Introduced to the commercial world in the 1990s, the grape tomato has become one of the sweethearts of the tomato business. It was introduced in upscale markets and soon consumers found the higher sugar content than regular tomatoes and the smaller, bite-size shape to their liking.
“The grape tomato is our biggest seller,” says Tony Smith, merchandising manager at Harveys Supermarket, a Nashville, GA- based chain with 73 stores. “We often have them on ad because of their popularity. The tomatoes on the vine and hot house tomatoes are popular, but the grape tomato is still the best-seller for us. We put them in rows among the salad items for a color break. Our supplier is offering yellow grape tomatoes, so we’re going to give them a try.”
Value Added Sweet Potatoes: Finding The Right Touch
Mann Packing Co. Inc., of Salinas, CA, is enjoying considerable success with its fresh-cut sweet potato line. “ Our fresh-cut sweet potatoes are fresh, washed, ready-to-cook cubes or crinkle-cut spears, packaged in microwaveable bags,” describes Elena Hernandez, marketing and communications specialist.
This is a tribute to all those in the produce industry who are tormented with passion, night and day, to make sure their product is delivered at the highest quality… even in the “roaring traffic’s boom” or “silence of a lonely room”.
International Produce Makes Its Way To U.S. Shores
Plenty of countries outside of North America help contribute to year-round, stocked produce shelves in the United States.
By Carol M. Bareuther, RD
Today’s produce department has gone global. The 350-plus SKUs that fill supermarket shelves on an annual or nearly year-round basis are sourced domestically and internationally from virtually every continent except Antarctica. It’s no wonder that with American’s hunger for that something new as well as desire for a constant supply of favorites that grower/shippers/exporters from countries worldwide are looking for buyers in the United States. Here is a sampling of some of the new products and services available to U.S. retailers.
Argentina: Tree Fruit
In 2011, the USDA recognized the Mendoza region, in the central-western part of the country, as medfly free, says Ricardo Ajo Usle, general manger of Buenos Aires-based COPEXEU. This is a key growing area for cherries, peaches and plums. In addition, high-quality pears also grow in this region. The top variety produced, accounting for nearly half of pear production, is Williams followed by Packham’s Triumph. Other varieties familiar in the North American market include Bartlett, D’Anjou and Forelle. Argentina also grows apples in the Mendoza region. “We’re expecting a larger volume of organic apples this season,” says Usle.