventive Controls
  • Sanitation Preventive Controls
  • Supply-Chain Preventive Controls
  • Recall Plan
  • Reanalysis of Food Safety Plan
  • Food Safety Plan Report
  • Signature
  • Recordkeeping Procedures
  • Important Contacts
  • Supporting Documents

Click here to read more specifics on this new food safety initiative.

At Produce Alliance, food safety and quality assurance isn't just our management initiative, it's our way of life. With our alliance of quality growers and dedicated distributors, our food service partners trust us to provide them top quality produce at the leading market price.  

Our suppliers and distributors must meet specific food safety guidelines for quality assurance and are inspected by an approved third-party auditor.  A meticulous review of the supplier's food safety program, recall program and employee training program is also conducted to ensure the safety and satisfaction of our partners.  

We offer industry-leading technology as a means to seamlessly trace and track product accountability with a full staff of Customer Account Managers readily available.

From our farms to your fork, our dedication to food safety is paramount to the success of Produce Alliance and its partners. Click here to learn more about the importance of food safety, meet our Food Safety Experts, and view our informative resources and alerts.

Fresh Plaza Talks PMA 2017 Foodservice Conference and Mentions PA

Fresh Plaza Talks PMA 2017 Foodservice Conference and Mentions PA

Fresh Plaza Talks PMA 2017 Foodservice Conference and Mentions PA

PMA's 2017 Foodservice Conference & Expo draws more than 500 diverse buyers

Read the article Here!

 

Produce Marketing Association’s 36th annual Foodservice Conference & Expo, July 28-30 in Monterey, Calif., featured engaging education sessions; menu tastings that pleased all manner of foodies; plus, top-notch networking between suppliers and a diverse group of over 500 buyers.

The three-day event was capped by an all-sensory expo and product samplings that wowed the palate and showed influencers and end users ways to innovate the plate using fresh produce and value-added ingredients.

Held back in its home location in downtown Monterey, the event attracted more than 1,800 attendees. Suppliers made note of the number and variety of buyers in attendance, including foodservice distributors, retailers, wholesalers, brokers, and more than 150 end-use operators.

From cruise lines, hotel supply management, and airline catering operators, to leaders in the meal-kit, online grocery and grocerant categories, the event appealed to a wide variety of purchasers.

Buyers included Gate Gourmet, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Edible Arrangements, Disneyland Resort, The Cheesecake Factory, Wendy’s, Whataburger Restaurants LLC, PF Chang’s China Bistro, International Dairy Queen, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panda Express, Produce Alliance, Produce GPO, Fresh Direct, Hello Fresh and more.

Buyer Roundtables were new at PMA Foodservice this year. Prior to the start of the expo, a total of 27 suppliers each met with six or so carefully matched buyers in a speed-dating style format designed to provide face time for business networking and potentially open doors for deeper follow-up conversations. Sixteen retailers/foodservice operators participated.

At the expo, suppliers and service providers went all out to showcase their produce, new and value-added products and solutions. Many exhibitors offered tastings and recipes, and several used chef demos and other creative ways to attract booth visitors, engage and inspire buyers and influencers. The sold-out expo featured 176 exhibitors, including seven first-timers. The Fresh Ideas Showcase featured 24 new products.

Driscoll’s won Best of Show, 1st place, for its exhibit which featured a cold storage display case, a backdrop with large images of berries, and several product samples. In addition, one of Driscoll’s growers staffed the exhibit alongside company personnel.

Owyhee Produce won Best of Show, 2nd place, for its exhibit and product display which featured a large barnwood-style frame structure and a barn floor strewn with onion skins.

Best Product Promo went to Babé Farms for its Honey Cone Cabbage promotion.

“The energy and enthusiasm was super strong throughout the event. We’re still hearing comments from participants — suppliers and buyers alike — about the value of the show, networking, and education sessions,” said Brent Scattini, vice president of sales and marketing at Mission Produce, Inc. and co-chair of PMA’s Foodservice Conference Committee. “Suppliers wowed us with menu inspiration and value-added product innovation. The diversity of buyers was exciting. We’re already looking forward to next year.”

