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Fresh Farms offering Mexican grape promotable volumes

frehseeihfBeginning May 26, Mexico will begin to provide table grape volumes well-suited for retail promotions, according to Scott Rossi, sales manager of Fresh Farms LLC, based in Nogales, AZ.

Promotable volumes will be available through June.

On May 14, Rossi indicated that Fresh Farms’ featured Sonoran grape deal transitioned “beautifully” from the firm’s early Jalisco production. Per plan, “We were able to bridge the gap between Guaymas, Sonora, and the Jalisco growing regions,” he said.

In Guaymas, the harvest of Primes and Summer Royals began May 8. Volumes were initially light, then ramped up continually.

In Guaymas, “We lost about a third of the production on Primes due to the freeze a few months ago,” he said.

Fresh Farms’ owner, Grupo Molina, has its largest packing house in Pesqueria, which is several miles north of Hermosillo, Sonora. Harvest start dates in Pesqueria were a few days behind normal.

Rossi expected normal Mexican grape pricing for May, and for June to accommodate “promote time,” he said.

Fresh Farms will finish the 2020 Mexican grape deal the first week of July, as expected. “We can plan to continue an extra week if a customer asks us to do this,” said Rossi.

As to the firm’s new Jalisco deal, Rossi noted, “Considering we were up against the darkest days of the pandemic, it went better than expected. Quality was outstanding and prices remained at our contract pricing.”

From Jalisco, Fresh Farms shipped Cotton Candy and Sweet Globe varieties. “Sales and quality were outstanding. We harvested Ivory, Sugar Crisp, and Great Green and a few first crop Sweet Celebration on a red variety. Harvesting began as scheduled, April 8, on time,” he said.

Jalisco’s shipping window was desirable, and the market “was served by fresh, great-quality grapes with the sizes and brix that are in demand,” he said.

He noted that, “Even with all that was going on, we continue to prove that a good quality grape will find a home in today’s market.”

Rossi said of Mexico’s table grape industry, “We believe the future is bright for those that are able to pull old varieties and plant new varieties. The strength of the industry will be production from new varieties and the size and eating quality that they will bring to the consumer.”

Rossi’s concern for the industry is “Overproduction of old varieties.”

He added that Fresh Farms “is a family business that keeps growing with the new generation, and there are a lot of exciting things planned for the near future that are on hold because of the pandemic. But you will soon be hearing about them. Fresh Farms is just starting.”

He noted the Fresh Farms Mexican vegetable deal is winding down in May, “especially because there is domestic product. We will continue to ship a small amount of our core vegetable items — cucumbers, squash, Bell peppers — to support some of our retail business. Watermelon is big in May for us, with great quality and flavor as well as volume, so this is a good combination to have,” he said.

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