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Fresh Farms adds new items to winter lineup, doubles cucumber volume

Fresh Farms in Nogales, AZ, has just finished its seventh year in business. “We are still growing and have plans to continue to grow,” said Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing.

This year, the company has added “several new items that we think will really add to our mix and make stopping at Fresh Farms more attractive,” he said.

Fresh Farms has also increased volume on some items. Most notably, “we have doubled our cucumber production,” Havel said. “We were big in cucumbers. Fresh-FarmsAt the Fresh Farms sales office in Rio Rico, AZ, with Jerry Havel (front) are Mayra Beltran, Robert Hernandez, Martha Noriega, Al Voll and Marco Serrano. (Photo by John Groh)Now we are very large in cucumbers.”

The cucumbers and most of the other items are grown by the Molina family of Hermosillo, Sonora, who own Fresh Farms and who have substantial farming operations in Mexico.

“Eggplant, Roma tomatoes and pickles are from outside growers,” he said.

While there have been weather issues in some growing areas in Mexico, “in our area we were fine. We had no issues” with inclement weather, Havel said. “We are in Sonora, and most of the bad weather was in Sinaloa.”

Several other items, including some of the new additions, started before the end of November. Among those were English cucumbers, eggplant, Roma tomatoes, fresh pickles and hard shell squash, including Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti and Kabocha.

“Our eggplant, green bean and Roma tomato programs are all out of Culiacan, Sinaloa,” Havel said. The hard shell squash is “all out of Sonora,“ some coming from Hermosillo and some from Guaymas.

Fresh Farms started its fresh pickle program last year, but it was just for the latter half of the season. This year, the program started at the beginning of the season, in November, and will run through the winter and into April, Havel said.

The same is true of the Roma tomato program. This year, “we are starting at the beginning of the season rather than the end of the season.” That not only gives Fresh Farms Romas for a more extended period but also increases the overall volume the company is shipping.

Eggplant this year started in November and will run clear through into May, he said.

Fresh Farms’ soft squash program is about the same this year as it has been in the past, Havel said. “Our big increases are in cucumbers and the new items that we will be doing.”

The company will also have an increase in bell pepper volume this winter, he said. Those had already started and would continue into April. They are grown in shade houses in Hermosillo and Guaymas.

In green beans, as in cucumbers, “we have doubled” the volume for the current season.

In summary, Havel said, “we just have more volume of great quality product,” and that growth is driven by demand “from our clients.”