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ReedTMS July 2017 Employee of the Month!

Congratulations to Andy Patel, ReedTMS Logistics’ Employee of the month for July. Andy has been an incredible asset to the company and is regarded by his peers as one of the most innovative employees in the entire office.

 

Some of the comments as to why he was nominated are as follow:

“Andy has taken oven the marketing department and sprinted with it. He has found a way to get employees involved in a cross-departmental way that wasn’t present before.”

“Andy always shows up with a positive attitude and has brought an innovative spirit that has helped propel success in different facets of the company”

“He has taken the lead on enhancing our brand both locally and nationally. We are doing more events than ever before and the general moral of the organization seems to be reaching a new high”

“We are starting to see high-level partnerships with different organizations form through our marketing efforts”

Thanks for all you do Andy, keep up the good work!

ReedTMS Logistics Volunteers at Feeding Tampa Bay

ReedTMS Logistics kicked off its fall philanthropic push on Saturday, August 12th by volunteering at Feeding Tampa Bay.

Feeding Tampa Bay, part of the national Feeding America network, focuses on providing food to the more than 700,000 hungry in the 10-county area of West Central Florida.

You might be surprised to learn that Florida is fourth in the nation for family hunger. Or, that 60% of the population in West Central Florida is eligible for food stamps. Many at-risk students won’t eat at all between lunch on Friday and breakfast Monday morning. Although these facts may surprise you, they are hard realities for the one in six in our region who live with daily hunger.

According to the new Hunger in America 2014 study conducted nationally by Feeding America, you would be surprised to learn the characteristics of the 841,000 hungry people in the community served yearly by Feeding Tampa Bay.
Too often, we associate being hungry with negative stereotypes, such as being homeless or uneducated, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. The new Hunger in America data humanizes the hungry in our community by showing they’re largely families or seniors with homes. They truly are our neighbors, our friends, our fellow church members and our coworkers.

Employees at ReedTMS, helped package food into 20 different categories in order for the goods to be easily distributed throughout the community. When it was all said and done 9,823 meals were packaged for malnourished families in the Tampa Bay area on Saturday morning!

For More information about Feeding Tampa Bay and how you can get involved in the cause, please visit their website here.

Story By : Andy Patel

Citrus greening threatening your trees? Florida will send you tiny wasps

Homeowners with citrus trees in their yards can apply online to have a vial of tiny parasitic wasps mailed to them, that can then be released onto citrus trees.

To defend the state’s citrus crop from an industry-crippling infection, scientists with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services are fighting pest with parasites.

Florida residents can apply online to the department for tiny parasitic wasps called tamarixia that hunt the Asian citrus psyllid, an invasive insect that spreads the fatal disease “citrus greening.”

The psyllid carries the infection, which plugs the plant’s phloem, starves the tree and causes fruit to drop prematurely. Tamarixia feed on the pest and lay eggs inside young psyllids, killing them and, hopefully, the bacteria that cause the disease, said biological scientist Gloria Lotz.

At a mass-rearing lab in Gainesville, one of a few throughout the state, Lotz and fellow researchers supply over 1 million tamarixia every year to commercial citrus growers and now, Florida residents who want to protect their backyard citrus trees.

The tamarixia release program is one of several tools researchers and growers use to slow greening’s spread, including pesticides to kill the disease-causing bacteria and hydroponic systems to keep infected plants healthy.

But there’s no single solution to a complex problem like citrus greening. It’s infected nearly 100 percent of the state’s mature citrus trees, said Steve Futch, a citrus agent at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

Biocontrol methods usually operate as a “series of waves,” he said; when there are fewer pests, the parasite that hunts them starts to decline, too.

The chances of eradicating the psyllid and the infection with tamarixia are slim, he said — but it should work well in smaller, urban environments, where wasps can fly between citrus trees on different properties.

The citrus industry employs nearly 76,000 growers, truckers, pickers, and packers who face job loss if crop production continues to decline. But Futch said despite the bleak prognosis, Florida’s staple crop will survive—though it may be a bit smaller.

“There will always be a citrus industry in Florida,” he said. “It will be different in the future than it is today and in the past.”

Citrus tree owners can apply here to have a small vial of the tiny wasps sent to their home: http://bit.ly/2vfcI5V

Story By Scottie Andrew, GateHouse Media Services

Growers expect big strawberry volume for late season

Growers expect bountiful summer strawberry supplies to carry over into autumn.

Strawberries were abundant in the summer, and that trend should continue as the season heads toward autumn, marketers say.

“Right now, there’s still a lot of strawberries available in promotional quantities into September, and then we transition to a fall crop out of Oxnard and that goes into December,” said Jim Grabowski, director of marketing with Watsonville, Calif.-based Well-Pict Inc.

Well-Pict grows strawberries and raspberries for the late-season deal on about 700 acres in Oxnard, Calif., Grabowski said.

The late-season deal has a challenge not like any other, Grabowski said.

“The trouble is, this time of year, we have a lot of competition from other fruits out there,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people fighting for promotional spaces on the ad pages and space in the produce department. This is our time to work harder.”

Summertime strawberry promotions are ubiquitous. It falls on marketers to keep the momentum going in the late summer and fall, Grabowski said.

“It’s a matter of reminding people,” he said.

