| THE MOST TRUSTED NEWS IN PRODUCE | CXXIV, NO. 35 | AUG. 28, 2017 | THEPACKER.COM What’s inside ... Avocado sales on fire Retail, A2 Mulholland Citrus joins Sunkist Growers News, A6 Photos courtesy NatureFresh Farms NatureFresh tables Ohio expansion over labor How do you lead the produce industry for 125 years? By Ashley Nickle NATUREFRESH ployees has been difficult. on hold plans for an expansion of an we’re About 600 people inter-At Del Monte, fresh fruit were fanatics, Ohio greenhouse complex, citing a ‘Canadians and Americans lack of labor. which means we’re also quality fanatics. pany aimed to expand its operations Sustainability there in a couple of years and to ulti mately go from 45 acres to about 180. local, and finding and retaining em-Enthusiastic obsession over the details. “Canadians and Americans re-ally don’t want to do agricultural work,” Quiring said. “When I go to trade shows — and I go to many really don’t want to do agricultural work.’ fanatics. Reliability Peter Quiring, NatureFresh Farms trade shows — this is the No. 1, in fact, pretty much the only topic of conversation today.” fanatics. Full-service fanatics. plans, said NatureFresh owner and or warehouse, and about 40% failed And we’re even value-added fanatics, president Peter Quiring. a drug test that didn’t include mari-allows employees to stay for 10 Among those hired, about 100 with complete category management months, but NatureFresh needs that have quit, and about 40 have been help year-round. and marketing support. employees in Ohio currently. COAST-TO-COAST CONCERN “It’s not a NatureFresh problem, it’s not an Ohio problem,” Quiring said. “This is a coast-to-coast, bor-der-to-border problem.” The American Mushroom In-stitute recently mentioned labor shortages contributed to decreased production in the 2016-17 season, and Northwest pear grower-ship-pers have noted that shortages have sometimes meant being unable to run certain shifts in packing facil-ities or to harvest fruit during the ideal window. Use of the H-2A program in Wash-ington has grown from less than 1,000 workers in 2006 to nearly 14,000 in 2016, according to the Washington State Tree Fruit Commission. Quiring disputes the notion that NatureFresh A6 > What’s your purpose? Opinion, A8 IN MEMORIAM: N.C. sweet potatoes’ Carson Barnes People, A9 Wal-Mart, Kroger, Dole, Driscoll’s join blockchain collaboration By Ashley Nickle season defined by lower volumes, higher WAL-MART, KROGER, Dole and Driscoll’s and other companies are part-nering with IBM on a new collaboration around block-chain technology. For the grocery industry, an appealing attribute of the technology is faster and more precise traceback in the event of a recall. “We saw this as an op-portunity to repre-sent the pro duce indus-try while helping to define GOLDFIELD and shape how this technology can be used to benefit the entire global supply chain,” said Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Westlake Village, Ca-lif.-based Dole Food Co. Brigid McDermott, IBM’s vice president of blockchain business development, said the company will be study-ing two types of costs re-garding food safety: human costs and financial costs. “IBM wants to see mas-sive reductions in both with this system. We want to see fewer people getting sick from the food they eat and companies running their businesses more efficiently. “We expect that the findings from this collab-oration will help to more clearly illuminate areas where blockchain can help address the root causes of these costs,” she said. News of the collaboration comes during a salmonella outbreak — 173 cases at the latest count — that has been tied to maradol papayas from one farm in Mexico. “With produce account-ing for approximately 50% of all recalls in the U.S., it was a priority for us to have produce suppliers partici-pate in this collaboration,” McDermott said. Touring citrus greening Crops & Markets, A11 Bart Minor, president of The Mushroom Council, says The Blend has spiked mushroom sales. According to the American Mushroom Institute, labor issues caused the overall “The implications of both rising wages tion,” Daniel Rahn, project manager for the “The structural shortage of agricultural labor across all operations from the farm to the packinghouse is a critical barrier to foodservice providers to blend, but labor growers and will likely result in price in-creases in line with growing labor costs.” Monterey Mushrooms agreed that labor PILOTS Wal-Mart began conducting pilots on blockchain in late 2016. It ran a pilot in the U.S. using mangoes and another in China using pork, and in June the company reported “very encouraging” results. Wal-Mart vice president for food safety Frank Yian-nas has described block-chain as a way to not only facil-itate fast-er recalls but also to give con-sumers a YIANNAS complete picture of how food gets to their grocery store. “Wal-Mart looks forward to expanding on our initial work by collaborating with others to accelerate explora-tion on how this technology can be used as a more ef-fective food traceability and food safety tool,” he said in the release. P FDA publishes sprouts study Produce Tech, A16 California fall fruit www.thepacker.com A Farm Journal Media publication Aug. 28, 2017 all areas: growing, harvesting, packing and shipping,” Roberts said. It’s harvest time in the Golden State California fall fruit tabloid insert ORGANIC VOLUME The industry produced a record 109 million pounds of certified organic mushrooms in 2016-17, which was a 20% increase from the previous season. Organic mushrooms make up 8% of the category, but that number is expected to grow. FRESHDELMONTE.COM “We @DelMonteFreshProduce expect the trend to continue as it has in the past few years,” Rahn said. 1-800-950-3683 “It’s @DelMonteFresh a small percentage of overall produc-tion, but it has been increasing year by year FRUITS.COM @DelMonteFresh ... The overall number of mushroom grow-down, but organic growers are up.” FRUITFANATICS.COM ers are DelMonteFresh ©2017 Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. What’s online ... mushrooms. Is Trump firing NAFTA? Read more at http://bit.ly/NAFTArecon.