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Big Chuy expects steady program for spring Sonora deal

Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc. in Nogales, AZ, which specializes in watermelons and hard shell squash from Mexico, has Mexican watermelons available every month of the year except August, according to Jesus (Chuy) Lopez Jr., president of the company.

The Sonora spring watermelon crops have been “a little delayed due to the effect of the cold weather we had,” Mr. Lopez said. "I think that is the same for everybody in Mexico.”

08-WMelons-BigChuy-Chuy-LopJesus (Chuy) Lopez Jr.Industry acreage for the Sonora spring watermelon deal is about the same as last year, he said. But with the later start, rather than the volume being spread out over three months, he expected light early volume and then heavy production through June.

Acreage for the company is also about the same as last year, he said.

Big Chuy’s watermelon production from Sonora should continue to around July 10, Mr. Lopez said. Then the company will have a gap in its Mexican watermelon program for the rest of July, the entire month of August and part of September.

In September, the fall harvest in Sonora will start, to be followed by a return to central Mexico for the winter deal.

Other than being late, the spring deal in Sonora was looking good, Mr. Lopez said. “The fields look nice.”

Big Chuy has “a very steady program for the spring deal,” he said. “We will have plenty of watermelons here. We have upgraded a lot of packinglines in Mexico,” in terms of both equipment and personnel, “to put out a better pack. That is one thing we really take a lot of pride in, to make sure the watermelons are looking really good.”

The company is also growing new varieties this year “to get a better Brix” and “better-cutting fruit,” he said.