The Source Live is a web series from PRO*ACT to bring you timely information highlighting upcoming and current trends, potential disruptions, growing region updates, and education throughout the supply chain.
Episode 55 – Naturipe Farms | March 11, 2020
PRO*ACT team member Hannah Ricci joined Brittany Lee of Florida Blue Farms, a grower for Naturipe, down in Northeast Florida to learn about Blueberries!
We learned about what makes Florida blueberries unique from other growing regions, what this year’s crop looks like and the different stages of the growing cycle. Additionally, Brittany let us know about how bees play a major roll in the pollination process.
Tune in now to learn more about Florida Blueberries from our partners at Naturipe Farms!
Episode 54 – Sunkist | February 26, 2020
The PRO*ACT team had the pleasure of meeting with our valued partner Sunkist down in Visalia this past week, to do some ‘navel-gazing’ and learn about citrus!
Gerald Denni, the Chairman of Sunkist, gave us a tour of their fields, where we were able to see firsthand how many excellent citrus varieties are currently available and in peak season, including navels, mandarins, blood oranges, and lemons.
This episode also features an overview of sizing, navel and blood orange applications, and an outlook for the coming citrus season.
Episode 53 – Taylor Farms Mexico | November 25, 2019
On this special edition of The Source Live, we get a look into the market conditions and operations in Mexico with Taylor Farms!
We connected with Diego Hernandez, Director of Ag Operations for Taylor Farms Mexico, who gave us an update on the variety of products that Taylor Farms Mexico is growing in the state of Guanajuato. Additionally, we learned a bit about the transition process in Mexico, and why Taylor Farms made the strategic decision to begin growing in a region outside of the U.S. Although there are misconceptions about product quality from Mexico, Marcela Esquivel, the Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety for Taylor Farms Mexico, quickly dispels those concerns by providing us an overview on how Taylor Farms ensures they are producing product above and beyond any quality and food safety standards.
This Source Live is just a SNEAK PEAK of an exciting new video on sourcing from Mexico, keep your eyes peeled for a more comprehensive look at operations and sourcing from outside the U.S.
Episode 52 – Ocean Spray / Oppy | November 14, 2019
Just in time for the holidays! We were privileged to witness firsthand the Cranberry harvest in Wisconsin with our partner Oppy, who works with Ocean Spray growers to bring fresh cranberries to foodservice distributors! Take a look at this unique process to see how cranberries make it to your Thanksgiving table! Big thanks to James Loffredo from Loffredo Fresh Produce for hosting this special episode of The Source Live!
Episode 51 – D’Arrigo CA | August 27, 2019
We headed over to a fennel ranch to connect with D’Arrigo CA, to learn about a delicious specialty item – fennel! Greg Heinz briefed us on how fennel is grown, the harvesting process and timeline, and how it is processed. Additionally, we learned about the primary uses and versatility of this hearty commodity. It’s clear to see that D’Arrigo strives to ensure their products are hitting the mark when it comes to quality, consistency, and a strong flavor profile.
Episode 50 – Monterey Mushrooms | August 15, 2019
A first for the Source Live, we caught up with Monterey Mushroom in Royal Oaks California to learn about mushrooms! While visiting the largest mushroom farm in North America, we were able to learn about compost process and growing operations. Additionally, Arturo Morado showed us a bed where the mushrooms grow so we could get an idea of what the compost needs to include for mushrooms to thrive, and how long the process takes. Finally, Lindsey Occhipinti walked us through what it takes to produce high-quality products.
Episode 49 – Ippolito International | July 15, 2019
We headed down to Gonzales, CA to connect with Ippolito International on what is happening with lettuce market right now. Joe Puga gave us an overview of how weather can impact lettuce yields, specifically how the heat can delay production. Additionally, Keith Mallett let us know what spread of product Ippolito focuses on, where they grow, and why they have chosen those commodities. Finally, we learned what to expect in terms of yields this season, and what Ippolito is doing to ensure they can continue to bring fresh products to their customers year round.
Episode 48 – Rainier Fruit | April 5, 2019
We flew up to Yakima, Washington to connect with Rainier Fruit Co to learn about apples. Shane Zeutenhorst walked us through the process of harvesting apples, and how they have not only created a system to ease labor challenges, but it has optimized yield as well. Additionally, Shane walked us through some of the innovative systems Rainier Fruit has put in place, such as integrated pest management, to ensure consistent, quality product. Finally, we learned a bit about the H2A program Rainier Fruit has in place to ensure their labor force is happy and productive.
