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Stellar Distributing to increase production of popular new fig variety

MADERA, CA — At Stellar Distributing, here, the California fig deal is getting sweeter in two ways. There's a new, sweeter variety and it's coming into big production this summer.

Stellar introduced an exciting new variety to its extensive California fig program several years ago. The Tiger fig has striped green and yellow skin, a unique flavor and a bright red flesh that set it apart from traditional figs.

Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager at Stellar, told The Produce News that he is very excited about the Tiger fig in 2013, since the firm will increase shipments to 100,000 boxes this year — a dramatic climb from last year's 15,000 boxes. Tiger Whole-SplitStellar is the exclusive seller of the Tiger figs growing near Madera, CA.Stellar is the exclusive seller of the 300 acres of Tiger figs growing near Madera, CA. Shipments will begin Aug. 1.

"Movement has been brisk and it is hard for us to keep [retailers] supplied," Mr. Cappelluti said. "We are finally coming into true production this year and we have been grooming these retailers by providing small amounts of production the last few years to entice the consumer taste buds, so-to-speak."

The flavor is as unique as the look of the striped skin and bright red flesh. It has a sweeter, honey-like taste, which consumers have come to love.

"They love the flavor, they love the fact that it is a different fig and when they open it up they love the bright red color they see," Mr. Cappelluti added.

Stellar has been selling and shipping figs for over two decades, handling over 4,000 acres.

Stellar starts the season on May 1 with Sierra, Black Mission and Brown Turkey figs out of California's southern desert. It then closes out the season by harvesting in the central San Joaquin Valley with the Breva crop in those same varieties.

Stellar will ship with no break from May 1 through Jan. 15, 2014 due to volume from the southern California desert crop and central San Joaquin Valley crop. The new Tiger fig variety will be available Aug. 1 during the main crop and will be the feature fig of the six varieties available.

Stellar ships a wide variety of pack styles for its traditional figs. For the new Tiger fig, it will ship 12 eight-ounce clams, six 12-ounce clams, eight one-pound clams, 12 one-pint baskets, half trays, family pack trays and full trays.

Stellar is also well known for its year-round kiwi program, shipping over a half-million cases every year out of California and selling over 2.5 million boxes of kiwi a year when including its imported product. It is a leading importer of Chilean and Italian kiwi, which is available on both the East Coast and West Coast.