The winter program for Grower Alliance LLC in Nogales, AZ, will be much the same this year as it has been in past seasons, according to Jorge Quintero Jr., managing partner. However, the company does have increases in several items, particularly colored bell peppers, honeydew melons, squash and Roma tomatoes.
“Euro cucumbers we just started a couple of weeks ago,” Mr. Quintero said. That is “a steady program. It goes all the way through May.” Regular cucumbers as well are “steady as it goes.” Those started in early October and will go “all the way through the Nogales season.”
“We started with pickles today,” he said. “We have a pickle program that will go from now probably through March.”
In squash, “we started our fields from Culiacan this week,” Mr. Quintero said. That program, which consists of yellow, Italian and gray, “is going to be a lot bigger than what it has been in the past.”
Grower Alliance has growth in its Roma program as well. “We do have a couple of new growers there” and will have “a little more volume than we did last year, probably about 25 percent more,” Mr. Quintero said. “That is something we have been able to establish a good customer base on, so we decided that we can increase for this season. A lot of it had to do with the summer program that we had, that we are still doing out of McAllen [TX]. We have been able to increase our customer base on tomatoes, so that in turn allowed us to increase for the Nogales season, for the winter.”
Except for a small amount of grape tomatoes, Romas are currently the only item the company is doing in the tomato category. However, “I think in the future we will be looking at getting into the one- and two-layers,” he said.
In the bell pepper category, Grower alliance has both green and colored bells. “We have a good green bell pepper program,” with both open field land shadehouse production, Mr. Quintero said. This year, “our colored bell program will be a little more than what we had last season.” That will consist of red, yellow and orange 11-pounders “as well as choice bells.”
The firm will not have the elongated Le Rouge bells this year, he said.
In honeydew melons, the company has historically had steady production in the fall and spring, “but w would skip the winter.” This season, the company will have honeydews through the winter. “It is the first year where we are going to bridge the gap there,” he said. The winter production will be out of the state of Colima, Mexico. Like most of the company’s products, they will be packed in the “Grower Alliance” label. The exception is Euro cucumbers which are packed in the “Pac-Val” label.”
Also this year, “we are not doing a hot pepper program as we have in the past. We will have a few here and there,” but it will not be a full program with steady production through the season.
Other products handled by Grower Alliance, according to the company’s website, are green beans, seedless watermelon, mini watermelon, eggplant and sweet corn. “We started our green beans this week,” Mr. Quintero said.
For most of its items, the company’s main producing areas are Culiacan, Los Mochis and Guasave in Sinaloa. Crops, so far, are “looking great.”
On sales at Grower Alliance are Mr. Quintero, his father, Jorge Quintero Sr., who is marketing director for the company, and Frank Hernandez. “We do have a new sales assistant” named Martin Lopez, Mr. Quintero said.
This will be the company’s third year in its present offices and warehouse. The facility has been ‘a tremendous asset for us to have, to be able to stage orders and have everything set up the way we want,” he said.