Supermarket Dietitian Program Features California Grapes

By the California Table Grape Commission

For the last three months of 2021, retail dietitians shared tempting ideas for incorporating California grapes into meals with their clients in four states.

Nine registered dietitians and licensed food nutritionists from a large grocery chain highlighted California grapes from October through December in 168 stores in Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, and Delaware. Dietitians held in-person and online classes designed to inspire their customer clientele with creative ways to use California grapes, including building a better charcuterie board. Among other things, the team of dietitians used blog posts and podcasts, social media, and an “Ask the Expert” column in Savory magazine to tempt consumers with grape usage and recipe ideas.

“The outreach the dietitians conducted was broad and deep,” said Karen Hearn, vice president of domestic marketing for the California Table Grape Commission.

“It was also beautifully done, full of enticing ideas and mouthwatering photos. The work was tied to retail promotions and we know it helped motivate consumers to purchase. The program will serve as a model for future work.”

Hearn noted that the timing of the promotion was important because over 45 percent of the California grape crop shipped October through December.

2022-01-28T14:28:12-08:00January 28th, 2022|

New Book Shows Grapes a Top Food for Immunity and Brain Health

By California Table Grape Commission

Grapes are a top food for immunity and brain health, according to a new book soon to be released by dietitian and author Patricia Bannan.

The book is titled “From Burnout to Balance: 60+ Healing Recipes & Simple Strategies to Boost Mood, Immunity, Focus & Sleep.” The book lists top foods in several categories, among them brain and immune health, with grapes on the list for both.

In addition to the recipes, Bannan includes grapes in her “Nearly No-Cook Meal Ideas” section of the book.

“Grapes are my go-to ingredient for color, hydration, and nutrition. As a snack or recipe ingredient, grapes are an easy, healthy choice for wellness. Studies show that grapes are linked to benefits in multiple areas of health, including support for brain and immune health,” said Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, author of “From Burnout to Balance.” “Three of my favorite recipes with grapes in ‘From Burnout to Balance’ are my Simple Salmon Burgers with Grape Salsa, Lemony Farro and Lentil Bowls with Shrimp and Grapes, and my Kale, Sweet Potato & Grape Salad with Walnuts. Not only are these recipes delicious, they are packed with nutrients to support both brain and immune health.”

Bannan will promote her new book throughout the upcoming California table grape season.

2022-01-20T08:13:24-08:00January 20th, 2022|

California Table Grape Growers Continue Path to Mechanization and Automation

California table grape growers, collectively through the California Table Grape Commission, are working to mechanize and automate operational functions, with a goal of reducing costs and increasing the efficiency of vineyard operations

By California Table Grape Commission

California table grape growers, collectively through the California Table Grape Commission, are working to mechanize and automate operational functions, with a goal of reducing costs and increasing the efficiency of vineyard operations.

One of the priorities is to minimize the movement of labor and maximize production per foot travelled. A time and motion study conducted on harvest activities helped the industry understand where and how much time is spent on picking and packing tasks. A second time and motion study on in-house packing is in the process of being completed; the goal is to understand how labor is distributed across tasks and facilities, and identify potential areas of mechanization and automation.

Another priority is to introduce automation to the harvesting of table grapes. This work is being done with the use of autonomous carts that aid in-vineyard movement of freshly harvested grapes. Other cart capabilities being tested include utilizing sensors to detect ripe berries and robotics to pick ripe berry clusters without damaging the fruit. Other sensor research and development includes crop mapping and estimation via cluster counting, berry size measurement, and berry color detection as well as remote monitoring for increased water use efficiency.

The commission is also researching mechanized tools to improve vineyard pruning efficiency including hand-held battery-powered pruners, and tractor-mounted mechanical pruners workable in table grape trellis systems. A related product review on global tools and technologies available for mechanical pruning of table grapes was recently completed.

The commission is considering other categories of innovation such as sensing and spot treating for pests and diseases, automated production and packing practices, and new vineyard infrastructure to facilitate automation and mechanization.

2022-01-06T10:39:20-08:00January 6th, 2022|

Produce Passes All Residue Testing in 2017

FDA Produce Residue Sampling “Once Again” Verifies Safety

Last week the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its 2017 pesticide residue sampling data results. FDA concluded: “The latest set of results demonstrate once again that the majority of the foods we test are well below the federal limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Note the term “once again” in FDA’s statement. They used it because government residue sampling data year after year reaffirms the safety of our food and the exceptionally high level of compliance among farmers with laws and regulations covering the use of organic and conventional pesticides.