Episode 47 – Mann Packing | March 18, 2019
We caught up with Mann Packing in Gonzales, California to learn about Broccolini. Gabe Romero walked us through what it takes to keep Broccolini flourishing year round, and what we can anticipate for the upcoming season.
Being the first to bring the product to market, Mann Packing is always looking to innovate, and has recently launched another new product, Caulilini! Gabe walks us through how Broccolini has grown in popularity since its release, and also provided us an overview of their new product, Caulilini.
Finally, we received an update on what Mann Packing is currently growing in Yuma as they get ready to transition back to the Salinas Valley.
Episode 46 – Field Fresh Farms | March 11, 2019
In Hollister, California, we caught up with Craig Dobler with Field Fresh Farms to learn about growing this time of year. Craig taught us a bit about how they work to prepare for the transition back from Yuma in the spring. Considering different impacting factors like weather, Field Fresh Farms works to anticipate planting and harvest dates, to ensure they do not have a break in supply. Craig also shared what Field Fresh Farms is all about, and how they continue to grow to provide valuable products to consumers.
Episode 45 – Wada Farms | Potatoes – October 15, 2018
Up in Fort Hall, Idaho, we caught up with Brian Wada of Wada Farms to learn a bit about potatoes. He walked us through the growing and harvesting process, and how they are able to provide potatoes to consumers year round. We learned about some different potato varieties, and what different characteristics of those varieties determine which are selected to grow. Finally, Brian provided us an outlook update on potatoes and shared some insight as to how the industry has changed and how Wada Farms continues to innovate and grow.
Episode 44 – J.C. Watson Packing Co. | Onions – October 8, 2018
We headed up to Parma, Idaho to meet up with J.C. Watson Packing Co., to learn about onions. Brad Watson walked us through the harvesting process, the different stages of dehydration and curing, and how the onions are prepped for storage. Additionally, we learned about what makes J.C. Watson Packing Co. a leader when it comes to onions in the industry. Finally, we received an outlook on what to expect for the coming fall and winter seasons.
Episode 43 – D’Arrigo | Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe – October 1, 2018
D’Arrigo California is a top grower of Broccoli Rabe, a superfood packed with nutrients that tastes good served a variety of ways! We visited the harvest in the Salinas Valley to find out more about this delicious leafy green vegetable!
Episode 42 – Taylor Farms | Row Crops & Automation – September 17, 2018
We met up with Taylor Farms to get an outlook on row crops this season in the Salinas Valley. As Yuma begins to heat up, Albert Garnica lets us know how Taylor Farms works to ensure we have a consistent quality product, even through the fall transition to Yuma. We also learned a bit about how Taylor Farms is continuously working to be innovative in automation, and how their automated harvesting machines and optical sorters are helping to shape the future of fresh produce.
Episode 41 – Dole | San Diego Port: Pineapples and Bananas – September 6, 2018
We took a trip down to San Diego to get together with Dole to learn about bananas, pineapples, and the port. Dole walked us through what it looks like to get these products harvested, ripened, and exported up to North America. We also learned about the process of how the fruit is offloaded once the ship arrives. It is exciting to see how Dole is working to optimize their operations to ensure we have consistent, quality product to enjoy!
Episode 40 – Mann Packing | Caulilini – August 29, 2018
We headed over to Chualar, California to catch up with Mann Packing, who introduced us to a new product – Caulilini! Rick Harris told us about the history of the product, the structure and harvesting procedures, and the flavor profile. Additionally, he let us know how the heat can impact the product’s growing cycle, what they look for during harvest, and the future plans for this amazing new vegetable!
Episode 39 – West Coast Tomato Growers + Fresh-Link Tomato | Tomatoes – August 20, 2018
We headed down to Oceanside, CA to meet up with West Coast Tomato Growers and Fresh-Link Tomato to learn a bit about tomatoes. The Singh family shared a bit about the farm’s history, how large the farm is, and what kinds of tomato varieties they are growing. Priya Singh gave us an update on the harvest process, the growing season, and the current outlook for tomatoes. Additionally, Aaron Aliotti of Fresh-Link gave us some insight to their partnership with local growers, and how their operations help to consistently source quality product year round.
