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La Quercia’s Speck Americano Wins a 2016 Good Food Award

La Quercia founders Herb  & Kathy Eckhouse added a fourth Good Food Award to their shelf this month, this time for Speck Americano, prosciutto that is lightly cold smoked over apple wood. On January 15, more than 800 people gathered to pay tribute to 176 Good Food Award Winners of 2016. By the majestic Golden Gate Bridge on the San Francisco Bay numerous farmers, chefs, journalists, and activists united to celebrate exceptional food crafters including luminaries Alice Waters, Nell Newman and Slow Food Founder, Carlo Petrini.

La Quercia calls its  award winning Speck Americano “a charcuterie board crowd pleaser.” La Quercia prosciutto is aged for nine to 12 months then cold-smoked over apple wood, adding the evocative aroma of the open fire to the deep sweetness of the meat. The producer recommends pairing La Quercia Speck with hard cider, a wide range of beer and wine, and almost any cheese, as well as wrapping it around fruit, grilled vegetables, or grissini for an easy happy hour bite. Made with pork that is raised humanely on family farms in Iowa and central Missouri without the use of antibiotics. Ingredients are pork and sea salt — no nitrates or nitrites added. Sold at specialty markets across the nation and available via mail order: http://laquercia.us/order_cured_la_quercia_meats.

BIOFACH Prepares for 2016 Show

Organic food is being dished up again! From February 10-13, the international organic sector is once again preparing a magnificent spread: the menu ranges from raw materials from throughout the world to the full diversity of the organic product ranges and innovative new products, to exquisite and inspiring products from the newcomers and “new blood” on the market. Main ingredients: 100  percent organic quality and enjoyment!

More than 2,400 exhibitors are expected at BIOFACH, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, and VIVANESS, the international trade fair for natural personal care, in 2016 – over 200 of whom are expected at VIVANESS. The shows will be held at the Exhibition Centre in Nuremberg, Germany.

Wynn’s Market to Offer Home Delivery, Store Pickup Service

Digital Foodie and Wynn’s Market, a grocery retailer, have signed a partnering agreement to open up a home delivery and store pickup service at two locations in Florida. Wynn’s Market will use Foodie’s personalized online grocery platform to provide its customers a modern online ordering service.

Wynn’s Market will deploy Foodie.fm’s cloud platform that includes product data, branded and customized website and Foodie’s fulfillment tools for efficient order collection, store pickups and home deliveries. The heart of the service is Foodie Core that connects to Wynn’s Market’s large inventory and enables behavioral recommendations for building strong consumer connections that increase loyalty.

Agreement to Keep Collington Distribution Center in Maryland

Teamsters Union leaders, elected officials and representatives of Safeway announced an agreement to stop the closure of the Safeway Collington Distribution Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The agreement will save more than 700 Teamster warehouse jobs and add an additional 25 jobs at the center.

The agreement also paves the way for possible expansion in the future as Safeway’s parent company, Albertsons, continues to grow its footprint on the East Coast.

C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., the firm that operates the Safeway distribution center and employs its workers, originally planned to move its warehouse operations to Pennsylvania, which would have displaced more than 700 workers, most of whom live in Prince George’s County. Under the terms of the agreement, Safeway will take over operation of the Collington Distribution Center and current C&S employees—represented by Teamsters Locals 730 and 639 in Washington, D.C.—will become Safeway employees.

In two separate votes, Teamsters members voted overwhelmingly in favor of an agreement that preserves their jobs. Local 730 members voted 205-18 and Local 639 members voted 135-4 to approve the agreement. The new collective bargaining agreement with Safeway guarantees no outsourcing of jobs during the term of the contract which expires in May of 2022.

“We are very pleased to know that, through unity, anything is possible,” said Robert Washington, a Local 730 shop steward who works at Safeway.

In an October letter, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa called upon Robert Miller, the CEO of Albertsons Companies, Inc., which recently acquired Safeway, to enact a moratorium on the closures.

