Weighing the balance of fresh vegetable trade - and more of the "100"

Weighing the balance of fresh vegetable trade - and more of the "100"

How do exports of U.S. fresh vegetables compare with imports?

We looked at the import share of supply for a variety of fresh vegetables in another blog post. 

The graph today helps explain the context of two-way trade in fresh vegetables. The U.S. Department of Agriculture stats clearly show that imports have been rising much faster than exports

The top Packer links for today: 

Founders of Central American Produce remembered

Consumer Reports ranks best grocery stores for produce quality, variety

Top Web links

Fresh Trends looks at what makes shoppers buy more fresh produce

A new study credits change in the WIC program’s food package - including the inclusion of more fruits and vegetables - a  reversal in the trend of obesity in WIC participants.

A new food app hopes to transform the way fresh produce is sold in Kenya - Bloomberg reports.

Does eating fruit and vegetables mean better mental health? Psychology Today reviews the science and gives a nod.

Worried about your fruits and vegetables? Here’s how to wash them The article quotes Teresa Thorne, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming.


More from The Packer's Century of Produce - "100 who made a difference," published in 1993:


  • Luther Burbank: ``Plant Wizard’’ Luther Burbank ranks as the most prolific and important produce breeder in American history. He created the Burbank potato, which still was the most widely grown potato variety 120 years after its introduction in 1873. He also bred more than 100 varieties of other plants, most notably plums, some of which remained in commercial cultivation into the 1970s. Inspired by the work of geneticist and evolution theorist Charles Darwin, 26-year-old Burbank headed west in 1875 on a train from his home in Lunenburg, Mass., with the $150 he received for selling a ``better’’ potato. With him he took 10 of the potatoes, enough to eventually introduce the Burbank variety to the West Coast states. From the experimental nursery he began in 1875 in Santa Rosa, Calif., his extensive cross breeding efforts created a plethora of new plants in the next 60 years. His plants were grown worldwide and featured in virtually every seed catalog on the market. As Burbank’s varieties became famous, so did he. He was unanimously elected an honorary member of the American Breeders’ Association at its opening meeting in St. Louis in 1903. He pushed Congress to recognize the right of plant breeders to patent their products. Edward Wickson, former head of the Department of Horticulture at the University of California, a noted Burbank scholar, wrote in 1905 that Burbank had more than pioneered fruits. He ``has unearthed the laws that have governed their production and made bare truths that will live and benefit humanity even if they should ever cease to eat plums or care for potatoes.’’ 


  • Leslie Franklin Burrows: Trade expert and Canadian industry leader Leslie Franklin Burrows, promoted the concept of seasonal-specific tariffs on imports and was influential in numerous organizations and on government boards. In 1922, when the Minister of Agriculture suggested a national organization, Burrows, assistant to the fruit commissioner, was nominated as secretary. The organization, which came to be known as the Canadian Horticultural Council, did not yet exist and had no money, but within a couple of years it had a booming membership and was in charge of plant registration for all of Canada. Burrows served as secretary until 1968, and concurrently served as secretary of the Canadian Fruit Wholesalers’ Association. Burrows presented the radical idea of seasonal-specific tariffs to the Federal Tariff Advisory Board when it was set up in 1926. A few years later this idea of seasonal application was improved by incorporating regional applications accommodating differences in harvesting times in various areas of Canada. Burrows was influential in the establishment of the Empire Fruit Council in 1934. At that time, he also served as manager of the Canada Fruit Export Board under the Federal Natural Products Marketing Act. He remained close to the action of nearly every Canadian trade negotiation from 1932 onward. In 1942, Burrows was chosen to oversee the Metal Containers Administration of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board.


  • Joseph John ``J.J.’’ Castellini: J.J. Castellini founded what became know as the ``House of Castellini’’ in 1923 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and began building the firm into a major force in Midwestern produce distribution. Through a strategy of carrying broadline products, vertical integration, partnerships and stakes in such businesses as trucking, intermodal transportation, fresh-cut produce, brokering and service wholesaling, the firm became one of the few old-line commission merchants to thrive into the 1990s. At 15, Castellini began his career in 1891 as a clerk and fruit handler for the M. Fugazzi & Co. commission merchant firm in Cincinnati. By night he was a student, taking bookkeeping courses. With his new skills he took a position with A.H. Gray & Co. and in 1898 -- with $500 to his name -- the 20-year-old Castellini became a partner with William M. Gray and William H. Krohne under the name William M. Gray & Co. Two years later he bought out his partners and incorporated the firm in 1923 as the J.J. Castellini Co. Four years later it became The Castellini Co. Castellini’s son Robert led the company for a time and formed the Cincinnati Produce Growers Association and was instrumental in the evolution of the wholesaling business into a full-service, value-added marketer. J.J.’s granddaughter, Claire (Thornton), and grandson, Bob, helped build the firm into a distribution network serving 25 states by the 1990s. 


The Packer is taking nominations from the industry on who should be recognized in an additional class of “25 who have made a difference” in the Packer 125 publication. Send your thoughts on that to [email protected]