A First Time for Everything

I enjoy “firsts.”

My first car was a 1987 Plymouth Sundance. I sold it to buy my first new truck.

My first girlfriend was Jamie in junior high. She’s now my wife.

I bought my first house in December. It’s now down to bare studs inside and is slowly beginning to look like a house again.
So you can see why I like firsts, and I wanted to take the time and enjoy my first Fresh Ideas column.

The first time for anything can be daunting and exciting. But that initial enthusiasm can fade a little the second time and a little more the next, until once fun tasks become dull and routine. But I don’t see that happening here.

I’ve been with Fresh Cut for about nine months, and in that time I’ve had the chance to meet many processors and representatives of the industry. I’ve found that the companies and the people that work for them don’t lose that driving force. Neither do the researchers, trade and industry association personnel or service providers. Although 2006 ended on a sour note, there is still great optimism about the future from most of the industry. That’s the driving force for the editors and writers of Fresh Cut that will keep the pages of this magazine from becoming boring. I’m already looking forward to where fresh-cut, the industry and the magazine, will go in 2007.

This issue of Fresh Cut takes a look at organic, fresh-cut produce in retail and foodservice markets. Organics is a growth market in the fresh-cut segment and many retailers, processors and growers are looking at organic lines. There’s also an article about trends in packaging, and what impact the package will have on the product, or vice versa, in the next few years. We’re just now seeing the effect of sustainability on packaging, and that trend will likely continue.

As with every issue, we have a feature story on a processor. This month’s feature takes a look at the specialty vegetables A.M.S. Exotic has introduced to create its own niche market. The company has seen a 217-percent growth in sales in the two years its products have been on retail shelves. Fresh-cut vegetables now make up about 60 percent of the company’s business. Only two years ago, it was zero.

There’s a lot more I want to say on this page, but there will be plenty of time for that in the coming months. Here’s to many more firsts.

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