In addition to the annual Foodservice Conference & Expo, PMA provides content year-round to help foodservice professionals and suppliers grow their business. Online content includes primary and secondary research as well as articles on timely topics and trends. Recent topics include the expansion of foodservice in retail, personalized nutrition, trends influencing menu choices, and college foodservice trends for Gen Z consumers.

Some of these topics were explored during the foodservice conference education sessions, including a panel discussion on college students’ food likes and wants and innovative ways to shape menu choices and eating habits on campuses, such as using pop-up food stations. Gleaning, reducing food waste, increasing fresh produce consumption, and innovative ways to serve plant-focused meals were also discussed.

PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo also includes three annual fundraisers hosted by the Center for Growing Talent by PMA (CGTbyPMA), a charitable organization. Industry members turned out in force to network, team build, and have fun, all in support of programs designed to attract, develop and retain talent in the fresh produce and floral industries.

The CGTbyPMA Bocce for Talent Tournament, Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament, and 5K Race for Talent each featured fun contests and friendly competition. Bocce, golf and race champions and contest winners are posted on GrowingTalentbyPMA.org under the respective event pages.

A total of 15 CGTbyPMA Career Pathways students from four universities participated in all facets of the conference and expo, including CGTbyPMA’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives Reception. Career Ambassadors and faculty representatives escorted the students from University of California, Merced; San Jose State University; California State University, Chico; and Hartnell College. Students wore “I Am the Future” buttons, which encouraged conversations with attendees. This is one of 11 such programs at PMA events each year designed to attract new talent to the industry.

PMA’s Hands-on Fruit & Vegetable Training July 28 was also well attended. Foodservice operators and distributors learned some of the latest menu trends, as well as tips on care, handling and usage of fresh fruits and vegetables that can help restaurants innovate the plate with global flavors.

Attendees also enjoyed CGTbyPMA’s Women’s Fresh Perspectives Reception and the Opening Reception for more networking, food and fun.

Other highlights included the annual Chef Talks: A Strolling Lunch event held during a break in Saturday’s education session. Three chefs prepared dishes showcasing value-added, sponsored products. Guests were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite dish. The 2017 contest winner — by a record slim margin of two votes — was Zespri. Chef Domenica Catelli, of Catelli’s restaurant in the heart of Sonoma County, prepared pulled pork sliders with SunGold kiwifruit slaw, kiwi barbeque sauce, and topped with a sliced kiwi.

Following the expo, exhibitors donated 18,150 pounds of fresh produce from the show to the Food Bank for Monterey County, a nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to one in five residents in Monterey County.

Next year's PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo will be July 27-29, mark your calendars!


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

Metro Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Metro Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Metro Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Don’t panic: Avocados are set to get a little cheaper

Read the article Here

 

Great news, everyone: No longer will we have to live in tiny cardboard boxes because we’ve spent all our money on avocado toast.

Now we can upgrade to a larger box.

According to Bloomberg, avocado prices (which, as we know, are currently pretty high) are set to drop any day now.

While previously, farmers were struggling to produce enough avocados to meet demand, trees are now entering the better half of their two year cycle, meaning they’re set to produce more avocados – leading to a drop in price.

This is because avocado trees are alternate-bearing, producing bigger loads of avocados one year, followed by a smaller crop the year after. While 2017 was a small crop year, 2018 will be a big crop season.

Extra rain last winter will help this along even more, meaning farmers are expecting even more avos in the coming months.

More avocados mean lower prices.

Bloomberg explains that there are already signs that change is coming.

The wholesale cost of avocados has dropped more than 6% from last year, and this month there are already more avocado supplies than expected. Hooray.

That doesn’t mean avocados will suddenly become cheaper than Freddos, to be clear. Instead, you won’t see a sharp price hike in the coming months, and may see a slight drop.

 

‘You’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,’ said Robert Bonghi, a director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance.
 

Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

The Produce News Interviews Produce Alliance at the PMA Foodservice Trade Show

The Produce News Interviews Produce Alliance at the PMA Foodservice Trade Show

The Produce News Interviews Produce Alliance at the PMA Foodservice Trade Show

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MONTEREY, CA – Attendees and exhibitors got the opportunity to “innovate the plate” during the PMA Foodservice trade show on Sunday, July 31 at the Portola Hotel & Spa, here. With 176 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and solutions in foodservice, this year’s show was serving up some seriously sweet treats perfect for summertime feasting!

