Stemilt creates transportation department…
Stemilt Growers, Inc., Wenatchee, Washington, has created a transportation department to alleviate problems caused by truck scarcities, driver shortages, and high fuel prices. Stemilt used up to 2,800 different carriers last year to move fruit across the country.
The company hired transportation specialist Earl Kollock to head the new department and coordinate the booking of truck and rail services. His focus will be on developing partnerships with carriers to reduce costs and improve services for Stemilt and its customers. He hopes to reduce costs and save time by using GPS (Global Positioning System) to track shipments.
Kollock is the former owner-operator of Service Lines, a Seattle-based trucking company. From 1997 to 2005, he was a transportation analyst for Food Services of America in Seattle.
Crunch Pak works with new French company…
Crunch Pak LLC, a producer of fresh-sliced apples based in Cashmere, Washington, has made a consulting agreement for information and technology with Fraiche Cut SAS of France. Fraiche Cut was formed by the Castang Group to produce and sell fresh-sliced apples in Europe under the Cote Pomme brand. The company is owned by the Herman family, the largest privately owned apple producer in France.
Crunch Pak was among the first to successfully produce and distribute fresh-sliced apples throughout North America. It produces organic sliced apples under the Earthbound Farm organic label.
Fraiche Cut began producing fresh slices in May and worked closely with Crunch Pak throughout the start-up process, from plant design to technology, raw product, and food safety. The two companies are also working on strategic marketing alliances.
Tony Freytag, director of marketing for Crunch Pak, said that other than in the United States and United Kingdom, the fresh-sliced apple market has not been developed. “Sliced apples have become a staple of the value-added produce business here, and we see the same possibilities for Fraiche Cut in Europe,” he said in a press release.
Constellation to acquire Vincor…
Constellation Brands, Inc., and Vincor International recently announced an agreement under which Constellation will buy the Canadian Vincor for more than $1 billion. Vincor, with labels in Washington State, Canada, California, and other countries, was reported to be the eighth largest wine company in
the world. Vincor bought Hogue Cellars in Washington State in 2001. More recently, Constellation bought several Robert Mondavi wineries and labels in California.
Concord growers eligible for benefits…
Washington State Concord grape growers may be eligible for cash payments through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Trade Adjustment Assistance for Farmers program. Under the program, USDA provides technical assistance and cash benefits to growers if an increase in imports of a like commodity has contributed to declining prices and loss of income. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service determined that imports of Concord grapes contributed to a decline in domestic prices for Washington State Concords by more than 20 percent during August 1, 2004, to July 31, 2005, in comparison to the previous five-year average. Preliminary payment rate to growers from the Farm Service Agency is $18 per ton. Growers must apply for the program by June 26 and can obtain an application from their local farm service center.
California wine continues growth trend…
California wine sales in the United States reached a record high of 441 million gallons (185.4 million nine-liter cases) last year, according to industry analyst Jon Fredrikson. Total California winery shipments to all markets, domestic and foreign, reached 532 million gallons, compared to more than 521 million gallons in 2004.
Fredrikson’s report shows that California wines now represent about two out of every three bottles sold in the U.S. wine market, or 63 percent of the country’s wine sales.
The strong performance, which reflects the overall growth trend of wine demand in the United States, was attributed by Fredrikson and the California Wine Institute to several developments: creative, value-oriented wines; wine consumption increases in all gender, ethnic groups, and regions; favorable public opinion generated by the movie Sideways; and a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling dealing with direct-to-consumer sales.
While wine sales are up in U.S. markets, preliminary export numbers for 2005 declined 17 percent in value and 16 percent in volume, according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service. The Wine Institute cited a change in European wine sales and the strength of the dollar against the euro as the main reasons for the decline in exports to Europe. Some wineries are shipping their brands as bulk wine instead of bottled product to Europe. The bulk wine is then bottled abroad and distributed throughout Europe. U.S. wine exports to Canada were up 16 percent in 2005 compared to the past year, and wine sales in 2005 to Japan were holding steady.
Farm managers graduate in Tonasket…
Three students in the Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program’s farm management class in Tonasket, Washington, received awards for outstanding contributions. They are José Ramón Luna García, Aristeo René Maldonado, and Guadalupe Reynoso. Gerardo Guzmán was named the most improved student and María del Refugio del Carmen Lepe and José Orozco had perfect attendance.
Also graduating were: María Evelia Maldonado, Ignacio Hurtado, Maria D. Vega de Luna, Crispín Ramírez, Edelmira Ramírez García, Maria Alvarado Sixtos, Luis Miguel Alvarado, Miguel Alvarado Chávez, Abel Rangel García, Jose Santos Gutierrez, José Gutierrez, and Ramón Bogarín.