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March 14, 2011

HarvestMark Customer Doubles Blueberry Volume

The Produce News

by Chip Carter | March 08, 2011

"Jack Cain, vice president of sales and marketing at Westlake Produce Co. in Winter Haven, FL, is optimistic about the upcoming Florida blueberry season, and with ample reason. The company has doubled its volume since last year and continues to make a commitment to supply a premium finished product by investing in the latest packing technology and food safety.

"Not only has Westlake’s volume doubled over last season due to increased acreage, but 'our own internal growing operations have significantly increased,' Mr. Cain said…

"In its quest to pack the best premium berries in its 'Always Fresh' brand, Westlake recently added a new state-of-the-art packingline with optical color sorter, soft berry eliminator and automatic weigh filler to guarantee that the best quality and weights on all its packs will be exact. The line also will have a tape sealer to insure food safety and eliminate costly and messy spills at retail.

" 'We’re investing in the future and making a commitment to pack the very best blueberries,' Mr. Cain said. 'We’re excited about our new packing facility and what it will allow us to do. By having three lines, our daily production capacity will be significantly increased and allows us more flexibility to pack six-ounce, pints and club packs simultaneously. This allows us to give our customers the pack they want, when they want it.'

"All of Westlake’s blueberries carry a HarvestMark code for immediate traceability back to the farm. 'That’s important, especially with blueberries because a lot of people eat them right out of the cup. They can go to that HarvestMark web site, put in the code and find out anything about the berries they are eating, right down to grower and the day they were picked,' Mr. Cain said. 'With a brand name like "Always Fresh," the onus is on us to make sure we do a good job and give our customers premium berries.' "

Read the full article.