“We are bringing fruit from Mexico into Nogales [AZ] as well as McAllen [TX],” said Chris Henry, director of sales and marketing at Giumarra Agricom International LLC in Escondido, CA. “Nogales is our entry point to go to the Western U.S., and McAllen is for the Midwest and the East Coast,” he said.
Giumarra Agricom will soon open an office in McAllen, he said, noting that some other divisions of Los Angeles-based Giumarra Cos. already have offices there.
Giumarra Agricom will be handling fruit from both Mexico and Chile through the fall and winter period, and will be marketing fruit from both countries on both coasts, according to Mr. Henry.
“When you have 52-week programs, it is important to source from all the countries of origin, so you can provide peak quality fruit to your customers year-round,” he said. “That is where Mexico, Chile, California and now Peru all play a role in providing the best quality fruit.”
Giumarra Agricom utilizes Mexican avocados for “both the retailers as well as the foodservice customers,” he told The Produce News Oct. 24. “Mexican fruit plays a key role at this time of year. A lot of the customers have learned to trust the Mexican product. This is the beginning of [Mexico’s] peak season,” which will continue through about the end of May. “Mexico is a strong country of origin and one of our primary suppliers. We see it that way and use it as such. Mexico is a key part of our 52-week program.”
Giumarra’s “Nature’s Partner” brand “is being packed in Mexico,” he said.
The 2011-12 Mexican Hass avocado crop “looks to be a bigger crop than last year,” Mr. Henry said. Based on crop estimates from all sources, he estimates that Mexican imports will “represent close to half of the fruit” coming into the U.S. market over the next 12 months.”
Giuimarra Agricom has “some excellent, long-standing relationships with our partners in Mexico,” Mr. Henry said. “We feel it gives us an advantage to bring some of the highest-quality fruit into the American market.”
While much of the company’s Mexican avocado volume crosses into the United States at Nogales, where Giumarra Cos. also has a division handling a full line of Mexican products, “A lot of the product that we have from Mexico funnels through McAllen,” Giumarra Agricom’s General Manager Bruce Dowhan told The Produce News. “Then, we also have some direct shipments that come from Chile and Peru that will come in through Houston.”
Additionally, Giuimarra Agricom still has “15 facilities around the country that we distribute from” and which offer customers “a variety of services. Those are designed to be more responsive to the needs of our customers,” Mr. Dowhan said. “By having regional facilities and regional services, we can offer the customers what they want in terms of product” with respect to size, grade or origin, for example. ”We can offer them product when they want it, because we can get it to their facility much quicker and be much more responsive to their orders.”
Also, “we can get it where they want it. We have a logistical network that allows us to get product to just about any facility in the country the same day or next day. And we can get them the product how they want it, in terms of bagged product, regular product, special packs, special ripening programs, branding programs. We can get them basically whatever it is they need,” he said.