Boston Know Your Market business updates

03/30/2010 11:43:06 AM
Andy Nelson

Alphas Co. enjoys strong demand for specialty line

Now in its sophomore year, the Asian and Indian specialty produce line continues to be a big success for Chelsea, Mass.-based The Alphas Co., said Yanni Alphas, president and chief executive officer.

“It’s growing by leaps and bounds,” he said.

A variety of specialty eggplants and squashes and bitter melon are among the line’s big sellers, Alphas said.

BC Produce increases rail use for spud shipments

Because of a big Idaho potato crop this season, Chelsea, Mass.-based BC Produce Inc. is sourcing more russets from Idaho and fewer from Prince Edward Island, Canada, said Sam Rocco, the company’s president.

That means a heavier reliance on rail shipments, he said.

CSX trains come into the New England Produce Terminal five nights a week, Rocco said. There are two tracks behind the BC shed and a remote track on the other side of the market.

BC brings in potatoes, onions, oranges, lemons and other commodities either by rail or via piggy-back, he said.

Rail service has improved in re-cent years, particularly at the Selkirk railyard near Albany, N.Y., where cars are reallocated before making the final run to Boston, Rocco said.

“Selkirk used to be a disaster,” he said. “There was a time when cars would disappear for a week. Now they go in and out in a day.”

Still, it’s not perfect, Rocco said. Rail is still not as dependable as trucks, and whether shipments come on time is subjective.

“It depends what you mean by ‘on time,’” he said. “But what are you going to do? It’s the nature of the beast. I think they’re doing a

Cerasuolo Inc. undergoes shifts in staffing

Angelo Melito has left the sales desk of Chelsea, Mass.-based John Cerasuolo Inc., and Dominic Cavallaro has increased his sales duties for the company, said Ken Cavallaro, the company’s treasurer and Dominic’s uncle.

Melito left the company Jan. 1 and now works for Boston Tomato Inc., Cerasuolo’s neighbor on the New England Produce Terminal, Cavallaro said.

Condakes adds tomato packaging machinery

By mid-spring Peter Condakes Co. Inc., Chelsea, Mass., expects to have a new tomato packaging machine installed, said Peter John Condakes, the company’s president.

The machine will be able to pack clamshells by weight, instead of by volumes, Condakes said.

That will ensure a more accurate pack and help prevent overpacking, which can bruise product when the clamshell lids are closed.

The new machinery also will require two fewer laborers, he said.


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