Episode 38 – Del Mar Farms | Cantaloupe – July 13, 2018
We headed over to Patterson, California in the San Joaquin Valley to meet up with Del Mar Packing to learn about cantaloupe. Anthony told us a bit about the season so far, how things are going with labor and water, and how weather can impact the crop. We also learned a bit about brix levels – and how they measure the sugar content levels of the fruit. Additionally, Anthony gave us an overview of the LSL variety, and what to expect availability wise over the next few weeks.
Episode 37 – Mann Packing | Snap Peas – June 13, 2018
We headed to Soledad, CA to meet up with Mann Packing to learn a bit about Snap Peas. We learned about the different growing regions of the snap peas, the seasonality, and how they move the product throughout the year. We also discussed harvesting, the crop structure, and the outlook for the coming summer. Additionally, we learned about Mann Packing’s select varieties and how they work to produce a high-quality product.
Episode 36 – Naturipe Farms | Mother’s Day: Castroville, CA – May 7, 2018
We are gearing up for one of the biggest strawberry pulls of the year – Mother’s Day! Naturipe Farms caught up with us to give us an idea of what to expect for the crop for both the upcoming holiday and the weeks to follow. We learned how much weather and elevation can impact the size and yield of the berry, as well as how it can affect overall product growth for the season. Additionally, we learned what the term ‘popcorn’ means as it relates to the crop and fields.
Episode 35 – Church Brothers Farms: King City, CA – May 1, 2018
We headed down to King City, CA where we learned a bit about spring mix. Church Brothers Farms showed us how the spring mix crop moves during its growing cycle, and what the optimal season and location is for growing. We also learned about how the product is sorted and what they are looking for during the harvesting/sorting process. Additionally, Tim Macfee shared a bit about the Salinas Valley labor conditions, how crew sizes have shifted, and what Church Brothers Farms does to combat the pressing issue.
Episode 34 – Ippolito International: Gonzales, CA – March 26, 2018
We headed over to Gonzales to meet with Ippolito International to learn about asparagus. Pat Collins, VP of Agriculture, shared some information on the growth rate of this crop, the harvest rate, as well as how the recent heavy rainfall can impact the crop.
Episode 33 – Mission Produce: Oxnard, CA – March 7, 2018
We met up with Mission Produce down in Oxnard, California, where they informed us what their harvest process looks like, how the crop transition to California and season is panning out, and how the fires in early December impacted their crop. We also learned about one of Mission Produce’s innovation efforts, and how their electronic valve can water and fertilize at a more efficient rate.
Episode 32 – Naturipe Farms: Oxnard, CA – February 27, 2018
In early February, we visited with Naturipe Farms to hear a bit about strawberries. We learned about how greater yields in other districts can put pressures on Southern California ranches, and how the warm weather impacts the harvest and season. Additionally, we were reminded of the nutritional value that strawberries provide – be sure to pick some up today!
Episode 31 – Sunkist and Porterville Citrus: Exeter, CA – February 16, 2018
Down in Exeter, CA, we met up with Porterville Citrus, a grower for Sunkist, to learn about Cara Cara Navels, Blood Oranges, and Golden Nugget Mandarins. We learned the differences in flavor profiles, growing seasons, and purposes of these different citrus varieties. Although the Golden Nugget Mandarins look bumpy and unattractive, they have one of the most popular flavor profiles amongst citrus fruits – and the time to buy is now before they are out of season!
Episode 30 – Taylor Farms and JV Farms: Yuma, AZ – January 25, 2018
We caught up with JV Farms, a partner of Taylor Farms, to learn about the current outlook for iceberg lettuce. We also learned a bit what lettuce ice is, how it impacts the crop, and the current outlook. Additionally, we heard about the different challenges they are facing, and what JV Farms is doing to hold down production costs while increasing yield.
Episode 29 – Taylor Farms: Yuma, AZ – January 18, 2018
We headed down to Yuma, AZ, where Albert Garnica, VP of Ag Operations for Taylor Farms, shared an update on Yuma operations. We learned a bit about the different growing regions and microclimates present in the desert, and how that impacts their ability to provide consistent, quality supply year round. Albert also shed some light as to why labor is less of a challenge in Yuma than in the Salinas Valley. Additionally, we learned that with higher temperatures than normal, the crop is currently ahead of schedule, providing Taylor Farms with a positive outlook on supply over the next couple of weeks.
