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D'Arrigo Bros. and The Salad Farm strike deal

by Brian Gaylord | April 09, 2009
SALINAS, CA -- D'Arrigo Bros. Co. of California and The Salad Farm, both based here, have entered into an agreement that has The Salad Farm shipping product through the new D'Arrigo Bros. facility here.

For D'Arrigo Bros., the agreement primarily allows the company to expand its product line and offer products it was not already carrying -- such as spinach, spring mix and arugula -- to its customers. The primary benefit to The Salad Farm is that its product line is exposed to a broader customer base. The partnership launched April 1.

Lex Camany, president of The Salad Farm, said that about 98 percent of his company's customers are in foodservice. Margaret D'Arrigo-Martin, executive vice president of sales and marketing for D'Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, said that her customer base is 60 percent retail.

The two companies are very familiar with each other, and each credited the other for bringing a reputation for quality into the partnership. Mr. Camany and his wife, Joyce, who is food-safety director for The Salad Farm, have known Chad Amaral of D'Arrigo Bros. for years. Mr. Amaral is director of sales development for D'Arrigo Bros.

The Salad Farm had been doing business in the Boston market, and Stephen D'Arrigo, vice president of Chelsea, MA-based D'Arrigo Bros. Co. of Massachusetts Inc., floated the idea of the partnership to Anna Paco, organic sales manager for The Salad Farm. Ms. Paco pushed the idea forward, and The Salad Farm and D'Arrigo Bros. Co. of California explored the idea in October at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL.

D'Arrigo Bros. Co. of California has a decades-long reputation in the industry and is recognized as a grower-shipper of items such as broccoli rabe, broccoli, Romaine hearts, Iceberg lettuce and leaf lettuces under its "Andy Boy" label.

The Salad Farm launched a little under two years ago, but the Camanys have worked in the industry for years, as has Romelia Urbach, quality assurance manager. Ms. Urbach makes daily visits to the processors with which The Salad Farm works. One such processor -- Watsonville Produce -- recently received a 100 percent rating in an audit conducted by Primus Labs, Mr. Camany said.

About 5 percent of The Salad Farm's product line is organically grown, he noted.

D'Arrigo Bros. has "always been independent" but has been "wanting to grow our business," Ms. D'Arrigo-Martin said, adding that the company is exploring the prospect of entering into agreements with other companies similar to the one it entered into with The Salad Farm.