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Southern Specialties Inc. trims and clips produce for foodservice convenience and labor savings

From its very beginning, the foodservice trade has been a significant market segment for Pompano Beach, FL-based Southern Specialties Inc. To best serve chefs of all types, the firm offers products that wow diners and save time and effort in the kitchen.

“From our conception more than 20 years ago, we have been a supplier of specialty produce to the foodservice industry across the country and in Canada,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Southern Specialties. “Our company has always been committed to foodservice operations of all levels and sizes, and it continues to be a significant portion of our business today. Our customers range from the top echelon broad-line foodservice distributors to independent distributors who in turn supply a broad spectrum of restaurants.”

Mr. Eagle said that the company’s integrated system and product mix enables customers to receive its diverse products in an efficient manner up to several times weekly. Southern Specialties is able to service foodservice customers with smaller amounts of specialty products when they accompany larger-volume products, maintaining efficiencies and providing chefs with the items they need.

“The foodservice industry appears to be strengthening from the economic recession,” said Mr. Eagle. “We expect it to return to its normal growth pattern gradually but consistently. Southern Specialties works with its customers to help their end users find opportunities to refine their menus and define their food costs efficiently.

Among the most highly demanded produce items from Southern Specialties are green and white asparagus, French beans, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, sno peas and limes.

The company was preparing for its peak Peruvian asparagus program in early July, which will ramp up over the following couple of months. Mr. Eagle said that it is a highly popular foodservice item.

“Our French bean program also continues to be a major success for us,” he said. “The beans are cleaned and clipped on the stem end so they are ready to use. Sold in convenient one- or two-pound bags, the item allows for extended shelf life, ease of inventory, reduced labor and handling, and enhanced food safety.”

The company’s hand-peeled baby carrots come in five-pound vacuum bags. Rainbow-colored carrots are available in five-pound formats. Its seven-ounce formats are shipped 12 to a box.

Southern Specialties’ sugar snap and sno peas are also trimmed and packed for foodservice convenience, and its Guatemalan limes are available in all the traditional foodservice packs.

“We have moved our California facility from Buena Park to Los Angeles to better service our customers,” said Mr. Eagle. “The new location is convenient to the Los Angeles market.”

Mr. Eagle and colleagues Dana Giacone, director of West Coast operations, and Daryl Johnston, vice president of sales, will be in attendance at the PMA Foodservice Convention & Exposition.

Southern Specialties was founded in 1990 by Robert Colescott, who continues to serve as its chief executive officer and president. Today, the company is involved in growing, importing, processing and marketing a wide range of fruits and vegetables from the United States, Central America, South America, Mexico and Canada, and it is a leading supplier of specialty fruits and vegetables. It maintains offices in Pompano Beach; Atlanta; Los Angeles; McAllen, TX; Peru; and Mexico.