FresCo’s first year in business has been a positive one, Charlie DiMaggio, president of the firm located at the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Market, told The Produce News. He added that the company has opened up many new programs during the year. FresCo occupies Units 258 and 259 in Row B at the market.
“We have added bananas to our lineup this year,” said Mr. DiMaggio. “We have an agreement with a company for the ripening process, so this is working out nicely.
“We also launched a Haas avocado programthrough a Mexican agreement this year,” he continued. “We will offer the avocados year-round.”
FresCo got its start when Mr. DiMaggio partnered with Sal and Charlie Restivo, contractors who do a lot of construction for New York City. They knew a lot about Hunts Point and its value as a location. Like his father before him, Mr. DiMaggio worked in the produce business for quite a while, but he wanted to go into business for himself. The three men hashed out the idea to start FresCo.
“Sal and Charlie backed the business, and we all agreed that we wanted things done right. The units we took were in need of total renovation, so we installed new electrical wiring and an inside cooling system. Combined with trailers in the rear and in front of the spaces, we have eight temperature zones that can be maintained from 32 to 58 degrees.”
Mr. DiMaggio added that with food safety a major issue today, he felt the cooling initiative was imperative.
Since opening its doors in April 2011, the company has tried just about every produce item that it feels could develop into a good program.
“Mangos have been steady since we opened last year,” said Mr. DiMaggio. “We are offering citrus fruits from both Florida and California, and we have some Western vegetable programs. Tomatoes have been strong for us since we opened, and our watermelon has grown strong. ”
FresCo did a major renovation to its units before it opened its doors last year. The company feels that continual improvements are important.
“We have started using hybrid trailers at our back doors where the rail tracks are,” he said. “We have electric tractors with diesel generators. When they are disconnected from electric power, the generator kicks on for just the hour or two that the tractor is in use. This reduces the amount of electricity we use, meaning we have less of a carbon footprint and lower pollution.”
He feels the market should be renovated at its current location, rather than moved to another area or state. “Hunts Point is an integral part of New York City,” he said. “I personally hope we stay here. It is in the hands of those negotiating currently, and I hope that everyone makes the right decision.”
Mr. DiMaggio said that the company is also cognizant of the locally grown trend, and it sources as much as possible from local growers.
“We are gearing up to start the season shortly with a local farmer who supplied greens to us last year,” he said. “We had a good season with the product, and we anticipate doubling this program this year.”