view current print edition





Weis-Buy Farms thrives with tomatoes and peppers

One call. That’s all.

That is the slogan Weis-Buy Farms Inc. used when the company began almost 30 years ago, and it is still apropos today, although with a slightly narrowed meaning.

“We thought we could be successful in all areas of produce, but we soon found out we were better at the tomato, pepper and cucumber business, purchasing and marketing, than other areas,” explained Chuck Weisinger, chief executive officer of Fort Myers, FL-based Weis-Buy Farms.

Weisinger has decades of experience as a broker and salesman, has traveled extensively through key growing regions of the U.S., Central and South America, and sat on the boards and committees of the nation’s top produce marketing associations. “I use the phrase my late mother-in-law used: ‘We can only be good in one room, and our customers pick the room.’ That room is produce,” he said.

ChuckWeisinger WeisBuyFarmsInc DRChuck Weisinger“Today, with contract purchasing and emails, we still find that quality control and the usual hands-on touching of the produce still works. And we do that,” Weisinger said.

The fall season is expected to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

“With the El Nino year of last year past us, and the growers still experiencing and trying to make the new NAFTA work, it is expected to be a confusing but exciting season ahead,” Weisinger said. “Dry weather in Florida and Mexico has cut yields and size of the fruit, and warm weather has not helped the situation, with smaller tomatoes and peppers more abundant than the larger sizes. It has been a tough month to get what we really wanted, but we’ve been able to cover our orders and we covered our commitments. We also expect that markets will stabilize and remain steady and strong through Dec. 15.”

Weis-Buy’s import situation in the Dominican Republic has remained good and volume should start picking up on hothouse certified colored peppers and tomatoes to five or six loads per week by early December. “All of our pepper is Primus certified, and our results have been exceptional in the last three years. We hope to continue this in the coming year,” Weisinger said.

“With our salesforce primed for success and the growers with good crops we expect to be busy this year,” Weisinger said. He noted that new varieties in hothouse peppers and tomatoes are being grown in Florida and the Dominican Republic, along with Mexico, that offer exceptional flavor and shelf life and are more disease resistant. “That makes our life easier than in previous years,” he said.

“We look to the future with optimism. Florida is a leader in innovation in produce, and as always, we look for the newest but safest produce available,” Weisinger said.

This fall, Weis-Buy Farms has the option of choosing the best and correct color and size, grown on approximately 8,000 acres of green and vine ripened stake tomatoes. In the Dominican Republic it has approximately 50 greenhouses growing its peppers, which are marketed under Weis-Buy’s proprietary Tropical Jewels label.