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Like most distributors based in Nogales, AZ, Greenpoint Distributing Inc. is primarily involved with Mexico-grown produce. However, “we are going to have a brand new deal starting this year with a group of growers in the Dominican Republic,” said Rick Burkett, sales director, in an interview with The Produce News Nov. 20. That deal will consist, for the first season, of close to a million packages of colored bell peppers grown in state-of-the-art greenhouses and packed in a state-of-the-art packing facility complete with electronic sizing machines, precoolers and refrigeration equipment.

“I have just returned from a trip there,” he said. The growing facilities and the packing facilities good as or better than [any] I have ever seen.”

Depending on how things develop with the new program, over the next few years the volume could double or triple, he said.

”The growers we are dealing with have made some serious investments,” Mr. Burkett said. “They want to do things right.” The opportunity to visit the facilities “was like Christmas to me. I got to see what we are going to sell and meet the people that are going to pack it. They are all very professional and are looking forward to doing things the right way.”

The products from the Dominican Republic, which will consist of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, will be shipped to the port of Newark, NJ.

“We will see our first container sometime the middle of next week,” Mr. Burkett said. Volume will increase weekly through the month of December, and then January, February and March will be peak months. The deal could possibly continue into May or even into June if the market allows.

The climate in the Dominican “is ideal” for growing blocky, thick-walled peppers, Mr. Burkett said. The growers have ranches at several different elevations, so the harvest for various locations will start at different times, although “there will be an overlap.”

“We are going to use both the ‘Greenpoint’ label” for the products as well as the “Bria” label which is “one of our growers’ labels,” he said.