Daily Fresh Distributing LLC in Nogales, AZ, has “some new vineyards that we are going to be breaking into this year” in Sonora, Mexico, which will give the company a modest increase in volume for the 2013 Sonora grape season and a greater increase in future seasons, according to Paul Bachelier, who founded the company in September 2011.
Last year, Daily Fresh shipped around 250,000 packages of grapes, “and I expect to handle a little bit more this year,” Mr. Bachelier said. “As we get into the next two or three years, we will probably start getting close to 500,000 packages, with the new acreage that we have.”
Most of the company’s increases for this season will be in the Flame seedless variety, with an increase also in Perlettes of perhaps 10 percent, he said. “We just do Perlettes and Flames,” all out of the coastal area of Hermosillo.
The grapes are all from one grower and are packed in the grower’s “El Panuelo” label.
Many grape growers in Mexico have been pulling out a lot of their old vineyards and replacing them with new ones, and Daily Fresh’s grower is no exception.
“Last year we pulled out vineyards that went all the way back to 1992-93,” he said. “We had already put in some new stock for future grapes. Every year, we are going to gradually continue to do that.”
As for the current season, a cold snap during the winter caused some reduction in crop size. Some growers in the area will have “anywhere from 15 to 20 percent less than what they are supposed to have,” Mr. Bachelier said. And for Daily Fresh, “we will probably have around 15 percent less” than a full crop, although that reduction could be as low as 10 percent or as high as 20 percent depending on “how the weather continues to behave.” With the added acreage, the company’s total volume should still be up for the season, but not as high as it might otherwise have been.
The season’s start will be a little later than normal, he said. The usual start for the company is around May 8. “I’m looking this year more around the 15th to 20th just because of the weather.” In general, “I think everybody is going to be a week or maybe 10 days later than they were last year. That is the word around town.”
He expects to continue to run grapes through around June 20-25.
Daily Fresh is also handling several other produce commodities out of Mexico, including red and green Bell peppers, eggplant, mini-cucumbers, cucumbers and green and yellow squash. However, in general “the grape customers that we have buy nothing but grapes,” Mr. Bachelier said. “We’re talking to totally different people as far as the grapes go.”