The Produce News caught up with a few major fresh produce buyers from Produce Alliance, HelloFresh and Gate Gourmet to find out what catches their eye on the trade show floor. Check out their answers in our latest featured video!

 

"Well, this is my fifth attendance of this show and it’s always great to come walk the floor and go meet with your growers that you’re partnered with and see what’s coming up and new ideas and innovations in our industry. But, these round tables that we attended today, that’s where you can really get to meet some of the growers that you may not work with all the time or have discussed doing business with and nothing has ever transpired, it’s really a good intimate, kind of one-on-one conversation. Granted it’s a short period of time, but it’s enough time to sit there and actually be able to have a quick conversation and get that motivation back to start talking again. So, it was very productive for me today." -Robert Bonghi, Produce Alliance

Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

Refinery29 Quotes Produce Alliance

Refinery29 Quotes Produce Alliance

Refinery29 Quotes Produce Alliance

Avocados Are About To Get More Affordable

Read the article Here! 

 

Adding avocado is almost always extra, but come next month, it may be a little more affordable.

According to Bloomberg, after avocado prices spiked in July, die-hard fans are going to catch a break thanks to reinforcements coming from Mexico.

Fans of the green fruit can blame skyrocketing prices on supply and demand. Chowhound reports that avocado consumption has doubled from where it was a decade ago and since it takes time for trees to mature to the point where they can bear fruit, farmers have had some difficulty keeping up with everyone's ravenous appetite for avocado toast and guacamole. Farmers south of the border and in California are expecting a huge crop to come soon, so prices should drop in August and continue to stay lower than they have been through to 2018.

 
"Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline," Robert Bonghi, the director of procurement and pricing at Produce Alliance, told Bloomberg. "Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up."

 

However, it's not a bargain-basement situation quite yet.

 

"You're not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar," he added.

 

Avocados hit their highest price earlier this month, reaching an average of $1.51 per Hass avocado at U.S. supermarkets. That's a 40% increase from just a year ago, according to data culled from the USDA.

"It just seems like there's a really good vibe around avocados," Rick Shade, a California-based avocado farmer, told Bloomberg. "I'd hate to be the wheat farmer who produced the wheat for the bread underneath, because no one's talking about him. Everyone's talking about my avocado on top."

But it's not just Americans feeling the surge of avocado prices. Thanks to those good vibes (or Instagram), avocado prices in France have jumped over 20% in the last year and other European nations are feeling it, too. With farmers planting more than ever, it seems that the avocado market is in for some stabilization. For the farmers' sake, let's hope those snapshots of avocado toast keep bringing in the Likes.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

 

Bravo Talks Cheaper Avocado Prices and Quotes Produce Alliance

Bravo Talks Cheaper Avocado Prices and Quotes Produce Alliance

Bravo Talks Cheaper Avocado Prices and Quotes Produce Alliance

Good News, Avocado Fanatics—Avocados Might Be Getting Cheaper Soon!

Read the article Here!

Avocado prices have been at an all-time high this summer, much to the dismay of guacamole and avocado toast lovers everywhere. Demand is up, but bad weather has caused avocado farmers in Mexico and California to reduce their output, causing prices of our beloved green fruit to spike.

But some good news is finally here. According to Bloomberg, the wholesale price of Hass avocados has already dropped by more than 6 percent. Avocados grow on a two-year cycle, which means the trees produce large crops one year and smaller crops the next (who knew?). This was an "off" year, so in 2018, avocado crops should be plentiful.

 

Plus, growers are planting more trees to meet the demand, said Robert Bonghi, the director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance, a company that provides fresh produce to food-service clients.
 

All in all, things are looking up—or rather, down—when it comes to the price of your favorite trendy fruit. But don't get too eager.

 

"You’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,” Bonghi stated.

 

Oh well. Dare to dream.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Fresh Produce Journal Quotes Produce Alliance

Fresh Produce Journal Quotes Produce Alliance

Fresh Produce Journal Quotes Produce Alliance

Avocado prices set to fall back

Read the article Here!

