(Jan. 4, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) Calavo Growers’ presence in the white button and crimini market is mushrooming.

Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc. is marketing and distributing mushrooms from Farmer’s Fresh Mushroom Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia.

Calavo, once known primarily for avocados and papayas, has been in the mushroom deal since 2003 when it purchased Anaheim, Calif.-based Maui Fresh International Inc. However, Calavo now intends to deal exclusively with Farmer’s Fresh mushrooms, said Art Bruno, Calavo’s chief operating and financial officer.

Bruno said Calavo’s previous mushroom deal was for a small group of customers and did not contribute significantly to the company’s bottom line. He said the company expects to ship about 7.5 million pounds of Farmer’s Fresh product for the fiscal year ending Oct. 31.

If Calavo reaches that target, he said, sales should be worth $7 million to $8 million.

Bruno said Calavo plans to focus U.S. distribution in the western states, going as far east as Colorado. He said the company is serving Canadian accounts as well.

The mushrooms, including white button, crimini and exotics, will be packaged with the Calavo brand. The company previously did not offer Calavo-branded mushrooms.

Calavo has expanded its product line in the past six months, adding Calavo-branded tomatoes in August and MauiGold pineapples in December.

Chief executive officer Lee Cole said in a news release that the tomato, MauiGold pineapple and mushroom products are expected to add $53 million to $63 million in revenue this fiscal year.