Maryland State Senator C. Anthony Muse and former State Delegate Aisha N. Braveboy, Esq., also urged C&S and Safeway to recall the notices sent to employees stating that layoffs would begin the week before Christmas. The layoff notices were delayed until mid-February, allowing time for all parties to work together to find an alternative to the closure.

“This agreement allows skilled employees to continue to work for a company that they loved and sacrificed for, some for more than 30 years,” said Ritchie Brooks, President of Local 730. “The key to this is that everyone banded together. Labor, political leaders and the community all came together to show Safeway our solidarity.”

Local and state officials have pledged nearly $1.5 million in financial incentives to keep the warehouse in the county through the term of the collective bargaining agreement.

Alter Eco Taps Diana Torres as New Eastern Sales Manager

Alter Eco™, pioneer of globally-crafted organic foods with full-circle sustainability, has named Diana Torres as the company’s new Eastern Sales Manager. Torres brings more than 10 years of industry experience in the northeast region to her new role at Alter Eco, where she’ll be responsible for growing the brand’s presence and multi-channel retail footprint throughout the eastern region.

“Diana is the ideal complement to grow our Alter Eco family on the East Coast – she’s self-motivated, passionate, and brings a values-based approach to her work – which fits perfectly with our brand mission and ethos,” said Kate Tierney, President of Alter Eco Americas, PBC. “Her natural industry expertise, knack for brand building and leadership will be huge assets as we lay deeper retail roots across the East in 2016.”

Prior to joining Alter Eco, Torres served as the NE natural team leader for Alliance Sales & Marketing, where she achieved documented success in increasing brands sales by 400 percent. During her tenure, she played a key role in developing sales and marketing strategies, business reviews and promotional planning for numerous brands across the Dairy, Frozen and Grocery Categories with retailers throughout the Northeast.

“I’ve been lucky to work with some of the leading natural brands in the space, and I can truly say Alter Eco is unlike any company I’ve encountered because of its unique full-circle approach to sustainability and dedication to making a positive impact across the globe,” said Torres. “I admire the brand’s mission and feel blessed to join such a passionate and savvy group of people working to make the world a better place one bite at a time.”

Alter Eco produces high-quality, farmer-grown organic foods that are USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Carbon Neutral Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Gluten-Free.

Introducing Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps

Jarlsberg® Cheese Crisps™ are savory, crunchy baked crackers handcrafted in small batches and made with freshly shredded Jarlsberg Cheese sprinkled on top of the crunchy crackers just prior to being baked. New Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps takes the mild, mellow and nutty flavor of Jarlsberg Cheese and bakes it into a delicious crunchy snack. Each Crisp is topped with Jarlsberg Cheese, using the original Norwegian recipe, perfectly balanced with invigorating seasoning and spices for a savory, scrumptious and delectable bite.

Perfect for dipping, snacking, as part of a cheese board or as a crispy companion to a bowl of hot soup, Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps offer a variety of perfectly balanced flavors.

Jarlsberg Cheese Crisp flavors include: Rosemary & Olive Oil – perfectly balanced with invigorating rosemary and the subtle fruitiness of olive oil; Chipotle — thoughtfully paired with the natural smokiness of authentic chipotle and just the right amount of spiciness; Garlic & Herb — blended with the robust flavor of garlic and aromatic herbs, with Mediterranean Sea salt adding a burst of flavor. With only 120 calories or less per serving, only 3.5 or less grams of fat and 5 grams of protein and low cholesterol, these Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps are sure to fly off shelves in the deli section.

Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps have a suggested retail price of $3.99 – $4. 99 and are packed 12 bags per display ready case.

Entries Open for 2nd Annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition

After a remarkably successful first year with 52 entries, The Big Fresno Fair is now accepting entries for the 2nd Annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC). The competition is open to all olive oil producers in the state of California with olive oil made from the most recent olive harvest. Entries are now being accepted; deadline to enter is February 26, 2016.

