This is Nathel International’s third year in business.
The company, Newstead, can afford to be choosy as it considers new Chilean import markets to get into.
“We don’t want to get involved in something if all we can do is just as good as the next company,” he said. “We look at our ceiling as really high.”
Western Fresh lobbies for new fig regulations
Madera, Calif.-based Western Fresh Marketing is lobbying the U.S. Department of Agriculture to remove the methyl bromide requirement for fresh figs imported from Chile.
Western Fresh has helped to fund tests and made other efforts to convince the government that Chilean figs do not need methyl bromide to be safe, said Chris Kragie, the company’s deciduous fruit manager.
“We’ve worked diligently to get methyl bromide to go away,” he said.
The methyl bromide requirement has been lifted for Chilean pomegranates, and Kragie hopes figs will soon follow suit.
Western Fresh is encouraging the USDA to take a systems approach to fresh Chilean figs: if produce is pest-free, it should be allowed into the U.S. without fumigation.
The problem with methyl bromide is that figs don’t hold up well to it, Kragie said.
“When customers receive it, fruit breaks down after a day or two.”
Kragie is confident that if the methyl bromide requirement is lifted, Western Fresh will be able to supply its customers with fresh figs year-round. Currently, there’s a three- or four-week window between the Chilean and California deals when Western Fresh typically does not have product.