Let’s get a little technical for a moment and focus on how FDA residue sampling is protective of consumers. FDA employs a three-fold strategy to enforce the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) tolerances or safety standards for pesticide residues.
If you haven’t heard – September is National Fruit and Vegetable month. Yes, it is time to celebrate the only food group health experts and nutritionists agree we should all eat more of every day for better health and a longer life.
While decades of studies have shown the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables are overwhelming and significant, the safety of both organic and conventional produce is also impressive. Government sampling data shows an over 99% compliance rate among farmers with the laws and regulations required for pesticide applications on organic and conventional fruit and vegetable crops. This led the United States Department of Agriculture to state that: “The U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world.”

Many health organizations are promoting National Fruit and Vegetable month to remind consumers about the importance of increasing consumption – only one in 10 of us eat enough of these nutrient-packed foods each day.

However, studies show a growing barrier to consumption is fear-based messaging which inaccurately calls into question the safety of the more affordable and accessible fruits and veggies. This messaging is predominantly carried by the same activist groups year after year despite studies which show that “prescriptions” for fruits and veggies could reduce health care costs by $40 billion annually. Or that 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year.

2019-09-23T15:06:22-07:00September 23rd, 2019|

Table Grape Shipments Soar

California Table Grape Industry Continues Record-Breaking Shipping Season

News Release

California table grape growers shipped more than 27.7 million boxes into the worldwide marketplace from October 13 to November 30, the highest amount ever for the time period, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The previous seven-week shipment record during the same time period was set in 2013. Earlier this season, the five-week shipping record for the time period between September 8 through October 12 was broken.

The three-month period of September 1 to November 30 set another record with over 55 million boxes of grapes shipped—an all-time high, according to USDA, beating the previous record set in 2013 for this time period.

According to Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, an aggressive fall and winter promotion program continues, with shipments expected to continue through the end of January.

2018-12-14T15:40:18-08:00December 14th, 2018|

USDA Purchases More Than $10 Million in California Table Grapes

Food Banks, Other Food Programs to Get Grapes as Part of Tariff Mitigation Program

New Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently completed a purchase of more than 450,000 boxes of California table grapes as part of its tariff mitigation program.

California table grapes were included in the USDA Food Purchasing Program for the first time as part of the mitigation program because of the 53 percent tariff imposed on U.S. grapes by China.CA Table Grapes

According to the most recent USDA data, shipments of California grapes to China are down 42.2 percent in volume and 41.2 percent in value in 2018 compared to 2017.

“The 2018 season has been a tough one for table grape growers,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. “The tariffs on table grapes have been painful, but the real harm has been caused by the fact that tariffs on multiple competing commodities, such as cherries, stone fruits, and apples, caused more fruit of all kinds to be sold in the domestic market. The USDA purchasing program comes at a good time for table grape growers and is appreciated.”

Table grape suppliers interested in participating in the food purchasing program had to go through a rigorous process to become a USDA vendor and then if approved, submit bids in a competitive process. Multiple Valley companies were awarded the opportunity to supply California grapes to customers across the country.

The grapes will be distributed to food banks and other food programs around the country, starting in December.

2018-12-07T15:46:23-08:00December 7th, 2018|

Farmers Launch New Health Advertising Campaign for Grapes

Ad Series Highlights Links Between Grapes and Healthy Heart, Brain, and Colon

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

A new ad campaign from the farmers of fresh California grapes highlights how consuming normal amounts of grapes each day may contribute to long-term health by helping to maintain a healthy heart, brain, and colon.

Reaching consumers online and through print and broadcast, the campaign revolves around a series of ads focusing on the power of the whole fruit: grapes contain more than 1,600 documented natural plant compounds, including antioxidants and other polyphenols.

Each ad highlights key research from scientific study in the area of heart, brain, and colon health. Scientists believe it is the combination of natural plant compounds and daily consumption that provides benefit.

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

“Consumers have always loved grapes for their great taste, convenience, share-ability, and beauty. Through this campaign, consumers will learn that the health benefits grapes provide go beyond the basics of eating a favorite fruit as part of a healthy diet,” said Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president. “It is already established that grapes are a heart-healthy food, and now research in the areas of brain and colon health is emerging that suggests that grapes may have an even broader role to play in long-term health.”

