Pacific International Marketing has expanded its organic vegetable program in Santa Maria, added to its cooler space in the valley and begun marketing snow and snap peas.
Pacific International expects to ship more organic vegetables, including celery and cauliflower this year, said Henry Dill, sales manager for the Salinas, Calif.-based company.
The higher demand is being driven mainly by the retail sector, though Pacific International is seeing an uptick in foodservice demand, too.
“Foodservice is looking to utilize more bulk packs,” he said. “A lot of restaurants are seeing customers ... asking for organic.”
Building organic vegetable programs at foodservice, however, is easier said than done, Dill said.
“They’re trying to meet that need, and it’s not always the easiest thing to do,” he said. “It’s not as easy to have a 52-week, straight-line supply like it is on conventional.”
Pacific International has added 25,000 square feet at its Santa Maria facility to accommodate a new client, Dill said.
The company is now allowing Spreckels, Calif.-based grower-shipper Blazer Wilkinson LLC to use Pacific International’s coolers and loading docks for its strawberry deal, Dill said.
Pacific International already has a similar deal with Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc.
Pacific International also began marketing snow and snap peas the week of April 8, Dill said.
Samantha Lougee, who was hired last spring as a sales assistant, will manage the program.
“We used to dabble in it about 10 years ago,” Dill said. “Now we’re at the point where we want to pursue it 12 months a year.”
Pacific International will not grow the peas it markets, Dill said.