 

After tough conditions drove prices up in early 2017, reports suggest they are beginning to fall on the back of improved supply

There are signs that avocado prices might be set to fall back, following record highs earlier this year.

High demand for the popular fruit was hampered by Californian drought, growers’ strikes in Mexico and subsequent reduced US supplies earlier in the year, causing prices to soar. Average prices rose from $0.98 per Hass avocado in April 2016 to $1.26 in April 2017, according to figures from Bloomberg.

 

However, category managers the Produce Alliance stated that avocado output from Mexico is now “stable”, and there are signs already that prices are receding.

 

Mexican wholesale prices have dropped more than six per cent from their peak in July this year of 640 pesos (£27.23) for a 10kg box of Hass avocados, to 600 pesos (£25.53). 

Though United States Department of Agriculture figures show that current prices are still 40 per cent more than they were last year, 2018 is set to produce superior crops since avocado trees are alternate-bearing. The avocados set to be harvested next year are already hanging on the trees and are in much better shape thanks to rains this winter, according to grower Rick Shade, who farms 600 acres near Carpinteria, California.

The effects of these fluctuations have been felt profoundly in the US, which relies on Mexican shipments of avocados for 82 per cent of its intake, according to Bloomberg. Higher prices and even avocado shortages in supermarkets and restaurants were reportedly met with outrage from contemporary avocado-loving societies. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc reported the erosion of earnings by these higher prices, though chief financial officer John Hartung recently stated that this how now eased with higher-than-expected supplies from Mexico last month.

Though the UK tends to import its avocados from Spain, Israel and South Africa, it is by no means exempt from the price turbulence of Mexican imports. Roland Fumasi, senior produce analyst for Rabobank in California, told the Guardian: “Even though most avocados you see in UK stores are coming from other regions, those regions have to fill the gaps in the US. So they have competition for that fruit. The supply slowdown in Mexico affects consumers everywhere.”

Blossoming demand in China and ever-increasing popularity across the US and Europe will continue to put global prices under pressure, Bloomberg said.

 

The recent decreases, though, move the industry closer to a period of stabilising prices in the near future, said Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance: “Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up” but “you’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar.”

Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

 

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Talks Avocado Price Drop and Quotes Produce Alliance

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Talks Avocado Price Drop and Quotes Produce Alliance

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Talks Avocado Price Drop and Quotes Produce Alliance 

Avocado obsessed finally get relief as prices drop from record

Read the article Here!

Americans' obsession with avocados sent prices to a record, but there's good news for guacamole fans: relief could be on the horizon.

A confluence of factors drove the wholesale cost of Hass avocados from Mexico, the biggest supplier to the U.S., to more than double this year. U.S. consumers are eating more of the green stuff than ever before, and growers in Mexico and California were struggling to keep up with demand amid dry weather. But the tightness could start to ease next year as trees enter the higher-yielding half of a two-year cycle.

There are already signs of a reprieve. The wholesale cost has dropped more than 6 percent from a record reached earlier in July. At Chipotle Mexican Grill, while higher prices for the fruit eroded earnings earlier this year, higher-than-expected supplies from Mexico this month means the gains have started to ease, Chief Financial Officer John Hartung said on an earnings call this week. Still, with a whopping 6.3 million uses of the hashtag #Avocado on Instagram, it doesn't look like demand is going to slow down anytime soon.

 

"Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won't see a sharp incline," said Robert Bonghi, the Suwanee, Georgia-based director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance, which provides fresh food to food-service clients. "Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up," but "you're not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar," he said.
 

The cost of Hass avocados imported from the state of Michoacan, Mexico's largest producer, has fallen this month since reaching the highest in government data that goes back 19 years. The price of a 22-pound box surged 140 percent this year to 600 pesos ($34.02), slightly down from the peak of 640 pesos on July 12. In the grocery store, that translates to $1.51 per Hass avocado, up 40 percent from a year ago, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

The gains came amid a seeming insatiable appetite for the fruit. Americans on average ate about 7.1 pounds of avocados each in the 2015-2016 season, the latest figures from the USDA show. That's more than double the consumption a decade earlier.

