Mexican Greenhouse business updates

09/14/2012 02:48:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Bebo Distributing plans to add covered acres

Bebo Distributing Inc., based in Pharr, Texas, is adding 75 acres of greenhouses in central Mexico, said owner Jaime Garza.

The acreage will cover eggplant and colored bell peppers.

The company also plans to add 35 acres of cucumbers to the 35 acres it grows in shade houses in central Mexico.

Del Campo adds 50 acres under glass

Del Campo Supreme Inc., Nogales, Ariz., has added 50 acres of high-tech greenhouses in Jalisco, Mexico, said Jim Cathey, general manager. The company will grow there from June to December.

“That has the capability, the room and the packing facilities to grow to a 200-acre project,” Cathey said.

The facility will produce elongated sweet red peppers, grape tomatoes and several kinds of specialty tomatoes, including pink and yellow pearl gourmet cocktail tomatoes. Del Campo Supreme now will have cocktail tomatoes year-round, Cathey said.

Greenhouse Produce to grow with new items

Greenhouse Produce Co. LLC, Vero Beach, Fla., has seen 50% growth over the past year and plans to continue to expand, largely by focusing on nontraditional greenhouse items, said president Fried DeSchouwer.

DeSchouwer said he could not reveal what those new items might be for competitive reasons, but he expects some of them to be available in the near future.

Sampling already has begun, he said.

The company currently offers several kinds of tomatoes, bell peppers, colored bell peppers and long English cucumbers.

Kingdom Fresh opens location near Dallas

Kingdom Fresh Produce Inc., Donna, Texas, has opened an office in Frisco, Texas, near Dallas, said Dan Edmeier, director of sales. The company hopes to conduct forward distribution out of that location in the future.

“We wanted to get a foothold in that market,” he said.

Kingdom Fresh also has added eggplant to its product line this year in response to customer requests.

“It’s an item that grows very well in a greenhouse, and the quality is outstanding,” Edmeier said.

The company also plans to open a 400-acre operation near Monterrey in Nuevo León, Mexico, next year. The firm already has facilities in Torreon in the state of Coahuila and sells greenhouse product grown from Culiacan in Sinaloa.

Kingdom Fresh is primarily a tomato shipper featuring roma, vine-ripe, beefsteak and red and yellow grape tomatoes along with some green and colored bell peppers.

NatureSweet building on new branding

San Antonio-based NatureSweet Ltd. is basking in the afterglow of a number of changes the company made over the past year and is preparing to launch some new things in the fall, said Kathryn Ault, marketing director.

The company abandoned its Desert Glory Ltd. name about a year ago and renamed itself after its NatureSweet brand. It also moved its cherry tomato product out of red mesh bags to distinctive shaker packs and launched Sunburst yellow cherry tomatoes, which have tripled in distribution in the past 12 months, Ault said.

Early this year, NatureSweet launched a website that focuses on positioning for each of its products: cherry tomatoes — the ingredient tomato; Cherubs —salad tomatoes; and Sunburst — golden sweet snacking tomatoes.

The company introduced a TV commercial in April and plans to bring it back in the fall.

In October, NatureSweet will tie-in its Cherubs with the Susan G. Komen breast cancer awareness program and package tomatoes in a container with a special pink base. NatureSweet will donate $55,000 to the foundation, Ault said.

The company also is coming out with a bonus pack for its cherry tomatoes, which will give consumers an extra 20% extra free by including some of its sweet Sunburst product in the container.

Prime Time adds roma tomato deal

Coachella, Calif.-based Prime Time International is adding roma tomatoes to its Mexican greenhouse and shade house programs this season, said Mike Aiton, marketing director. The company has been selling round and grape tomatoes from Baja California and is adding romas to complement those offerings, he said. They will be available from October through April.

Wholesum Family Farms plans Arizona facility

Wholesum Family Farms, Nogales, Ariz., will open a greenhouse in Amado, Ariz., said Anthony Totta, who handles marketing for the firm. The facility will produce tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine and other varieties.

Harvesting should start in October, and production should be in full swing in time for the official ribbon-cutting on Nov. 10, he said.

The first phase is planned to consist of 12 acres of strictly organically grown product. Multiple phases are planned.

The company, which has a major greenhouse and shade house operations in Mexico, recently became Fair Trade-certified, Totta said.

Wholesum Family Farms grows tomatoes, eggplant, green and colored bell peppers, cucumbers and soft and hard squash under the Wholesum Harvest label.

The company plans to add some meatless recipes to its collection at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in October.



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