Calavo Growers Inc., which is headquartered in Santa Paula, CA, will again be offering beefsteak tomatoes, vine-ripe tomatoes and mature green tomatoes from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, through its branch office in Nogales, AZ, according to Javier (J.J.) Badillo, director of diversified products, who runs the company’s Nogales operation.
In addition, “we will have a few new items this year,” he said. Added to the program this year will be Roma tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine, and red Bell peppers, all out of Culiacan.
The products are being grown by a variety of methods — some in greenhouses, some in shadehouses and some open field, he said. “We continue to see greenhouse and shade cloth increase” with the open-field production declining.
“Our Roma tomato program will be 80 [boxes] per pallet, and our tomato-on-the-vine program will be anywhere from 100 to 120 per pallet, with our red Bell program from 90 to 100 per pallet,” he said.
“All of these items will be in the ‘Calavo’ label” and will ship from December to June, he said.
“In our tomato program, our 15-pound one-layers, our 25-pound two-layers, 25-pound volume-fill programs, and our RPC programs continue to advance,” Mr. Badillo said.
All of the items are grown and packed “under our food-safety program,” he said. The farms and facilities in Mexico have audited Good Agricultural Practices or Good Manufacturing Practices as appropriate from Scientific Certification Systems or Primus. The company also has third-party audited food-safety certifications at all points of the distribution chain through its forward-distribution centers. In addition, “we are C-TPAT certified, COOL compliant ... and currently PTI compliant to date,” with GS-1 data bar stickering programs in place.
“We are utilizing the Chep pallet program on our beefsteak tomatoes,” he added.
“Our sales continue in the f.o.b. format as well as our ad and contractual formats,” Mr. Badillo said. “As our supplies and qualities continue strengthening, both in consistency and their food-safety programs, and in their volumes, our contracts continue to expand as well as our ad formats.”
The products will be distributed through two different warehouse and distribution facilities in Nogales as well as through Calavo’s value-added depot in Garland, TX, he said. In Nogales, the main facility, referred to as Calavo North, along with the sales office, is located in the north end of the Rio Rico Industrial Park. The other facility, called Calavo South, is housed in the Ta-De Distributing building on Old Tucson Road, which is “where we ripen our mature green tomatoes.” In Garland, the company is “continuing to expand” the value-added depot.
In the Nogales facility, Mr. Badillo and Marc Mendivil continue on sales, and Daniella Sainz, previously sales assistant, is now on sales. “Calavo corporate sales continue to expand as well,” Mr. Badillo said.
“Currently, the crop looks great,” with an anticipated start date between Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, which is similar to last year, he said.
“Our commitment to big sizes of tomatoes will continue this year,” Mr. Badillo said. He expects the crop to be “packing heavy in the 28s and larger sizes on beefsteaks, 5x5 and larger on two layers, and extra-large and jumbos on both vine ripes and mature green tomatoes.” On Romas, he expects the size curve to be heavy to large and extra large.
“Our continued advances in structural technology, meaning our greenhouse and shadehouse technologies, as well as our growing packing and distribution expertise, continue to expand what matters to us most, which is customers’ satisfaction,” he said. So overall, “I expect another year of solid growth with a high-quality, big-sized, reliable and trusted Calavo tomato crop.”