Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC in Reedley, CA, introduced its new “Goin’ Ape” label to the trade at the Produce Marketing Association’s October Fresh Summit event, although it was shipping product under the label to one retail account prior to the event.
Dirk Winkelmann, director of the company, told The Produce News that the new label is directed toward certain retailers. “We’re using the new label on our value-added packaging,” he said. “It has a much higher visual profile that is geared toward families and kids. We’ve gotten good response to the label, which features a cartoon ape. We’ve been working on it for the past few months, and this year we’ll be utilizing it on our Chilean fruit program.”
The company also ships under its “Produce Kountry” and “Pacific Trellis” labels. It packs and markets an extensive line of high-profile fruits year-round. It sources from some of the globe’s more fertile regions including California, Chile, Mexico, Spain, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.
From Chile, Pacific Trellis imports kiwifruit, table grapes, apples, citrus (including clementines), pears, cherries and other tree fruits.
Cherries kicked off the winter 2011-12 season. The product started in mid-November and will run through late December or early January.
“Grapes run from mid-December to the beginning of May,” said Mr. Winkelmann. “Stone fruit also starts in mid-December and runs through mid- to late April. Kiwifruit goes from March and lasts from the middle to the end of summer. We also run apples for two to three months starting in February, and pears from February through April.”
Pacific Trellis’ Chilean citrus season runs in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months. Clementines are available from May through September or October. Navels and lemons run from late June through September.
Pacific Trellis Fruit maintains receiving and cold-storage facilities in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles for its imported products and a central San Joaquin Valley cold storage facility for its California fruit in that state. It offers customers a full range of packaging options. Mr. Winkelmann said that the company is adding more value-added packaging to its line this year.
“Reports are coming in that this year’s Chilean program will have a healthy increase in grapes,” he said. “While we place most of our emphases on grapes, we are developing other categories. And we’re adding pomegranates for the first time this year. In terms of the other Chilean product lines, things are pretty status quo for the season.”
Pacific Trellis Fruit’s customers are major chain and independent retailers, wholesalers, foodservice operators and clubstores. It distributes in the United States and Canada and exports to Latin America and Asia. Besides importing, the company also grows stone fruit domestically.
“We have ranches in Mexico and in Chile for grapes,” said Mr. Winkelmann. “Our Mexico ranch also produces melons.”
Chilean exporters, Mr. Winkelmann noted, are highly professional, and they do an outstanding job of shipping fruit to the rest of the world, not just to North America.
“They have been in the business for a long time,” he said. “They are great communicators and are highly professional in their business practices.”
Pacific Trellis is expecting an approximately 15 percent increase in its Chilean fruits this season — the majority of it in grapes.
“We’re expecting a good season in terms of quality,” said Mr. Winkelmann. “There have been some issues with freezes in Chile during the past few months. While they’re not expected to affect quality, they may affect volumes in some areas. Overall, it has been a good growing season in Chile, and we’re expecting a great marketing season.”