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Pacific Trellis, historically strong in imports, expands domestic grape deal

Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC, which is headquartered in Reedley, CA, and has branch offices in Nogales, AZ, and Gloucester, NJ, has historically been strong in the marketing of imported table grapes from Chile and Peru as well as from the company’s own ranches in Mexico.

The company has generally had a small California grape deal as well. But this year, Pacific Trellis is expanding its domestic program significantly, according to Angela Eastham, who is on sales in the company’s Reedley office.

PacTrellis-GoinApPacific Trellis’s new ‘Goin’ Ape’ grape label.“In the past, we have mainly been focused on imports,” Ms. Eastham said. “We have always been known for our Chilean and Peruvian fruit as well as our own Mexican fruit, but we never had a big California deal.”

But this year, “we have a firm program of about half a million boxes,” and there are plans to grow that program in future seasons, she said, noting that it is the company’s goal to have a strong year-round presence in grapes.

Along with that expansion, “we have a new addition to the office,” Ms. Eastham said July 12. Chad Macklin, who was previously with Oppenheimer, is now a field man at Pacific Trellis, heading grower relations. “He brought some packages with him,” immediately expanding the size of the company’s California grape program, and “in the last month or so since he has been with us, he has been able to sign a few other growers as well,” further strengthening the program.

The vineyards are located throughout the valley, from Arvin and Delano to the Fresno area.

“We are just getting ready to start this coming week with Flames, and we will have Summer Royals coming into production in the next seven to 10 days,” followed by Princess and Thompsons, she said. “Through the season, we have all the other common varieties that the industry has.” Among those are Sweet Scarlet, Vintage Red and Crimson.

With regard to packaging, “this year, the rest of the industry seems to be going in the direction of the gusseted carry bag,” Ms. Eastham said. Pacific Trellis will be using that bag as well. It is the pack style that “we will be featuring for our premium and large grapes,” she said.

“That is something that we started last year,” she continued. The company began in the fall, out of the Chilean deal, using the gusseted stand-up bag as a fixed-weight two-pounder in place of clamshells.

This season out of California, the company will be packing the gusseted bag open in 19-pound boxes as well as closed in two-pound fixed weight. “We still pack clamshells” as well, both eight two-pounders to a container and 10 two-pounders to a container, and will also pack regular slider bags in a 19-pound box. “But now we have customers that are asking for the two-pound fixed-weight bag once again,” she said.

The company actually offered a sealed two-pound fixed weight bag about eight years ago, she said. It was not, however, a gusseted design like the new package is.

The gusseted bag is stronger than traditional grape bags and is high graphic. “Our label this year, which we started last season, is ‘Goin’ Ape,’” she said. It will be used for premium grapes packed in the gusseted bag both open and fixed weight.

For medium-sized fruit packed in traditional grape bags, the company will continue to use the “Produce Kountry” label.

On sales at Pacific Trellis, along with Ms. Eastham, are Earl McMenamin and Patricia Denson. Greg Murray and Terence Kelley work in sales out of the company’s East Coast office in Gloucester, NJ, year-round.