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Central American Produce expands year-round offerings

Central American Produce Inc., headquartered in Pompano Beach, FL, plans to expand its list of commodities available to customers throughout the year.

The history of David W. Warren’s family and the evolution of Central American Produce is long, rich and inextricably tied to the land. The company was founded in 1972. Mr. Warren, who had served as the owner and manager of three terminal markets in New England, was living in Central America while in service to the Agency for International Development. During that time, he pioneered the development of non-traditional fresh fruit and vegetable programs with emphasis on the export market.

central-american-produce1Michael Warren, president of Central American Produce, with his parents David and Jean Warren, who founded the company in 1972. David and Jean Warren are still actively involved with the company. Crops that he introduced in Guatemala included sno peas and a variety of melons. David Warren, the company’s chief executive officer, continues to farm his diversified program in the Ipala region of Guatemala. Central American produce is vertically integrated, combining production, packing, research and development, transportation and marketing.

President Michael Warren, who joined his father at the company in 1978, said the business is thriving.

“We have our farm in Guatemala that produces cantaloupes, watermelon, butternut squash and spaghetti squash,” he told The Produce News on March 13. “We work closely with farmers throughout Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico and South America depending upon the commodity.”

Two years ago, the company added pineapples grown in Costa Rica to its tropical line. “That’s been growing each year for the last two years,” Mr. Warren stated. Central American Produce’s mixed vegetable program from Guatemala includes green onions, leeks, bunched radishes and radicchio.

“Business is brisk right now,” he continued, adding that the company takes advantage of the availability of various ports in the United States to efficiently move commodities to its customers.

“We’re developing more year-round programs,” Mr. Warren stated. The marketing window is growing for both squash and melons.

Mr. Warren said the Peruvian melon season is winding down, and Central American Produce is moving to new supplies from Mexico, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Looking at tropicals, he said, “Mangos are a growing item for us [for our year-round program].” Central American Produce now offers papayas throughout the year. Mr. Warren said the program began this past September, and he expects volume will increase as the program expands.

“We are going to build our commodity base,” Mr. Warren said about future prospects.

Commitment to quality assurance and food safety are paramount at Central American Produce.

“We feel it is our duty to preserve and protect the environment, and our commitment to our food-safety program, which includes an integrated pest management program and our focus on sustainable agricultural methodology, is evidence of that dedication,” the company’s website states.

Central American Produce works with growers who maintain food-safety testing and certification programs such as those offered by PrimusLabs.