Superfresh Growers names O’Malley president

Conner O’Malley

Domex Superfresh Growers recently announced the promotion of Conner O’Malley to president, according to a news release. In his new role, O’Malley will lead sales, operations, marketing, production management and grower relations.

“Conner is a gifted leader and has an unparalleled work ethic,” said Robert Kershaw, the company’s CEO. “He has been instrumental in cultivating a team-centric mindset. He is empathetic, a clear communicator and embraces our culture. This culture permeates how we treat teammates, growers and customers. It takes humility to embrace this culture and genuinely enjoy helping and seeing others succeed. If you truly enjoy seeing your growers, customers and teammates around you successful, then magical things can happen. Conner thrives in this culture, and I enjoy seeing how others have embraced his leadership.”

O’Malley has experience in produce and in farming practices, fruit specifications, manifests, technology and variety development. He has also worked in all operational aspects of retail support, including forecasting, promotional activities, merchandising, replenishment, quality control, logistics and accounting. During his time on the sales team, he built transparent and trust-filled relationships with customers across the Superfresh business.

“I have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of some industry veterans that came before me,” said O’Malley. “It is an honor to support and work alongside such a hardworking team of men and women. I look forward to the great things we will accomplish in the years ahead, aiming toward the common goal that we share with our grower and retail partners: to increase consumption and feed more people fresh fruit.”

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Reemoon installing new cherry sorting line in Chile

A schematic of Reemoon’s 12-lane cherry sorting system. (Courtesy Reemoon)

Reemoon Sorting International, a high-tech enterprise with more than 20 years of experience specializing in the development and manufacturing of postharvest machines for fruits and vegetables, recently announced plans to install a new 12-lane cherry sorting line at Fushun Fruit in Chile, according to a news release. The new line will be ready for this year’s Southern Hemisphere cherry season.

The new line will include a lug/tote tipper and water dump tank with leaf extraction and cherry elevator; a presort table; patented cluster cutters; ergonomic, gentle-handling, small-fruit eliminators; dewatering distribution belts; two six-lane high-speed sizers with Fruscan 7 AI sorters; and gentle-filling, semiautomated packing stations with optional future upgrade capabilities for fully automated box filling. It also will have a cherry box conveyer to move all types of full cherry boxes through the box sealing and stamping area. The full box handling is compatible with Reemoon’s automated box accumulation and robotic box palletizing.

Reemoon expects to improve the production from 2 to 2.7 metric tons per hour on the 12 lanes, with an emphasis on gentle handling for exporting cherries to international markets. Reemoon’s Fruscan camera system will ensure 90 percent or greater defect sorting results and will reduce the diameter sorting error rate to 10 percent or less.

Reemoon has assembled a team of technicians and engineers with decades of fruit and vegetable packing experience to provide its customers with high-quality designs, production, service and parts support.

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Valent hires Seebold as senior director

Kenny Seebold

Valent U.S.A. recently announced that Kenneth “Kenny” Seebold will be the new senior director of field research and development, according to a news release. He replaces Mike Riffle, who is retiring after more than 35 years of service.

Seebold will be responsible for all technical programs that drive field development of the company’s agricultural crop protection and enhancement portfolio for North America. He will oversee all field R&D operations including Valent’s research stations, product development, field discovery biology, technical operations and field market development teams.

“Kenny is an exceptional leader with a proven track record of developing innovative solutions to meet the needs of growers across North America,” said Matt Plitt, president and CEO. “He is known for building effective, collaborative relationships with team members and customers alike, and I’m excited for him to step in and lead our field R&D team as they continue to advance our portfolio and pipeline.”

Seebold, who joined Valent in 2014, previously worked as an associate extension professor with the University of Kentucky’s department of plant pathology and was also an assistant professor in plant pathology with the University of Georgia.

Valent U.S.A., headquartered in San Ramon, California, works to develop and market products that advance sustainable agriculture, protect crops, enhance crop yields, improve food quality and safeguard public health.

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Brandt’s extends partnership with Cep Innovation, Novadi

The management team of Brandt’s Fruit Trees, based in Yakima, Washington, recently met with longtime associates Cep Innovation and Novadi to renew the collaborative agreement that names Brandt’s Fruit Trees as the exclusive representative for the testing and commercialization of the French breeding companies’ managed cultivars and rootstocks in the United States, according to a news release.

“Brandt’s Fruit Trees is sensitive to the challenges growers face today, which is why we started our ‘Spray Less’ program, a category of cultivars that offer the grower an opportunity to economize in crop protection costs,” said Kevin Brandt, vice president of Brandt’s. “Through the relationship with Cep Innovation and Novadi, we have expanded this category to include a series of scab- and mildew-resistant apples branded as Story, Mandy and Galy, as well as the Aramis apricot line of six plum pox-resistant cultivars.”