Episode 28 – JC Watson Packing Company – December 13, 2017
We caught up with Brad Watson of JC Watson Packing Company to get an update on the impact the weather challenges have had on onions, specifically how it affects the size profiles. Additionally, we learned about seasonality, and how that impacts the quality of late storage onions. We also got to hear about how JC Watson determines when it is the right time to move the onions from storage to packing.
Episode 27 – Wada Farms – November 30, 2017
We headed up to Idaho to meet up with Brian Wada, CEO of Wada Farms. Brian spoke a bit about the different challenges the potato industry has faced this past year, different size profiles to expect, and explained why they shift between different varieties such as the Russet Norkotah and Russet Burbank. He also covered labor, and although Wada Farms has been fortunate to have long-lasting employees, they are still facing challenges bringing on new employees during the packing stage.
Episode 26 – Sunkist Grower: Porterville Citrus – November 10, 2017
We caught up with Porterville Citrus, a Sunkist Grower, to get an outlook on the citrus market. Jim Phillips taught us a bit about size structure, different varieties to expect, and how those different varieties show up for customers. We also talked about how automation has played a role in the citrus market, and how they keep a human element incorporated in production and harvesting.
Episode 25 – Dole Food Company – November 1, 2017
We flew down to Costa Rica to visit with Dole Food Company, where we learned how long it takes for pineapples to go from planting to harvesting, as well as the best conditions for pineapple growth in Central America. We also heard a bit about how Dole works to capture the right product at the right time, why Costa Rica is an ideal logistics location for pineapples, and what the markets can expect in 2018.
Episode 24 – Rainier Fruit Company – October 27, 2017
We headed up to Gleed, Washington to meet up with our friends at Rainier Fruit Company, where we learned a bit about the growing system they use, the impact of weather from this year, and how labor shortages have affected production. We also learned a bit about which size profiles are peaking, the taste profiles we can expect, and what we might see over the next few months with apples.
Episode 23 – Dole Fresh Vegetables – October 20, 2017
We caught up with Patrick Collins, Senior Director of Farm Management for Dole Fresh Vegetables to learn a bit about Dole’s history with transition in Huron, the labor challenges being faced, harvesting innovations, and what kind of crop quality we can expect to see.
Episode 22 – Brussels Sprout Update with Ippolito International – October 9, 2017
We met up with Ron Mondo of Queen Victoria Farms/Ippolito International, the world’s largest grower of Brussels Sprouts, to get an idea of the current outlook of the crop. We learned about the heat impact on the harvest, as well as how Ippolito tackles different harvesting challenges.
Episode 21 – Eastern Veg Update with Fresh-Link – October 3, 2017
This week, we break from the traditional format to give you an update on commodities from the Southeast and the effects Hurricane Irma had on crops in that region. We catch up with Steven Johnson of Fresh-Link to discuss a further outlook on Southeastern crops and the condition of the crops due to the weather impact. We also learned a bit about the harvesting and production of crops from the region.
Episode 20 – Tender Leaf Update with Field Fresh Farms – September 18, 2017
We caught up with Field Fresh Farms to discuss how environmental pressures can impact different tender leaf greens, as well as the current market outlook. We also learned how they combat different challenges throughout harvesting, processing, and receiving to ensure they are delivering product as expected.
Episode 19 – Hurricane Irma Update with Fresh-Link – September 8, 2017
As Hurricane Irma gets ready to touch down in the Southeast, Stephen Johnson of Fresh-Link shares insight on the potential impact the storm can have on crops. We also learned about the expected demand for eastern vegetables and the outlook for the next month.
Episode 18 – Heat Wave Update with D’Arrigo Brothers of California – September 7, 2017
We met with D’Arrigo Brothers of California to discuss the recent heat wave and how it impacts Salinas Valley crops. We took a closer look at some romaine hearts to see the variation in product, and learned what changes the market can anticipate over the new few weeks.
Episode 17 – Organic Produce with Cal-Organic Farms – August 23, 2017
We met with Bob Borda, VP of Sales for Cal-Organic Farms, who shared about how Grimmway Farms originally got involved with organic produce, and where they are today. We learned what it takes to grow organic crops, what nutritional supplements can be used, and how weather impacts the crop. We also took a look at how the consumer, both in retail and foodservice, affects the organic produce market.
Episode 16 – Carrots with Grimmway Farms – August 8, 2017
We visited with VP of Sales Eric Proffitt at Grimmway Farms to learn about how they harvest carrots, the different growing regions for different seed varieties, and how they plant and process the different varieties to ensure they are producing the desired crop.
