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COMPANY PROFILES

‘Oso Sweet’ California onions grown for West Coast
With the objective of making Vidalia-type sweet onions available when the true Vidalia onions were not in season, Saven Corp. in Savannah, GA, 25 years ago, began growing sweet onions in Chile during the winter and marketing them in the United States under the “Oso Sweet” trademark. Eight years ago, with the addition of other production areas in Peru and the United States, “we became a year-round provider,” said President Brian Kastick. “We now have sweet onions... Read more
Daily Fresh anticipates strong Memorial Day grape push
RIO RICO, AZ — A lack of cold hours in Mexican grape producing areas will reduce the volume this spring, in the view of Paul Bachelier, who handles marketing sales and service at Daily Fresh Distributing, Inc., based here. Bachelier said the quality of the Mexican grape crop “should be good. The weather has been very nice this year.” The Mexican grape harvest is early this spring, providing U.S. retailers with promotable volumes for the Memorial Day holiday. He... Read more
Divine Flavor expands grape varietal offerings
The 2014 Mexican grape crop being offered this spring by Divine Flavor, LLC, “looks very good on all varieties,” said Pedro Batiz, one of the firm’s owners. Speaking by telephone from the firm’s San Diego office, Batiz said conventional grape shipping for Divine Flavor would begin in the first week of May. Organic grape harvest will come about 10 days later. The firm grows a wide variety of green, red and black grape varieties. This year the company will market... Read more
L&M grows red, yellow and white onions in California’s Imperial Valley
L&M Cos. Inc., which is based in Raleigh, NC, and has offices in eight other locations around the country, is a diversified grower, shipper, broker, distributor, importer and exporter of produce, offering a wide assortment of products. Onions are an important component in the mix, and the company grows onions in various locations throughout the United States, including California’s Imperial Valley, giving L&M’s customers year-round availability. “We have... Read more
Focus at McDaniel will be on fruit from California and Peru May-September
The supply of California avocados in the marketplace this spring and summer “is going to be significantly less than it was last year,” said Larry McDaniel, vice president of McDaniel Fruit Co. in Fallbrook, CA, in an interview with The Produce News March 24. At the same time, “demand for California avocados and for our ‘Linda-Vista’ brand is going to be extremely strong. This light crop out of California is just not going to be able to keep up with the demand for... Read more
Henry Avocado’s California harvest to peak at ideal time for customers
For year-round avocado distributor Phil Henry, there’s little distinction between the oncoming domestic harvest and the winding down of the offshore supply. His commitment to consistently provide customers with superior quality fresh avocados and great service is never seasonal. It’s the perennial purpose of Henry Avocado, according to a company press release. Whether the California crop is 515 million pounds, as it was last year, or the approximately 300 million... Read more
Eco Farms expects fairly steady volume of Calif. avocados April through August
A smaller California avocado crop for 2014 does not necessarily mean less fruit going into the market on a weekly basis but rather a more condensed marketing window, with good supplies available each week during that window, according to Steve Taft, president of Eco Farms Avocados Inc. in Temecula, CA. In contrast to last year, when California had a large avocado crop and the shipping season started earlier and ran long, this year “the season is going to be compressed”... Read more
Calavo’s California program targets Western markets
Although the California contribution to aggregate avocado volume in the United States will be a bit under 20 percent this year compared to nearly 30 percent last year, the marketing strategies for California fruit at Calavo Growers Inc. in Santa Paula, CA, are “fairly similar” to what they were in 2013, according to Rob Wedin, vice president of fresh sales and marketing. “With California, we are definitely focusing on the West,” he said. “We tend to split the country... Read more
“The Mexican grape deal overall looks like a good crop,” according to Basile Kanaris, national sales manager at Unifrutti of America, Inc., which is based in Philadelphia. Kanaris said April 9 that Unifrutti would begin shipping Perlettes from Mexico in the range of April 28-30. “We’ll have a good crop of Flames that will start in the first week of May.” He added that Sugraones from Hermosillo will begin May 18. Unifrutti will also be shipping black Mexican grapes... Read more
One of the major areas of focus for the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas in Nogales, AZ, year after year, has been dealing with various issues affecting the logistics of getting produce from the growing areas in Mexico across the border and into the warehouses in Nogales in a timely and expeditious manner. Nearly every season, the industry has faced delays and backlogs due to a myriad of causes, ranging from inadequate highway and port infrastructure to... Read more
