California Table Grape Industry Applauds Pause to Chilean Systems Approach, Encourages Permanent Abandonment of Risky Scheme

Courtesy of the California Table Grape Commission

Applauding the recent decision by USDA to pause regulatory work on the table grape systems approach proposed by Chile, Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, said the industry is encouraging USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to permanently abandon the risky proposal.

According to comments submitted in the Federal Register by the California Table Grape Commission, the implementation of the proposed systems approach would end the current empirically effective requirement that all table grapes from Chile be fumigated before distribution in the United States. The published comments note that the current fumigation is highly effective at killing pests that pose serious risk to the California table grape industry.

“The Chilean proposal abandons an empirically successful treatment regime in favor of an ill-defined systems approach through which many invasive pests could travel. The change would introduce a significant risk of potentially devastating infestations to the wine, juice, raisin, and
table grape crops across the country,” said Nave.

Noting a recent and very public push by Chilean importers that urged USDA to publish the proposed systems approach in the Federal Register as a final rule in time for the upcoming Chilean season, Nave said that Chile has perfectly adequate access to the U.S. marketplace. “Chilean table grape growers have been shipping under the fumigation requirement for decades,” Nave said. “The latest three-year average volume of table grapes from Chile to the U.S. is forty million 18-pound boxes so the idea that Chilean growers won’t be able to supply the U.S. market without this new untried system is simply not true. ”

Nave said that U.S. producers do not want this system put in place and the fact that Chilean
importers do, should carry no weight with USDA.

2023-11-17T09:26:16-08:00November 17th, 2023|

Grape Consumption Benefits Eye Health in Human Study of Older Adults

Courtesy of the California Table Grape Commission

Grape intake improved macular pigment accumulation and downregulated harmful biomarkers

In a recent randomized, controlled human study, consuming grapes for 16 weeks improved key markers of eye health in older adults. The study, published in the scientific journal Food & Function looked at the impact of regular consumption of grapes on macular pigment accumulation and other biomarkers of eye health.
This is the first human study on this subject, and the results reinforce earlier, preliminary studies where consuming grapes was found to protect retinal structure and function.

Science has shown that an aging population has a higher risk of eye disease and vision problems. Key risk factors for eye disease include 1) oxidative stress and 2) high levels of ocular advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs may contribute to many eye diseases by damaging the vascular components of the retina, impairing cellular function, and causing oxidative stress. Dietary antioxidants can decrease oxidative stress and inhibit the formation of AGEs, with possible beneficial effects on the retina, such as an improvement in Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD). Grapes are a natural source of antioxidants and other

In this new study, 34 human subjects consumed either grapes (equivalent to 1 ½ cups of grapes per day) or a placebo for 16 weeks. The grape eaters showed a significant increase in MPOD, plasma antioxidant capacity, and total phenolic content compared to those on placebo. Those who didn’t consume grapes saw a significant increase in harmful AGEs, as measured in the skin. “Our study is the first to show that grape consumption beneficially impacts eye health in humans which is very exciting, especially with a growing aging population,” said Dr. Jung Eun Kim. “Grapes are an easy, accessible fruit that studies have shown can have a beneficial impact in normal amounts of just 1 ½ cups per day.”

2023-10-05T16:09:57-07:00October 5th, 2023|

Commission to Expand Export Market Demand for California Table Grapes

By Nick Nakashian

The California Table Grape Commission is positioned to expand international demand for California table grapes in 16 target markets with its 2023 export marketing campaign.

The 16 target markets for the 2023 season represented 94.4 percent of export volume June through December in 2022. Of those markets, El Salvador, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, and Vietnam increased in both volume and value in 2022 compared to 2021 despite a variety of global export challenges. “In spite of labor and shipping challenges, and inflation and the value of the dollar, California table grapes still found success in export markets last season,”
said commission president Kathleen Nave. “In 2023 the commission is determined to capitalize on that success and plans to expand market share of California table grapes in the target export markets,” said Nave.

The foundation of the 2023 campaign focuses on retail promotions, including providing a variety of retailer incentives. Digital retail promotions are planned throughout the target export markets. Wholesaler promotions are planned in select markets to reach smaller retailers with promotional activity. Campaign expansions include shopper app and social media advertising in all markets, plus work with influencers and retailer-tagged television in select markets. Promotional activities align with high-volume months in each market. “While there still may be challenges ahead for global exports, the 2023 export marketing
campaign will work to drive demand for California table grapes around the world,” said Nave.

2023-03-30T08:28:32-07:00March 30th, 2023|

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|
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