Previous Farmer's Best employee, Steve Spence, returned to the company after working with GreenPoint for a period.
Previous Farmer's Best employee, Steve Spence, returned to the company after working with GreenPoint for a period.

Apache Produce adds squash, slicer cukes

Apache Produce Imports LLC, Nogales, Ariz., has added Italian, yellow and gray squash plus slicer cucumbers to its winter lineup this year.

Production is in Los Mochis, Mexico, said Jose Pesqueira, sales manager.

Green bells are also new and available in small quantities. Eggplant, first offered a year ago, is again available.

“We’re kind of holding back with squash. The market’s been pretty depressed,” Pesqueira said Nov. 13.

“As it improves a bit we’ll increase volume. Everybody comes in at once and has product this time of the year. You’ve still got product on the East Coast and out of San Diego.”

Ciruli Bros. raises bet on hot peppers

Ciruli Bros. LLC began shipping jalapeños and serranos around Nov. 18, and acreage and volume are up substantially over last year.

“I think we gave probably a 25% boost to the hot pepper category and we’ll see how that goes this year,” said Chris Ciruli, partner in Nogales, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros.

“There’s good demand on that front.”

“You see more mainstream chains using them, and certainly foodservice is using a lot more hot peppers,” he said.

“You used to have only the Hispanic markets buying it, but as the ethnic diversity of the U.S. continues to grow we now have the Asian markets and all retailers pulling that.”

Tomatillos also started about the same time.

West Mexico Winter Produce business updatesFarmer’s Best hires two to sales staff

Ruben Penunuri joined the sales staff of Nogales, Ariz.-based Farmer’s Best International in November. He was previously a quality assurance supervisor at NatureSweet and Eurofresh Inc. At Eurofresh he also had experience as a packhouse supervisor.

Steve Spence, who had previously worked in sales at Farmer’s Best, returned to the company in July after a stint with GreenPoint.

J-C Distributing Inc. names salesman

Christian Reyna joined the sales staff of Nogales, Ariz.-based J-C Distributing Inc. in August.

Reyna previously worked in sales at Divine Flavor LLC, Rio Rico, Ariz., for three years. He was also an inspector buyer at The Kroger Co. for three years.

In 2012, he was named to the board of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

Prime Time boosts Baja mini peppers

Coachella, Calif.-based Prime Time International LLC has tripled its Baja California, Mexico, acreage of mini peppers since last year, said Mike Aiton, director of marketing.

“It’s a growing commodity with a lot of promotions,” Aiton said. “In late December or early January we’ll begin mainland production in Culiacan.”