When Tricar Sales Inc. began shipments of cucumbers out of Sonora on Oct. 8, it kicked off a stretch of Mexico production that it expects to run into next summer.
By late November, the scene shifted from Magdalena and Hermosillo to Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa.
“We’ll have cucumbers through June 30 if all goes as planned, including European cucumbers,” said Rod Sbragia, director of sales and marketing for Nogales, Ariz.-based Tricar Sales.
The company’s emphasis is on cucumbers and cucumber products, with substantial offerings in colored bell peppers and roma tomatoes as well. Tricar occasionally handles product for other growers; squash and watermelon, for example.
Of the European cucumbers, about 13% are organic.
This past summer, Tricar made its first foray into a small cucumber shipping deal out of Baja. “It was pretty successful and we look to expand on that next year if we can to help meet our customers’ needs,” Sbragia said.
Romas started Oct. 29 and also run to June in various regions of Mexico.
Bell peppers were expected to start Dec. 1 and go through May 30. The company offers bells in green, red, yellow and orange.
About 90% of Tricar’s volume is produced in greenhouses or shade houses.
“That’s standard,” Sbragia said. “From everything I’ve experienced being involved for the first time with a shipper utilizing these methods, the capital investment obviously is larger. But your overall costs are down because of the reduced need of any kind of amendments for the soil.”
Sbragia came to Tricar from FoodSource Nogales, where he was sales manager.
To take advantage of progress at the Mariposa port since last year, he said, Tricar Sales will open earlier for receiving — 9 a.m. In Nogales it was common for the warehouse to open at 10 or 10:30 a.m.
“As the new port nears completion, we’ll start seeing product arrive here not only sooner in the day, but also a lot fewer situations where trucks are being held at the border because they couldn’t process them all,” Sbragia said.
“As that occurs, it’s going to be incumbent on us as an industry to get the product in and out of our warehouses because most people don’t have warehouses big enough to handle the volume they’ll have coming in.
“Overall boxes are about the same, but as the port becomes more efficient they’ll be able to process trucks through a lot faster and we’re going to have to have room in our warehouses to store it. The sooner we can open up for shipping, the better off we’ll be.”