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North Carolina spring heating up for Sy Katz Produce

With a red-hot market for peppers, Boone, NC-based Sy Katz Produce Inc. is well-positioned for a spicy spring and summer, with a focus on bell and variety peppers grown on its North Carolina farms.

The pepper program at Sy Katz has grown steadily in recent years, including a 30 percent jump last season, according to President Owen Margolis.

Sy Katz grows squash, cabbage, cucumbers, and bell and variety peppers at its North Carolina farms. The company also handles sales for Full House Farms in Clinton, NC, and has operations in Lake Park, GA; Pompano Beach, FL; Nogales, AZ; and Benton Harbor, MI. Seasonal operations around the country allow Sy Katz to provide a year-round supply of a full line of fruits and vegetables, specializing in mixed vegetables, tomatoes and imported produce.

“The crops look good so far,” Mr. Margolis said in early May. “The Carolina deal is pretty much the same — we’ve developed a pretty good year-round program for all the variety stuff.”

Sy Katz’s North Carolina season kicks off with cabbage in mid-May, and squash and cucumbers follow within a week or two, Mr. Margolis said.

After disastrous winter weather in all growing areas in 2010, growing conditions have been quite favorable in all regions this spring and summer for Sy Katz. “So far, there hasn’t been any bad weather, so we should have a normal crop going forward,” Mr. Margolis said.

Other than the booming pepper market, it is business as usual for Sy Katz’s North Carolina operations this season, said Mr. Margolis. “We’re just looking forward to another successful year.”

He said that the North Carolina spring deal is “Absolutely moving the way it’s supposed to be moving.” He credited the growers with which Katz works for much of that. “We truly do feel like, especially in the Georgia and Carolina deal, that we do work with really fine growers — or we wouldn’t be working with them,” Mr. Margolis said. “We’ve got a long-standing reputation to uphold, and it takes good growers to help us do it. We’re partners with them. We’re a link in the chain, and they’re an integral part of it, no doubt.”