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Watermelons, hard squash are core items for Harrison Fresh

Harrison Fresh is “a new company this year” in Nogales, AZ, and is “a work in progress,” said Brent Harrison, president of the new entity, in an interview with The Produce News.

Harrison is also president of Al Harrison Co. Distributors, a long-established multi-generation family company in the Nogales deal. “At this point, we are going to operate” under the Harrison Fresh name,” he said. Because the organizational aspects of the business were in a transitional state, he did not go into detail beyond that announcement.

“My goal is going to be to work on my core items this year,” Harrison said. “That means our programs will be watermelons, which have already started in Hermosillo” in the Mexican state of Sonora, and hard shell squash. “Right now we have a nice program in Hermosillo with hard shell and watermelons.”

04-Nogales-HarrisonBrent HarrisonIn addition, “we are going to have a little bit of Zucchini and yellow squash,” he said. For Harrison Fresh, that is a seasonal program out of Sonora, which will run until about mid-December and then start again in March.

When The Produce News talked to Harrison, the company’s fall watermelon program, which had started in October, was nearing completion. That was an earlier finish than usual, and it was “because our fields peaked early,” he said.

The watermelon deal for Harrison Fresh would be transitioning down to the states of Jalisco and Nayarit in southern Mexico for winter production. “We will start around the 15th to 20th of December,” he said, but because of the early finish in Hermosillo, he expected a gap.

The hard shell squash program, however, will continue through the remainder of the fall season, throughout the winter and into spring out of Sonora and the neighboring state of Sinaloa. “We will have Sonoran hard shell squash till probably late December” and transition to the Guasave area in northern Sinaloa the first of the year,” he said. “It is planted in phases in different areas to give us a consistent stream of product from now through April.”

Butternut and acorn squash were already going, and Harrison expected to start Spaghetti squash within a few days.

Crops were looking good, but seed, for certain varieties of squash, was “a challenge to secure this year,” Harrison said.

“We know that certain varieties work better in certain areas for the size and shape that we are looking for, so we fought pretty hard to get the correct seed and get it moving on. I really feel that if weather holds up we are going to have a pretty good slug of squash to come through here. Depending on the demand, hopefully we can make this a good market.”