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Canadians love A.J. Trucco’s Italian chestnuts and kiwifruit

"We have strong and long-established business relationships with our retail and wholesale partners in Canada," said Nick Pacia, vice president of A.J. Trucco at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY. "These companies and their clientele are longtime supporters of our fresh Italian chestnuts from Avellino, Italy, and our kiwifruit, especially those from Italy and Chile."

Salvatore Vacca, president, and Nick Pacia, vice president, of A.J. Trucco at the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY. (Photo by Daniel Jalil)

Canadians are especially fond of A.J. Trucco's Italian chestnuts. Mr. Pacia said they are much tastier than other chestnuts and have more sugar content. The nuts are also easier than most others to peel after cooking. He added, "We know our Italian nuts."

A.J. Trucco's kiwifruit is also popular in Canada. Mr. Pacia said that certain growing regions in the world produce higher-quality kiwifruit, and he noted that it is important to buy the fruit at its seasonal peak.

"Italian kiwifruit has a high Brix level and good dry matter, and the Italian season is the longest in the world," he said. "Our program runs from late October or early November through the beginning of May. Most other regions stop at the end of March. This long season gives consumers outstanding kiwifruit during this time frame." Kiwifruit from other regions have not yet developed high enough sugars in this period to compare with Italian product.

"Italian producers have introduced kiwifruit varieties that turn consumers into repeat customers," he said. "And that's a great benefit to retailers."

Although Chilean kiwifruit is available sooner, A.J. Trucco starts its movement in late April when the crop's sugars are well developed. The Chile program runs for two to three months.

"We start moving New Zealand kiwifruit around May 15," said Mr. Pacia. "We have fruit from both there and Chile for a period of time. In August and September, we have mainly New Zealand product. In late October to early November, we start our California kiwifruit program, and then transition back to Italy. Our programs provide our customers with the highest-possible-quality kiwifruit year round."

A.J Trucco began in 1937 at the old Washington Produce Market in New York City. In 1965, Salvatore Vacca, who is now the president of the company, purchased it, and he relocated the business to the Hunts Point Terminal Market when it opened for business in 1967. In 1999, he partnered with Mr. Pacia, and together they continued Trucco's long tradition of importing and distributing Italian chestnuts. They have expanded the company's list of products to include kiwifruit, citrus, grapes and figs, as well as a wide array of dried fruits and nuts.

"The Canadian market has evolved over the years," Mr. Pacia added. "We look forward to expanding our relationships there in the future."