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August 11, 2010

HarvestMark Arrives in Portland Produce Aisles

New system helps shoppers follow their fresh fruits and veggies back to the farm

PORTLAND, Ore. August 11, 2010.  When shoppers head to the farmer’s market to pick up ingredients for dinner, they get more than just the lettuce or carrots in their basket. They get to know their food. Connecting with growers in person, they can learn about freshness and growing methods, and become familiar with the farms and people they are buying from.

Now, that inside information is no longer limited to the farmer’s market, but is also available at the local grocery store.

A unique new food traceability solution called HarvestMark™ has come to the Portland area, helping consumers follow their fresh produce all the way back to the farm. At the touch of an iPhone or through the HarvestMark website, shoppers can easily learn information such as when, where and how their fruit or veggies were grown.

A new partnership with salad greens grower, organicgirl™ is boosting the availability of HarvestMark in produce sections across the Northwest. Traceable organicgirl salad greens began hitting shelves at all Portland and Seattle area Haggen and Whole Foods Markets this month. This is in addition to other produce, such as strawberries, grapes and watermelons, as well as private store brands that have recently come to local stores, including Fred Meyer.

“HarvestMark was created by a group of people who believe every consumer should have more access to information about the food they buy,” said J. Scott Carr, president and CEO, HarvestMark. “During a time when food quality and healthy eating are top of mind with more shoppers than ever, we want to help bring back that connection to the people who grow and sell their food.”

Not only does HarvestMark allow consumers to trace food, it also offers two-way communication between shopper and grower. Farmers can post information for their customers through their HarvestMark page, including photos and background on their farm, food tips and recipes. Shoppers even have an opportunity to provide valuable feedback on the produce they buy.

“organicgirl is the next generation of organic salads,” said Mark Drever, organicgirl President, “and our partnership with HarvestMark provides consumers the next generation of produce traceability, following their organicgirl greens all the way back to the farm while standing in the produce aisle.”

To trace their food, shoppers simply look for produce with the HarvestMark coded label that is applied when it’s harvested in the field. They can enter the code while shopping using an iPhone app or at home through the HarvestMark website, and within seconds get details about the fruit or vegetable in their hand, such as the day and time it was picked, where it was grown and what growing methods were used.

In the event of a food recall, consumers can easily check if the food in their fridge is affected. The HarvestMark system is able to provide up-to-date food safety status provided direct from the grower.

HarvestMark is the creation of HarvestMark, Inc., an independent California-based company specializing in product traceability and authentication solutions, and is available on fruits and vegetable from an expanding list of growers throughout the world, offering traceable produce in all 50 states. Northwest growers in Hermiston, Oregon and Othello and Pasco, Washington are also taking part.

Consumers can take an active role in bringing more traceable foods to market by requesting HarvestMark on the foods they care about or at the stores where they shop. Suggestions can be made at www.HarvestMark.com or through HarvestMark’s Facebook page.

How HarvestMark food tracing works:

  • Shoppers look for produce with the HarvestMark coded label.
  • Enter the 16-digit code online at www.HarvestMark.com or at the store using the HarvestMark iPhone app.
  • Get details about the produce, such as the grower name and background, how, where and when it was grown.
  • Consumers can connect direct to the grower and provide feedback on the produce they bought. They can also get inside information from the source such as seasonality, new products and tips and recipes.
  • If there is ever a recall on produce, consumers can find out if the food they bought is affected, quickly and easily.

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About HarvestMark

HarvestMark™ is the fresh food traceability solution from HarvestMark, Inc., an independent company based in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides traceability for consumers, growers and retailers nationwide. From strawberries to grapes, tomatoes to greens and soon on meat and poultry, the HarvestMark traceability feature can be found on over 1.5 billion food packages.

The HarvestMark solution was created by people who truly care about food. We help producers enhance product quality and freshness by providing rich insights across the supply chain. And we create new connections between growers, retailers and consumers to deliver access to information about their food they can’t get anywhere else.

About organicgirl®

organicgirl was established in the fall of 2006 by a group of produce industry veterans – men and women with a passion for quality produce and a desire to bring to consumers the next generation of organic produce that set a new standard in freshness. On May 5, 2007, organicgirl launched 14 products, including organicgirl good clean greens and good fresh veggies. In February of 2008 organicgirl introduced the industry’s first 100% organic kit, the first complete organic kit on the grocery store shelf. Today, organicgirl is the fastest growing organic salad brand in the category.  To learn more, visit iloveorganicgirl.com.