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Introducing Milne's New Brand and Website

Milne Fruit Products has launched a new brand identity and website to provide better service to valued partners and friends.

Milne’s website is easy for new visitors to navigate and returning users will recognize familiar aspects while appreciating new capabilities such as friendlier navigation, enhanced functionality and social integration. An online product catalogue features an exciting view of the entire product line and individual specification sheets are available for download. Striking images throughout the website depict a variety of product applications to whet the appetite and inspire the imagination.

Here are some of the new website features and how to access them:

Please take a moment to let us know what you think about the new website.


Reaping Partnership Rewards

Reaping Partnership Rewards

Milne Fruit Products is proud of the partnerships we have developed since 1956. We believe it is important our partners have mutual values and a shared commitment to customer satisfaction.

Our strategic relationships with other family-owned agricultural businesses are particularly significant as they allow Milne to offer an expanded line of quality fruit products to our customers. One of our most successful partnerships is with Sunmet Juice of Bakersfield, CA, a producer of juice and puree products made from stone fruit including apricots and peaches as well as pomegranates. Milne is Sunmet’s exclusive distributor.

Sunmet is owned by Etchegaray Farms, also located in the Bakersfield area. The relationship between Sunmet and Etchegaray Farms is much like Milne’s relationship with Wyckoff Farms (our owner). Both companies are owned by local farms that have been in business for many years and are now in the second or third generation of ownership within the same family.

“Sunmet is founded on the same principals that started in my family’s business over 40 years ago, said Sam Etchegaray, whose family immigrated from Europe to the United States in the early 1960s. ”We began in the livestock business and through hard work and dedication expanded into agriculture first in the Imperial Valley before moving to the San Joaquin Valley.“

Sunmet is now a vertically integrated company, with its owners involved in the commercial production of different commodities. These commodities include pomegranates (both fresh and juice), cherries, blueberries, table grapes, almonds and pistachios. Sunmet relies on long standing relationships to source raw fruit from the San Joaquin Valley and works to convert these fruits to 100% natural ingredients such as fruit juices (NFC and concentrate) as well as fruit purees.

“One big advantage of our growing partnership with Sunmet is that all of their products are domestically grown,” said Michael Sorenson, general manager. “Other US distributors often import raw or processed fruit products. All products Milne distributes from Sunmet are 100% grown in the US.”

Milne’s customers are further assured of product quality because Sunmet’s products are locally grown, which helps ensure traceability from field to table. Because of its relationship with Etchegaray Farms, Sunmet knows the area farmers. Company representatives visit nearby orchards and hand-inspect each crop before the first truckload ever reaches the production facility, just like Milne’s team does with the crops grown in the Yakima Valley.

“We are committed to producing juice and puree products that meet the highest standard in regards to quality and safety,” said Etchegaray. “We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that commitment to our suppliers and customers.”

Our successful partnership with Sunmet is one of several Milne has developed over the years. Milne serves as the exclusive sales and marketing agent for Graceland Fruit of Frankfort, MI. Graceland specializes in cranberry juice and other juice concentrate products. Look for more information about Milne’s valued partners in future newsletters.

We encourage you to talk with your Milne sales representative or broker (509.786.2611) Learn more about how the advantages of our partnerships can help facilitate your procurement strategies.


Peach Makes a Comeback!

Peach crops will be rolling in soon, on the heels of the apricots arriving this month from southern California. A decade ago peach was a mainstream blending juice, but then apple prices dipped for a while, which increased apple’s popularity for blends.

More recently, prices have evened out and the two fruits are competitive again. Peach juice is expected to be one of our most popular products this season. Peach is a mild stone fruit that blends well with other fruit and brings out different flavors, as compared to apple, making it an attractive option for custom blends.


The Healthy Benefits of Stone Fruit & Pomegranate

Stone fruit is rich in Vitamins A, C and E, and a great source of dietary fiber and potassium.

Apricots are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Peaches contain an impressive amount of dietary fiber and beta-carotene and are also a good source of niacin, potassium and Vitamin C.

