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SGS opens import operation in L.A.

by Tad Thompson | November 08, 2010
Scattaglia Growers & Shippers LLC, headquartered in Traver, CA, "is proud to announce the opening of SGS Imports in Los Angeles," managing partner Louis Scattaglia told The Produce News Oct. 29.

Mr. Scattaglia added that “two well-respected veterans” of the Chilean fruit deal, Andres Orsini and his son Camilo Orsini, will be running the Los Angeles office.

“The L.A. office is brand new,” Mr. Scattaglia said. The import office is to “procure the best stone fruit, cherries and grapes from Chile” as well as Peruvian asparagus and grapes.

The fruit will be sold from the SGS Traver sales office.

“On the growing side, SGS has aligned itself with some top growers in Peru and Chile,” Mr. Scattaglia noted. These are Agro Paracas in Peru and Frusan, which is located in Chile and Peru. Frusan grows asparagus in Peru, and grapes, apples and cherries in Chile. Three additional Chilean suppliers are Los Mayos, a cherry and stone fruit grower, and stone fruit and grape growers Verfrut and Scramble.

SGS will receive the South American produce by air freight into Miami and Los Angeles and on vessels calling on the seaports of Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

“We have dabbled in Chile for the last two years, and as our business has grown out of Chile, our customers liked what we were doing,” Mr. Scattaglia said. “They wanted us to expand our Chilean programs. Because we are a grower entity and not a broker or marketer, we needed to align ourselves with Chilean growers. The Orsini relationships go back many, many years” in Chile. The Orsinis' new affiliation with SGS “allowed us personal contacts and commitments from these growers.”

As a result, SGS anticipates importing between 750,000 and 1 million packages this winter.

SGS’ plans call for a stone fruit and cherry air freight program as well as “traditional vessel fruit provided from these outstanding growers,” he said. “We are really excited about this partnership with these South American growers. It will complement our already strong cherries, stone fruit and grapes that we grow ourselves and provides a real strong addition to our Mexican grape program. This allows SGS to provide grapes 365 days a year and stone fruit approximately 11 months a year to all of our valued customers.”

The Peruvian asparagus deal runs from July through February. “We presently are bringing in asparagus from Peru, and that is going very well. The quality is exceptional, and so far, so good. We are very happy with that program,” Mr. Scattaglia said.

SGS’s Chilean cherry program will begin with air shipments about Nov. 15 and will run through January. “The first vessel of cherries will arrive in the third week of December,” he said.

In the grape deal, SGS will receive some Peruvian Crimsons the second week of January. “Other grapes will start from Chile around the end of December or in the first week of January,” Mr. Scattaglia said.

SGS will be marketing the labels of its individual growers.