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Fisher Capespan offering a variety of imported fruit

by Tad Thompson | February 01, 2010
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ -- A wide mix of imported fruit continues to grow wider for Fisher Capespan USA LLC, based here.

The company announced Jan. 20 that it was making an immediate, solid move into a year-round international avocado program. But that's just part of the firm's story, according to Marc Solomon, president and chief executive officer, and Mark Greenberg, chief operating officer and senior vice president of procurement, who met with The Produce News Jan. 20 in Mr. Solomon's office.

Showing a variety of fruits being handled by Fisher Capespan in mid-January, Mr. Solomon first pointed to Prime variety seedless organic green grapes from South Africa, which the firm is receiving "in small volumes every week or so. "There are no other organic green grapes in the market."

Because of fumigation requirements for Chilean grapes maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, no grapes from Chile are allowed to be certified as organic, he said.

Mr. Solomon said that his firm would begin receiving Sunred seedless and a black seeded organic grape from South Africa in February.

Fisher Capespan plans to receive very large Red Globe grapes from Peru until Chilean Red Globes begin arriving in the United States around Feb. 1. The tabletop display in Mr. Solomon's office also featured seedless Flame grapes from Chile as well as the company's very first Hass avocado imports, also from Chile.

This season, Fisher Capespan will receive 1.5 million boxes of Chilean grapes and approximately 200,000 boxes of Chilean apples, which should begin arriving in early March.

Mr. Greenberg indicated that Fisher Capespan's strong entry into the avocado business is partially attributable to the firm's already-strong standing with citrus grower-exporters in Chile and Peru, who mostly grow avocados. Mr. Greenberg said that the Chilean citrus deal will begin in May.

The firm plans to receive 250,000 15-kilo-equivalents of Chilean clementines and about 200,000 boxes of Chilean Navel oranges, which will begin in late June and run as late as mid-October.

"It's too early to know too much" about the Chilean citrus crop, Mr. Solomon noted.

Mr. Greenberg said that the Peruvian citrus deal would begin with Satsumas in May. Peru will ship a variety of citrus varieties including "a very, very limited volume of grapefruit."