Pomegranate is an excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, niacin and dietary fiber. The fruit is also being studied as a potential anticancer food, due to its strong ORAC content.

There are a growing number of new applications for our fruit puree products in applications such as pastry fillings, smoothies, dairy products and more. Contact your Milne sales representative or broker for more information (509.786.2611).


Fun Fruit Facts

  • The apricot (Prunus armeniaca), a relative of the peach, originated thousands of years ago in China, where they still grow wild in the mountains.
  • Greek mythology experts believe apricots are the “golden apples” of Hesperides — the fruit Hercules was ordered to pick in the eleventh of his twelve labors.
  • Peaches originated in China where they have been cultivated since the early days of Chinese culture.
  • The name, “peach” derives from the Latin plural of Persicum malum, meaning “Persian apple”. The Persians brought the peach from China and passed it on to the Romans. Spanish explorers brought peaches to North America in the 1500s.
  • The pomegranate is most widely found in the Middle East and India.
  • The fruit of the pomegranate has been used for centuries as a folk medicine, and it has been used to treat ailments ranging from inflammation and rheumatism to the pain of a simple sore throat.


Innovations from R&D

Milne to Introduce Prebiotic Fiber Research at Berry Health Symposium

Milne has developed groundbreaking research in the field of prebiotics and will be presenting its findings at the 2011 International Berry Health Benefits Symposium June 27-29 in Westlake Village, CA.

Company representatives will join the world’s most renown scientists who will discuss their most recent work and reveal how this most basic of foods can have a profound impact on many of the important diseases of aging.

“Fruit fiber is typically removed during processing and used as animal feed or compost, said Eric Johnson, R&D manager. “But Milne has developed a way to recover, refine and dry this highly nutritional part of the fruit for use in food products.”

“Fruit could not be considered for many food applications in the past because of its inherent water content,” added Shannon Elkins, national sales manager. “When we introduce this new fruit product, food manufacturers will be able to add natural fruit flavor and fiber into breakfast cereals, fruit pieces, bakery goods, snack chips, and much more.”

Milne will begin producing blueberry fiber products by the end of the year and plans to eventually produce cranberry and Concord grape fiber powders.

Footnote: Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that may stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system in ways claimed to be beneficial to health. They were first identified and named by Marcel Roberfroid in 1995 and are similar to probiotics as a functional food component.


Predicting the Harvest

Staying on top of weather conditions and their effect on crops is as important today as it was when hunter-gathers turned to farming thousands of years ago.

Although methodology has changed considerably over the years, ancient structures like Stonehenge in England still stand as a reminder of the importance of calculating planting and harvest times to take advantage of the best (and avoid the worst) weather conditions.

Today, Milne uses a formula of daily Growing Degree Days (GDD) and other sophisticated monitoring methods provided by Washington State University. The GDD calculator is a valuable tool in predicting the progression of grape stages such as bloom, veraison and crop maturity. GDD numbers are accumulated from April 1 through October 31 each year. As of May 15, 2011, they indicated that this was one of the coolest Aprils on record in the Yakima Valley.

“There are some years when I am already counting grape clusters by this time,” said Andy Schilperoort, grower relations manager. “I am currently looking at different areas in the Valley to determine when we will actually begin the cluster counts this year.”

GDD numbers are calculated by subtracting 50 from the average daily temperature (°F). If the resulting value is less than 0, then it is set to 0. Thus, GDD are always 0 or greater.

“At the Concord grape bud break on April 22, we were 13 days later than normal,” said Schilperoort. “I don’t believe we have gained any of those days back yet.  We are at least two weeks behind average right now.”

The following chart shows 2011 GDD numbers, as compared to average, warm and cool years.

For more information on GDD or the harvest calendar, contact your Milne sales representative or broker (509.786.2611).



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804 Bennett Avenue • Prosser, WA 99350 USA
Phone: 509.786.2611 •  Fax: 509.786.1724