“The grape deal is off to a good, early start,” in the view of importer and distributor Gonzalo Avila, vice president and general manager of Malena Produce, Inc., based in Rio Rico, AZ. “We will have more volume for the Memorial Day pull than ever,” he said. Avila added that this season the Mexican grape deal “will be spread over more weeks, which is good for all involved.” Keying the strong marketing position is a very early start, he emphasized. “Overall, the... Read more
RIO RICO, AZ — First opening its doors in May 1989, Calixtro Distributing Co., Inc., located here, is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and its success is showing in a very tangible way. Frank Calixtro, one of five brothers in the family business, walked The Produce News through a major construction site as the firm expands its warehouse facility from 50,000 square feet to 92,000 square feet. “Basically, we are brokers,” Calixtro said in describing the firm. “Vegetables... Read more
About three years ago, Pandol Bros. in Delano, CA, had a change in its Mexican grape program with the departure of one of its growers. That left the company with a lighter volume during the early part of the season. It became a problem, because since then, "we haven't been able to transition early enough" from southern hemisphere fruit into the Mexican deal, said John Pandol, a director at Pandol Bros. This year, the situation has been corrected. "We have now rebuilt... Read more
Of all the factors surrounding the Mexican grape season, most important is that it is early, in the view of Miguel (Miky) Suarez, sales manager of MAS Melons & Grapes, LLC, based in Rio Rico, AZ. In an April 7 interview, Suarez was asked to describe the upcoming grape deal. “Number one, it is very early,” he said. “We will be ahead of schedule. Chile will finish early and Mexico will be early, so it seems it will be a long season for Mexican grapes. In my opinion,... Read more
Eagle Eye Grape Guys LLC in Visalia, CA, a subsidiary of Eagle Eye Produce Co. in Idaho Falls, ID, expects to ship about 300,000 boxes of grapes in its Sonora, Mexico, grape program, predominantly during the months of May and June, according to Shaun Ricks, vice president of the company. “We will be up from last year,” he said. “Most of our volume is out of the Hermosillo area. We’re just not as big out of Caborca,” and that is by design. Caborca is the later district... Read more
Crown Jewels Produce LLC in Fresno, CA, has been involved in the Sonora, Mexico, grape deal since it’s present ownership acquired the company in 1999, according to Atomic Torosian, a partner in the enterprise. “We have been working with the same grape growers since we started,” he told The Produce News April 1. Torosian, himself, has been involved with Sonora grapes for almost twice that long. “This is my 29th year working in the grape deal out of Mexico,” he... Read more
Mexico will have the earliest start on its grape deal in at least five years, according to Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing for Fresh Farms, located in Rio Rico, AZ. By May 15, Mexico will be shipping a full volume of table grapes and retailers will certainly have plenty of promotable volumes for the Memorial Day holiday. On April 2, Havel told The Produce News that, as of May 1, Fresh Farms will be shipping Perlette and Prime green seedless grapes.... Read more
This year, the Mexican grape program for Los Angeles-based Stevco Inc., “is probably going to mirror the last couple of years. We will probably be around a million six [1.6 million boxes] in volume.” With minor exceptions, “Variety makeup will stay the same,” said Jared Lane, vice president of sales and marketing, in the company’s Bakersfield, CA, branch. It appeared that the season would be “extremely early, 12 to 14 days early,” said Lane March 31. “As it looks... Read more
West Pak relies on key relationships to keep avocados moving
The California avocado industry as a whole is expecting a lighter crop this year following two heavier crop years in 2013 and 2012. Not all avocado trees are on the same alternate fruit-bearing cycle, and even though this is in an off-crop year as a whole, “some of our key growers are experiencing on-crop years,” said Scott Bauwens, vice president of sourcing for West Pak Avocados Inc. in Murrieta, CA. So even though overall industry volume will be down, “going... Read more
In its California cherry program, Morada Produce Co. LP in Stockton, CA, is “fortunate” to have “a good solid grower base in every major growing district” throughout the state, according to Michael Jameson, who handles export sales for the company. That provides the benefit of assuring a steady supply of fruit throughout the season. For the early part of the California cherry season, “we have a lot of our own tonnage” from company orchards in the Bakersfield-Arvin-Shafter... Read more