Wednesday, November 25, 2015

China Retailers Visit Southern California Blueberry Farm

Ten Chinese grocery and online marketers visited USA blueberries on November 24 and saw one of the most unique and beautiful farms in the world!   Thanks to Bill Steed and his crew at Fairfield Farms in Pauma Valley, San Diego California for the wonderful tour and sharing of knowledge.   The visitors included some of the top grocery chains in China from Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai Chongqing and other major cities.   All are anxious for the opportunity to import fresh blueberries from the USA and this familiarization visit sponsored by the USDA Cochran Fellowship Program gave them a unique opportunity to see first hand!

Bill Steed shows group his
blueberry farm with solar electricity generation facility in background.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Millie Award!

The Taipei Contest was held in honor of our long time Taiwan Representative Millie Hsia who was always known as "Blueberry Millie" by her peers.

Here is Millie's daughter Mandy who is carrying on the family blueberry tradition!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Interesting dishes!

Above: Chefs look at their day's work!

Below: This one lost something in the translation!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ingredient Seminar Taiwan

While Chef John Hui was in Taiwan, he cooperated with the USDA Agricultural Trade Office to conduct a seminar for local bakers.  It was a full house at the KaiPing Culinary School in Taipei and attendees learned how to make blueberry cheesecakes, health bars with dried blueberries.  He concluded the days event with an exciting pulled sugar art demo!









Tuesday, November 17, 2015

More from the Taipei Contest

Here is the team behind the scenes at the United Tastes of America Competition in Taipei!

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From Left to right:
Kathrine Lee, ATO office, Mandy Chen (USHBC-Taiwan), Sue-Sun Wong, Consultant to USHBC Taiwan, Mark Ford, ATO Taipei.

United Tastes of America Chef Challenge! Taipei Round!

The USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Asia are conducting the annual Chef Challenge.  The concept:  several of the regional Agricultural Trade Offices (ATO) in the region are in the process of hosting country culinary contests.   Teams from hotels and restaurants compete in a one day competition.  The winning team goes to the finals in Tokyo in the Spring.

This year, USHBC became sponsored sponsor of the Taiwan competition and participated in the event.   Frozen blueberries were part of the "black box" of ingredients used by the culinary teams.

Here are some photos from the event.



Chef Judges meet in advance of the competition.   On right is our very own Chef John Hui of the Lodge at Pebble Beach who is a big blueberry booster and friend of our industry!



Judges work with the chefs.




Saturday, November 14, 2015

USA Grown and Processed - Blueberry Extract!

Now this is big news!!!
For years there have been blueberry and bilberry extracts for sale.  Most, if not all are made from European bilberries (vaccinium myrtillus).
Here is a wonderful new product from Futureceutical -- Van Drunen Farms of Momence Illinois.   Van Drunen has been a pioneer in the nutraceuticals area (functional food).   This offering will gobble up a lot of blueberries and give buyers at home and abroad a safe choice of USA blueberries!




Monday, November 9, 2015

Still More from the California School Conference!

Random ET Sightings at the CSNA conference.



Here is an example of a "commodity processor."  Turns frozen blueberries, commodity butter and wheat into McDonalds style fruit pies.


Suppliers provide great gimmicks like this boogie board and skateboard to schools for promotions.


100 percent juice "slushies!"







Sunday, November 8, 2015

More from the California School Foodservice Meeting!

Here are some views of companies selling to the school districts!

Healthy smoothies!

Hooray for fresh blueberries!   


Pizza companies galore!


Kids love frozen yogurt.  Notice all of the health messages on the sign!


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Feeding the Kids!

USHBC attended and exhibited at the California School Nutrition Association meeting in Ontario, California (CSNA).   This is the organization which brings together school district managers and workers as well as suppliers and potential suppliers.    (photo: Area 51, Startrek theme for CNSA Meeting, Ontario!   October 5-7, 2015)


  • The blueberry industry participates in what is called USDA Foods which is a system where good-for-you ingredients such as blueberries are purchased by the USDA and distributed to individual states such as California.

  • School districts can receive these blueberries through the state and can use integrate frozen blueberries into items served in the schools.   Amazing what these school districts can do with frozen blueberries.   A number are making smoothies, yogurt parfaits and muffins
  • (Photo above = Action at USHBC booth).   
  • A relatively new option for larger districts is to source finished goods from what is called the Commodity Processing channel.   USHBC is a member and participant in an organization called the American Commodity Distribution Association (ACDA).   Large school districts can "divert" shipments of ingredients such as frozen blueberries to approved commodity processors who are either specialized bakeries, dairy, snack and other category companies.   Also, some of the leading major multinational companies operate commodity processing activities to take advantage of their processing capacity to serve the schools.   The concept: companies sell the finished products back to the schools minus the cost of the ingredients and this results in great cost saving for the schools.
  • A brand new concept is the sourcing of fresh produce into the school systems.   The product is sourced through the Department of Defense channels (DOD).School districts and individual schools are also sourcing produce including blueberries from local growers and farmers markets.
What better way to introduce our future customers to blueberries!