Nave noted that research into these three areas of health, and numerous others, will continue.

The campaign will run in magazines and newspapers in both print and online, on health-related websites, on television and radio, and on social media.

2018-10-01T15:35:35-07:00October 1st, 2018|

Enjoy California Table Grapes Year-Round

Harvest Will Continue into December

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

The California grape season is beginning, and the harvest will continue into the winter. California Ag Today recently spoke with Kathleen Nave, president of the Fresno based California Table Grape Commission, about table grapes.

The California Table Grape Commission was established by an act of the state legislature in 1967 and approved by a grower referendum in 1969. The purpose of the commission is to maintain and expand markets for fresh California grapes and to create new, larger interstate and foreign markets.

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

“We are just getting started with a California season. We will be picking grapes all the way into December,” Nave said.

Grapes are a spring, summer, fall and early winter fruit. Sixty percent of the table grapes that are harvested in the state of California are harvested after September first.

“I would just ask people to remember that they can enjoy California grapes in the spring and the summer, in the fall and into the early winter,” Nave said.

There are new varieties of California table grapes. These grapes have been grown by and designed to provide more product for the customer.

“New varieties of grapes were created that would allow growers to continue growing and harvesting in the late October, November, and December time period,” Nave explained.

These varieties were created with the climate in mind. This way, they can thrive and be packed and shipped in November and early December.

“It takes a long time to develop new varieties of table grapes, get them out in the field, learn how to grow them and to get them to the marketplace,” Nave said.

2018-06-19T15:28:20-07:00June 19th, 2018|

California Table Grape Commission is Raisin the Bar for a Fruitful Industry

Research is Huge for the Commission

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

With grape season in full swing, there’s an abundance of fresh, local grapes in our grocery stores. While our farmers are hard at work, so is the California Table Grape Commission, and their president Kathleen Nave. They are not only making their presence known in the media but are constantly doing research to improve the industry as a whole.

The California Table Grape Commission has been doing viniculture research since 1972 and is funded by growers.

“The commission does a lot of research on ways in which to help growers grow more grapes more efficiently,” Nave said.

This is done by trying to figure out how to grow grapes with fewer inputs, an example being less water.

Nave also explained the research they do to find the benefits of eating grapes, saying, “We do a lot of health research on those 1,600 phytonutrients that are found in grapes to try to pin down the ways in which grapes are good for us, as it relates to various disease states.”

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

Although research is huge for the commission, Nave described their relationship with retailers in the U.S., Canada, and about 30 other countries as “the heart of the commission’s work.” This includes urging retailers to promote grapes by putting them on the shelf, offering multiple varieties, and carrying California grapes from May to January.

In addition, Nave talked about the major presence the commission is making in the media in order to reach consumers.

“We’re on The Food Network [on] television as well as The Cooking Channel, and then we do a lot on social media,” Nave said.

The commission is active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. In fact, Nave noted that their social media presence has quadrupled in the past two years.

Their goal is to showcase the beauty and versatility of California Grapes and make known the quality of work that the California table grape growers are doing every day.

2021-05-12T11:05:11-07:00June 13th, 2018|

Time for California Table Grapes

Buy Local: Make a Difference One Grape at a Time

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

You might want to take a second look when reaching for fresh grapes in your local grocery store, said Kathleen Nave, president of the Fresno-based California Table Grape Commission.  She urged buyers to choose California table grapes when grocery shopping.

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission president

“It can be convenient to reach for the nearest bag in the store when turning to grapes for a healthy snack, but what if we told you those grapes could be from places as far as Mexico or Chile? What if we then gave you the option to have some right out of your backyard?” Nave asked.

“If you have the choice, please choose the California grapes, because those are the grapes that are supporting our rural communities here,” she said.

Nave explained that the California Grape Commission is pushing retailers hard to get their grapes up on the shelf, and they need consumers to support them. She said that if the bag says U.S., then it is from California, as California grows 99 percent of the grapes that are commercially produced in the United States.

Nave explained that the best way to make sure you are buying local is by asking.

“Ask your produce manager for U.S. or for California grapes. That’ll make a big difference,” she said.

2018-06-08T16:09:19-07:00June 8th, 2018|
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