Fresh Advancements beefs up specialties
Despite the fact that he lost money importing finger limes last winter, Anthony Pitoscia is trying again with a shipment from Australia.
“People don’t know what to do with it,” said Pitoscia, vice president of Fresh Advancements Inc. at the Ontario Food Terminal, Toronto.
The gherkin-shaped fruit with the exploding pearls of juice won the innovation award at last year’s Fruit Logistica in Berlin.
“They should have called it lime caviar,” Pitoscia said. “It’s good with sushi.”
At $40-45 wholesale for a 2.2-pound box, price is also a barrier, he said.
At this year’s Berlin show, Pitoscia planned to source countries offering a tree-ripened mango program.
Global Fresh imports butternut squash, citrus
Toronto-based Global Fresh Import & Export Inc., the Canadian division of the Tom Lange Co., is seeing higher sales and volumes in its orange category and growing demand for easy-peel and seedless oranges, said Stephen Rodrigues, national sales manager for Canada.
Among the company’s imports this winter are seedless kinnow mandarins from Pakistan.
“We’re seeing more product coming into North America from places like Pakistan and South Africa because the economy isn’t particularly good in their first-choice markets of Europe and Russia,” he said.
On the vegetable front, Global Fresh plans to bring in butternut squash from Argentina within the next month.
“The weather last year wasn’t particularly good for squash, so there will probably be a shortage. We will bring it in to help fill the market,” he said.
The biggest challenge he sees this year is tracking containers and getting loads shipped across the border quickly.
“You have to deal with good growers because the product is coming a long way,” he said.
Ippolito Produce finds success with squash
Ippolito Produce Ltd. in the Ontario Food Terminal, Toronto, has built a loyal following for the squash it’s bringing directly from a shipper in Nogales, Ariz., under a variety of labels.
“We’ve handled squash before through our warehouse, but doing it direct gives us more opportunity to expand the category,” said Jim Gordon, operations manager.
Gordon said the deal was a bit of a struggle in the beginning with the soft squash, “but now I think people see us as a destination for that product.”
Ippolito is also expanding its offerings from B&W Quality Growers in Fellsmere, Fla., with red baby spinach and pea tendrils, he said, and it’s working with a few more local growers in the Bradford area north of Toronto.