"Avocados have really become very popular, and the diversity of usage plays into that," Jan DeLyser, the California Avocado Commission's vice president of marketing, said in a telephone interview.

The rise of the avocado didn't happen all at once, DeLyser said. As health officials raved about the fruit's benefits, growers developed year-round production and the product also started becoming a grocery-store staple. Today, smartphone cameras and social media platforms such as Pinterest are adding to the demand because of the fruit's trendy nature, she said.

That seems to be the case at Slightly Toasted in Chicago, an all-day cafe and bar that specializes in toast. The restaurant fills between 50 and 100 orders daily of oat-porridge toast topped with avocado, pickled shallots, feta, radish and a poached egg, all for $7, said John Chesney, a partner at the restaurant.

 

There's also increased global competition for supplies, said Bonghi of the Produce Alliance.
"The global market virtually exploded overnight" as European and Chinese consumers joined in on the trend, Bonghi said.

 

Wholesale avocado prices in France rose 23 percent in the first five months of the year, and Amsterdam is home to The Avocado Show, a restaurant that features the fruit on virtually every menu item, including an avocado sorbet.

 

Recently, output from Mexico has become "stable," the Produce Alliance said in a July 20 report.
 

Seasonally, end users are shifting from California supplies to fruit from Mexico, and that's also helping to ease supply tightness, Chipotle's Hartung said. The U.S. imports more than half of its supply from Mexico, data from the Mission Viejo, California-based Hass Avocado Board show.

The natural growing cycle will also help add to production. Avocado trees are alternate-bearing, producing larger crops one year and smaller one the next. 2018 is set to be a big crop season.

Rains this winter also meant improved crop conditions for third-generation avocado grower Rick Shade, who farms 600 acres near Carpenteria, California. Avocados hang on the tree for 12 to 14 months before reaping, and the 2018 crop that's already on the trees is shaping up to be a much better after the precipitation, he said.

More fruit at the next harvest could mean easing price pressure, but Shade doesn't see demand or popularity wavering in the meantime.

"It just seems like there's a really good vibe around avocados," Shade said. "I'd hate to be the wheat farmer who produced the wheat for the bread underneath, because no one's talking about him. Everyone's talking about my avocado on top."


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Grub Street Quotes Produce Alliance

Grub Street Quotes Produce Alliance

Grub Street Quotes Produce Alliance 

Are Avocados Actually About to Get Cheaper? 

Read the article Here!

Good news, home buyers: Avocado toast is maybe going to get a little cheaper. After a long and difficult summer, it seems that avocado prices may be dropping at last! Prices for the creamy little fruit hit a record high, thanks to bad weather in Mexico during what was already an off year for avocado trees. (Avocados develop on a two-year cycle; this was not our year.) But Bloomberg says we can all settle down, because reprieve is coming: The wholesale cost of Hass avocados has already dropped more than 6 percent since reaching a record-breaking high in July.

“Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline,” said Robert Bonghi, the director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance.
“Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up,” he said, but don’t get too excited just yet. “You’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar.”

After all: It’s a reprieve, not a miracle.

Still, there is hope in the world, at least regarding avocados. While there are no signs that demand will slow anytime soon — Americans have a “seemingly insatiable” appetite for the fruit, eating more than double what they ate a decade ago, according to the latest USDA figures, and the global market is booming , too— the supply crunch is expected to ease up. For one thing, 2018 is an on year for avocado trees, and according to at least one California avocado farmer, it’s shaping up to be a good crop, thanks to rain this past winter.


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually. 

Bloomberg Talks Avocado Prices and Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Bloomberg Talks Avocado Prices and Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

Bloomberg Talks Avocado Prices and Quotes Robert Bonghi of Produce Alliance

You Can Finally Afford Both a House and Avocado Toast

Read the Article Here!

Americans’ obsession with avocados sent prices to a record high, but there’s good news for guacamole fans: relief could be on the horizon.

A confluence of factors drove the wholesale cost of Hass avocados from Mexico, the biggest supplier to the U.S., to more than double this year. U.S. consumers are eating more of the green stuff than ever before, and growers in Mexico and California were struggling to keep up with demand amid dry weather. But the tightness could start to ease next year as trees enter the higher-yielding half of a two-year cycle.