Additional selections offered by Brandt’s from the Cep Innovation and Novadi group include a wide range of flat peaches and nectarines and also cherry selections tolerant to rain-induced cracking. Both French companies specialize in fruit trees that are adaptable to various soil conditions, are consistently productive and feature a natural resistance to bio-aggressors such as scab, powdery mildew, aphid and plum pox.

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Cultiva, BioSafe partner for distribution agreement

Cultiva recently announced it has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with BioSafe Systems LLC, according to a news release. This partnership provides greater access for retailers to bring Cultiva products to growers in much of the United States.

“We’ve seen great success in helping growers maximize the marketable yield of their fruit crop with Parka in the Western United States, especially in the Pacific Northwest and California,” said Luis Hernandez, CEO of Cultiva. “We’re excited to enter this partnership with BioSafe Systems to help specialty crop growers in the Eastern United States do the same.”

Retailers in 37 states can now place Parka orders through their BioSafe Systems representative.

“One of the positive changes BioSafe Systems is building on in 2023 is partnering with like-minded businesses within the biochemical industry,” said Lauren Crane, president and CEO of BioSafe Systems. “We’re looking forward to our alliance with Cultiva to provide natural and innovative plant health solutions like Parka and SureSeal technology in the Eastern United States to support the success of a market we share.”

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Theia fungicide receives registration in California

AgBiome Inc. recently announced that its Theia fungicide has now been approved by state regulators in California for use on specialty crops, according to a news release.

“California growers continue to look for effective and sustainable solutions that protect their crops from detrimental diseases,” said Adam Burnhams, AgBiome chief commercial officer. “Theia fungicide’s approval in California gives growers a new tool that offers excellent control of a variety of diseases, such as powdery mildew and fusarium.”

Theia fungicide protects crops through multiple modes of action by blocking fungal and bacterial pathogens and activating natural defenses in the plant. The biofungicide contains the active ingredient Bacillus subtilis strain AFS032321. Theia fungicide received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval in June 2022 and is registered in 49 states.

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Hazel Technologies offers new monitoring apple-storage system

Hazel Technologies recently released its Apple System, which provides a complete long-term storage treatment solution for apple growers and packers, according to a news release. The system includes Hazel’s controlled-atmosphere fumigation technology and the company’s support service to maximize independence and confidence during 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) self-applications.

The service includes Hazel Datica, an in-room device for data collection and analysis, and Datica Assurance, a team of product experts who are actively monitoring the treatment and are ready to intervene if a problem is spotted.

“We’re really excited by the idea of maintaining the human element even during these self-applications,” said Kevin McCarthy, the company’s senior marketing strategy manager. “With Hazel’s Apple System, apple customers receive 1-MCP application, the data generated from that room application and human, technical-expert oversight during treatments for the price of just about any standard 1-MCP-only offering.”

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New chief operating officer joins Redox Bio-Nutrients

Sam Straight

Redox Bio-Nutrients recently announced the addition of Sam Straight as its new chief operating officer and general counsel, according to a news release. Following a 24-year career at the Salt Lake City-based law firm Ray, Quinney & Nebeker, Straight’s new position involves a wide range of responsibilities.

“I am thrilled to take on this new challenge,” Straight said. “I have worked with Redox as a client for many years and have the greatest respect and appreciation for its people and its innovative work. I am excited to help Redox move even closer to its goals to be the world’s leading bio-nutrient company in agriculture and turf and to help growers achieve the most productive, efficient and sustainable results.”

Founded in 1994, Redox Bio-Nutrients has manufacturing facilities in Idaho, Georgia, Texas and Mexico, providing several dozen patented and proprietary products, both conventional and organic. These nutritional products help in four key areas: root growth, soil health, abiotic stress defense and nutrient efficiency. Redox products are sold to agricultural, turf and ornamental markets throughout the United States and in 20 countries.

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Elite Apple Co. partners with Honeybear Brands

Elite Apple Co., a privately held, grower-owned production facility in Sparta, Michigan, will join forces with Honeybear Brands to market its apple varieties, according to a news release. For more than 40 years, the group of growers that makes up Elite Apple Co. has been growing premium apples on “The Ridge.”

“Honeybear Brands and the Elite Apple Co. fit seamlessly together, as they both believe in progress and furthering the produce industry,” said Don Roper, vice president of Honeybear Brands. “On the horticultural front, the Elite Apple Co. is investing in their orchard practices to produce fruit from the most impressive orchards in the Midwest today. From a facility standpoint, they are heavily invested in modern technology to simultaneously provide high quality and large volumes of premium packed fruit, with the ability to scale. Their team is a natural match for our expanding Midwest and national distribution programs.”

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