Having spent 13 years with Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., in early November,
Mike Shields rejoined the staff at Pompano Beach, FL-based Central American
Produce Inc. as director of new business development.
Mr. Shields told The Produce News Nov. 29 that he served Del Monte in
different capacities, including being a regional vice president of Del Monte's
southeast and central regions. He once ran Del Monte’s fresh-cut facility in
Plant City, FL. But Mr. Shields started his produce career with Central
American Produce, working with the firm for eight years before joining Del
The Central American melon deal began at Central American Produce with
"very limited supplies" the week of Nov. 22, Mr. Shields said. “The quality is
outstanding. We will slowly build on volume. So far, the quality is excellent
and everyone we have shipped to has had nothing but rave reviews.”
By the third week of December, “we will have more-plentiful supplies and
better promotional opportunities for retailers” with Central American melons.
The season’s first melons were from Guatemala’s Zacapa growing district.
Central American Produce has a high-elevation Guatemalan farm that will
begin shipping in late December or early January. Thus, the firm will ship from
Guatemala throughout the winter.
Central American Produce will bring “some product out of Honduras in early
In the cantaloupe business, “we are shipping the 'Caribbean Gold’ Harper
variety. It is doing well.” The firm’s honeydew shipments were also underway
Mr. Shields said that the industry consensus is that “some people brought
down” their Central American melon volume “to some degree. We should have
a steady supply, steady pricing and good quality all the way through.”