“Showcasing the quality and variety of top-notch olive oil producers found throughout California has been an incredible addition to our competitive exhibits at The Big Fresno Fair,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager at The Big Fresno Fair. “We were very happy with last year’s participation and feedback on the competition. This year we look forward to even more entries and the opportunity to, yet again, showcase the olive oil industry to our more than 600,000 fair-goers in October.”

There are two classes for entries: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil. Competition categories in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil class include: Spanish Blends (arbequina, arbosana, etc.); Spanish Singles; Italian Blends (ascolano, etc.); Italian Singles; Other Blends (picholine, barouni, etc.); Other Singles. Competition categories in the Flavored Olive Oil Class include: Citrus; Herbal (rosemary; basil, etc.); and Other Flavors (chile, jalapeno, garlic, etc.).

Awards will be given out for gold and silver medals in each category, as well as one overall “Best of Show” in both the EVOO category and the Flavored Oil category. Judging will be evaluated and scored as follows:

  • Gold Medal: Awarded to an olive oil that demonstrates its type and/or varietal character, balance, structure and complexities to the highest standards.  Gold Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 86 – 100 points.
  • Silver Medal: Awarded to an olive oil reflecting the correct distribution of balance and character of its type or variety; an oil deemed to be well crafted and of excellent quality.  Silver Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 76- 85 points.
  • Best of Show: Awarded to an olive oil recognized to possess special characteristics of the highest quality overall.

Producers may submit multiple entries under one category but may not submit a particular entry to more than one category. All entries must be available for commercial sale at the time of submittal. Entries are due by February 26, 2016 by 4:30 p.m. Judging will be held on March 8, 2016. Judges are all members of the California Olive Oil Council Taste Panel, including internationally-trained panelists some with 15+ years of experience. Winners will be announced on March 17, 2016 by 5:00 p.m.

Gold Medal and Best of Show winners will have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agricultural Building on both Saturdays and Sundays during the 2016 Big Fresno Fair where they can taste, display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational information will be set up so that fair-goers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits, recipes and more.

Each submission must include an entry form, at least two 250 ml bottles of the olive oil with retail labels attached and a $60 non-refundable fee per entry. Entries can be dropped off at The Big Fresno Fair Administration Office or can be shipped to SJVOOC – The Big Fresno Fair, 1121 S. Chance Ave. Fresno, CA 93702 no later than 4:30 p.m. on February 26, 2016. Any entry delivered by mail, freight or express must be prepaid. The Administration Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for drop-offs.

The Inaugural San Joaquin Olive Oil Competition last year yielded 52 entries from throughout California. Below is a list of the Gold Medal Winners and Best of Show. For a complete 2015 winners list, go to:  http://www.fresnofair.com/sjv-olive-oil-competition

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

  • Gold Medal Winners

o   Italian Blends: Bozzano Olive Ranch’s A2 Italian Blend (Stockton)

o   Spanish Singles: The Olive Press’ Picual (Sonoma)

o   Tuscan Blends: Winter Creek Olive Oil’s Ruscello D’Inverno (Winter Creek)

 

Flavored Olive Oils

  • Gold Medal Winners

o   Citrus:

  • Calolea Olive Oil’s Meyer Lemon (Marysville)
  • The Olive Press’ Limonata (Sonoma)

o        Herbal:

  • Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Oregano (Lodi)

o   Other Flavors:

  • Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Jalapeno Garlic (Lodi)
  • Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Serrano (Lodi),
  • Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Hot Jalapeno (Lodi)
  • Enzo Olive Oil Company’s Garlic (Clovis)
  • The Olive Press’ Jalapeno (Sonoma)

 

Best Of Show

  • Bozzano Olive Ranch’s A2 Italian Blend (Stockton)
  • Calolea Olive Oil’s Meyer Lemon (Marysville)

 

For more information about the new San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC), including downloadable entry forms and deadlines, visit www.fresnofair.com/sjv-olive-oil-competition, email questions to srianda@fresnofair.com or call The Big Fresno Fair office at 559.650.FAIR.

