“We were just trading dollars every day on pineapple,” said vice president Steve Davidson.
North American now deals strictly with Northern Fruit based in Wenatchee, Wash.
Meanwhile, the company’s Chilean deal gets stronger every year, vice president Larry Davidson said.
He said North American is now the second largest direct importer of Chilean cherries, grapes, stone fruit and citrus into Canada.
Last year, North American hired four employees and launched Summit Produce Inc. in Fresno, Calif.
Russell Produce expands organic line
Berry specialist J.E. Russell Produce Ltd. has expanded its line of organic vegetables from several suppliers.
The move comes after conversations with shippers and retail customers eager to expand their organic offerings, said president John Russell, who works out of the Ontario Food Terminal.
“They’re not high volume items,” Russell said, “but customers want to be in touch with what’s new out there.”
.Russell is also looking to expand his offering of Ontario-grown organic vegetables.
Ryan & Associates adds produce buyers
Brokers and distributor Richard E. Ryan & Associates Ltd., based at the Ontario Food Terminal, is training the next generation of produce buyers.
Sacha Lisse and Barry Lexchin, both industry newcomers, are learning the ropes from brothers Barry and Steven Green.
The company is preparing to move down the hall in March, trading its current 960-square-foot facility for 1,920-square-foot quarters.
Lisse, who joined the company last March, has six years of experience in food marketing and sales and is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian and German. He’s found his niche expanding international deals in papayas and mangos.
Lexchin left the accounting field to join the produce industry last fall. He’s marketing dry onions, another new commodity for the company.
Streef Produce growing asparagus
After representing asparagus growers for years, Streef Produce Ltd. has planted 55 acres at its own farm in Princeton, west of Toronto.
Owner Peter Streef, who sells local and imported produce from the family’s wholesale operation at the Ontario food terminal, said his crew already has already spent several years tending the asparagus crop of a 75-year-old grower in Prince Edward County who’s set to retire.