Episode 15 – Raspberries with Driscoll’s – July 26, 2017
We visited with Driscoll’s to discuss the different cropping cycles and growing regions, including both California and Mexico productions, and how different raspberry varieties are propagated within those growing districts. Additionally, we learned a bit about varietal development and how Driscoll’s continues to work to combat the different challenges that arise in raspberry production, such as heat and labor.
Episode 14 – Melons with Custom Produce – July 20, 2017
We caught up with Custom Produce and West Side Produce in Huron, CA to discussed the differences in harvesting with the varieties of melons. We learned about the impact of weather on labor, production, and quality of the melon, as well as how to notice the differences between the LSL and the Western cantaloupe varieties.
Episode 13 – Grapes with FreshLink – July 17, 2017
We took trip down to the valley to touch in with Fresh-Link Fruit and long time partner VBZ Grapes to discuss the impact of the heat on different varieties of grapes, labor, and employee safety. We also discussed volume expectations as transition is underway. The spring crop is just about finished in Mexico and the Coachella Valley, while San Joaquin Valley just started production and will continue to head north up the valley until December.
Episode 12 – Avocados with Mission Produce – July 5, 2017
We joined Mission Produce in one of their orchards in Ventura County, CA to learn a bit about sizing, fruit grading, and address misconceptions of size and yield. We also touched in on what gives the Flor Loca crop its nickname of the ‘crazy bloom,’ and what to expect from that crop this season.
Episode 11 – Strawberries with Driscoll’s – June 30, 2017
This week we spent valuable time learning from our friends at Driscoll’s about the current outlook for strawberries, how the weather has created unique challenges for the current season, the different varieties that Driscoll’s brings to market, as well as some insight on their table-top growing system.
Episode 10 – Avocados with Mission Produce – June 14, 2017
We visited the new Mission Produce packing facilities in Oxnard to discuss the current Avocado harvest here and abroad. We learned how they distribute product from international groves, the sizing variations, and grades within those regions, and the outlook for the upcoming summer season and beyond.
Episode 9 – Citrus with Sunkist – June 12, 2017
This week we visited our friends at Sunkist in Ventura county to discuss the current and projected supply for lemons, the impact of the California drought on citrus, and outlook for supply of the Golden Nugget Mandarin.
Episode 8 – Lettuce at Ippolito International – May 19, 2017
This week we touch in with our friends at Ippolito International to talk about the availability of lettuce and Ippolito’s diversification of growing regions throughout the Salinas Valley.
Episode 7 – Shipping at Taylor Farms – May 12, 2017
We talk with our friends at Taylor Farms about transportation and docking on one of the busiest shipping days of the year, the Monday before Mother’s Day! Take a look as we discuss the logistics and coordination of trucks and fresh produce.
Episode 6 – Romaine Outlook & Labor Update – April 26, 2017
Most growers have completed the transition to the Salinas Valley, and have faced some tough conditions due to a wetter than usual winter and spring. John Scherpinski from D’Arrigo Brothers of California shares a short and long-term outlook for Romaine, a look at current specs, and an update on some of the labor challenges growers are facing.
Episode 5 – Taylor Farms Transition – April 12, 2017
We talk to our friends at Taylor Farms about what it takes to move their operations from Yuma, AZ to their Salinas, CA facilities for processing row crops. We also get a short term outlook about the crops coming up in the Salinas Valley.
Episode 4 – Salinas Broccolini® – April 5, 2017
Our friends at Mann Packing share how rain in the Salinas Valley has caused issues for their Broccolini® harvest, and the short term outlook for supply.
Episode 3 – Watsonville Strawberries – April 3, 2017
Strawberries are being sourced from Southern California, and are starting their season in the Salinas Valley with a strong harvest forecasted. We talk to Tom Smith from California Giant who shares how the past few months have led to a positive outlook for this year’s strawberry crop.
Episode 2 – Salinas Row Crop Transition – March 24, 2017
Row crops from Romaine to Spring Mix are beginning the transition from the Yuma growing region, to the Salinas Valley. Here is a look at what to expect during the next few weeks.
Episode 1 – Watsonville Broccoli Outlook – March 24, 2017
This week focuses on broccoli and cauliflower conditions. With the increased rainfall in January and February, PRO*ACT’s Gabe Romero shares what to expect to see in these products.