The United Family Celebrates 100th Anniversary of United Supermarkets

For The United Family®, 2016 marks a historic year, as United Supermarkets celebrates the chain’s 100th anniversary. What began as United Cash Store in Sayre, Oklahoma in 1916 has grown into a multi-banner, Texas-based grocery chain with 66 stores in 36 communities. Today, The United Family operates United Supermarkets, Market Street, Albertsons Market and Amigos grocery locations, as well as United Express fuel and convenience stores, throughout West Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth and eastern New Mexico.

“Reaching our 100th anniversary is a remarkable accomplishment, and a true testament to the hard work and dedication of all our team members through the years, as well as our loyal guests in each of our communities,” said Robert Taylor, who was appointed CEO of The United Family in 2010. “Most importantly, this celebration is a tribute to the Snell family, because without their vision and leadership, United wouldn’t be the beloved supermarket it is today.”

To commemorate a century of service, The United Family designed an entire year of initiatives to benefit and improve the communities it serves, a core value of the company since it was founded by Henry Dewitt Snell. The company kicked off the yearlong celebration with a birthday party at all 66 stores on January 16 with a give-away of a total of 100,000 free cupcakes.

Also in January, The United Family will launch Shop to Support Schools, a school donation program, which will challenge community members to get involved and help improve the future of local children. In addition, the company will take a bite out of hunger, donating 100,000 pounds of apples to local food banks across the company’s service areas in April.

“The company has been very fortunate for an entire century to have owners as well as leaders who believe in the core value of supporting communities and doing the right thing,” said Taylor. “In honor of that legacy and to kick off our next 100 years, the 100th anniversary of United Supermarkets will be acknowledged and celebrated in each of our 36 communities in Texas and New Mexico.”

United moved to the company’s now headquarter city of Lubbock, Texas in 1956 when Jack Snell, son of H. D. Snell, purchased three Taylor Safeways. The company continued its expansion over the next four decades under the leadership of Jack and his son, Robert, and by 1991, United stores were in 20 communities throughout Texas.

The company’s continued growth into the grocery-chain it is today was spurred by a strategic growth plan adopted in 1998, which called for new stores, innovative concepts, diverse market expansion and self-distribution.

Also in 1998, Market Street, a new concept focused on healthy meal solutions for busy guests, was introduced in Wichita Falls. The company now operates 15 Market Street locations, including seven in Dallas-Fort Worth. United Supermercado, which is now known as Amigos, was the next concept offered by The United Family, opening in Plainview in 2000. Today, four locations provide a blend of traditional and cultural favorites for Hispanic shoppers in the Lubbock and Amarillo areas.

To express appreciation for the many communities that have support the company, beginning May 31, The United Family will celebrate 100 Days of Giving, presenting $1,000 to a different local non-profit for 100 consecutive days, totaling a donation of $100,000. Also during that time, the company will donate 100,000 additional pounds of food to local food banks in June in preparation for fall and winter when donations are needed most. Lastly, before Thanksgiving, The United Family will spread joy to area children’s hospitals in 12 markets by distributing 1,200 special 100th Anniversary stuffed animals.

“With these programs, in addition to dozens of ongoing initiatives, this year will truly be worthy of our 100th anniversary,” said Shelby Crews, Senior Community Relations Manager for The United Family. “Giving back to our guests has always been a cornerstone of United Supermarkets, and that emphasis will continue as The United Family enters its next century.”

The United Family remained a family-owned supermarket chain for 98 years until becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Albertson’s LLC on Dec. 27, 2013. In order to take advantage of operational and distribution opportunities, Albertsons realigned 12 locations under The United Family. These stores now operate as Albertsons Market stores in Midland-Odessa, San Angelo and eastern New Mexico.

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