“They’ve been seeing (strawberries) all summer and, once you transition to fall, if you can keep retailers to keep them front and center, they still will move.

“It may not have to be the No. 1 item in the ad — the idea is to be in the ad.”

Strawberries have eye appeal, which counts for a lot in a retail produce department, Grabowski said.

“If strawberries can stay in a good position, prominent in the produce department, they still will sell,” he said.

Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Berry Growers has a fall crop in Santa Maria, Calif., said Craig Moriyama, director of berry operations.

“By design we set that back from a year ago because there was too much overlap (with the Salinas Valley crop),” he said.

“We pushed that back more toward an end-of-August, September and first-of-October-type deal. Oxnard will go in October and November with their fall strawberries.”

Production has been steady over the summer, with somewhat mild conditions, Moriyama said.

Everything looks good for the fall crop at CBS Farms in Watsonville, said Charlie Staka, operations manager.

“We are on track with that crop, and it looks like we’ll have good volume for the fall,” he said.

The late-season deal should begin under “stable” market conditions, said Jason Fung, berry category manager with the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group.

“Obviously, the Fourth of July and post-Fourth often has an effect on all items on produce,” he said.

As of July 14, strawberries from the Salinas-Watsonville District packed in flats of eight 1-pound containers with lids were $5-9 for size medium to large, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A year earlier, the same item was $8.

The start of the 2017 season was a bit rocky, slowed by some cool, wet conditions in the late winter and early spring, but the crop settled in nicely afterward and continues to produce good-quality fruit, said Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing for Watsonville-based California Giant Berry Farms.

“We are not expecting any real shifts in volume for the next several weeks, as summer weather patterns have really settled in and volume will be somewhat consistent on a weekly basis,” she said.

Story by Jim Offner at Thepacker.com

Organic sales inch upward for some foodservice suppliers

Organic produce generally isn’t as popular among foodservice operators as it is at retail, largely because of its price.

Still, several suppliers offer a number of organic products for their foodservice customers, and many report at least a small uptick in sales.

Church Brothers Farms, Salinas, Calif., launched its organic salad offerings about a year ago, said Kori Tuggle, vice president of marketing and business development.

“We’ve started and have kept it simple with three ‘staple’ organic salad items: wild arugula, spinach and spring mix,” she said.

The company’s organic demand is increasing “modestly” among foodservice customers, Tuggle said.

“I believe operators are still looking to offer organic items. However it has to meet their food cost limitations,” she said.

Boskovich Farms Inc., Oxnard, Calif., offers a full line of organic vegetables “with sustained growth projected for 2017,” said Mike O’Leary, vice president of sales and marketing for the fresh-cut division.

Sales of organic baby spinach have held steady, and it continues to be popular at foodservice, he said.

Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., continues to expand its product offerings to meet the demands of consumers who prefer organic produce, including avocados and bananas, said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing.

“We supply different offerings to different segments or venues,” he said. “For instance, organic avocados are sold to two of the casual dining chains we supply.”

Demand for Arcadian Harvest Organic from Mann Packing Co. Inc., Salinas, Calif., continues to grow, said Gina Nucci, director of corporate marketing.

The product is particularly popular at universities and organic-focused restaurants as well as retailers, like Whole Foods salad bars, she said.

Arcadian Harvest Organic, available year-round, combines four lettuce varieties, like green leaf, red leaf, tangos, lollo rosa, batavia and oak leaf, according to the company’s website.

In the avocado category, Robb Bertels, vice president of marketing for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., said there currently is a “little bit of demand” for organic product at foodservice, especially from specialty restaurants. But he said demand seems to be growing.

“Millennials have a certain passion for organic,” he said, so he expects that trend to result in increased organic sales.

Mission Produce ships organic avocados in white boxes with purple accents so that the product stands out in distribution centers or storage areas, he said, distinguishing it from boxes of conventional fruit.

D’Arrigo Bros. Co., Salinas, Calif., offers organic versions of its Andy Boy romaine hearts and Andy Boy broccoli rabe, said Claudia Pizarro-Villalobos, director of marketing and culinary.

Andy Boy organic romaine hearts come in cartons of 12 three-count packs and seven six-count packs, and Andy Boy organic broccoli rabe comes in 1-pound bunches.

Story by Tom Burfield

Legislation introduced in House to delay ELD mandate two years

A bill has been filed in the U.S. House to delay the compliance date of the federal government’s electronic logging device two years, to December 2019. If enacted, carriers would have two additional years to adopt electronic logging devices.

The legislation was introduced Tuesday and referred to the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Texas Republican Rep. Brian Babin filed the ELD Extension Act of 2017. Babin’s introduction of the bill came a day after a House panel recommended that the U.S. DOT study whether a “full or targeted delay” of the mandate is needed. Both developments signal that efforts to engage Congress on the issue have gained traction. In a report issued Monday, members of the House cited the burden placed on smaller carriers, like owner-operators, and questions surrounding enforcement and “technological concerns” as reasons to delay the ELD mandate.

For Babin’s ELD delay bill to become law, it must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Trump.

Other than passed as a standalone bill, the legislation could also be attached to broader legislation, such as the DOT appropriations bills currently in the works in both chambers of Congress.

Lawmakers have used the DOT funding bills as avenues to enact trucking policy reforms in recent years, such as the reversal of some of the hours of service changes implemented in 2013.

Story by James Jaillet