There are already signs of a reprieve. The wholesale cost has dropped more than 6 percent from a record reached earlier in July. At Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., while higher prices for the fruit eroded earnings earlier this year, bigger-than-expected supplies from Mexico this month means the gains have started to ease, Chief Financial Officer John Hartung said on an earnings call this week. Still, with a whopping 6.3 million uses of the hashtag #Avocado on Instagram, it doesn’t look like demand is going to slow down anytime soon.

 

“Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline,” said Robert Bonghi, the Suwanee, Georgia-based director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance, which provides fresh food to food-service clients.
 
“Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up,” but “you’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,” he said.
 

Prices Dip

The cost of Hass avocados imported from the state of Michoacan, Mexico’s largest producer, has fallen this month since reaching the highest in government data that goes back 19 years. The price of a 10-kilogram (22-pound) box surged 140 percent this year to 600 pesos ($34.02), slightly down from the peak of 640 pesos on July 12. In the grocery store, that translates to $1.51 per Hass avocado, up 40 percent from a year ago, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

Prices had gotten so lofty that Australian mega-millionaire Tim Gurner made global headlines earlier this year when he accused members of the millennial generation of wasting money on overpriced avocado toast instead of saving up to buy houses.

The gains came amid a seeming insatiable appetite for the fruit. Americans on average ate about 7.1 pounds of avocados each in the 2015-2016 season, the latest figures from the USDA show. That’s more than double the consumption a decade earlier.

"Avocados have really become very popular, and the diversity of usage plays into that," Jan DeLyser, the California Avocado Commission’s vice president of marketing, said in a telephone interview.

The rise of the avocado didn’t happen all at once, DeLyser said. As health officials raved about the fruit’s benefits, growers developed year-round production and the product also started becoming a grocery-store staple. Today, smartphone cameras and social media platforms such as Pinterest are adding to the demand because of the fruit’s trendy nature, she said.

Slightly Toasted

That seems to be the case at Slightly Toasted in Chicago, an all-day cafe and bar that specializes in toast. The restaurant fills between 50 and 100 orders daily of oat-porridge toast topped with avocado, pickled shallots, feta, radish and a poached egg, all for $7, said John Chesney, a partner at the restaurant.

 

There’s also increased global competition for supplies, said Bonghi of the Produce Alliance.
 
"The global market virtually exploded overnight" as European and Chinese consumers joined in on the trend, Bonghi said.
 

Wholesale avocado prices in France rose 23 percent in the first five months of the year, and Amsterdam is home to The Avocado Show, a restaurant that features the fruit on virtually every menu item, including an avocado sorbet.

 

Recently, output from Mexico has become “stable,” the Produce Alliance said in a July 20 report.
 

Seasonally, end users are shifting from California supplies to fruit from Mexico, and that’s also helping to ease supply tightness, Chipotle’s Hartung said. The U.S. is forecast to import 77 percent of its supply from Mexico this year, the Mission Viejo, California-based Hass Avocado Board estimates.

Growing Cycle

The natural growing cycle will also help add to production. Avocado trees are alternate-bearing, producing larger crops one year and smaller one the next. 2018 is set to be a big crop season.

Rains this winter also meant improved crop conditions for third-generation avocado grower Rick Shade, who farms 600 acres near Carpenteria, California. Avocados hang on the tree for 12 to 14 months before reaping, and the 2018 crop that’s already on the trees is shaping up to be a much better after the precipitation, he said.

More fruit at the next harvest could mean easing price pressure, but Shade doesn’t see demand or popularity wavering in the meantime.

"It just seems like there’s a really good vibe around avocados," Shade said. "I’d hate to be the wheat farmer who produced the wheat for the bread underneath, because no one’s talking about him. Everyone’s talking about my avocado on top."


Produce Alliance specializes in providing fresh produce category management services including procurement, national distribution, information services, and food safety assurance to food service clients across North America, the Caribbean and beyond. We manage an alliance of 50+ independently owned specialty distributors of fresh products, with combined produce sales of over $4 billion annually.