Other varieties are helping the melon business mature, as well, McGuigan said, adding that his company has its own proprietary Harper, coming out of Central America, as well as the U.S.
“We continue to see the melon category evolve,” he said. “As we offer a consistent eating product, you’re seeing that market move to us.”
Sandia Distributors is placing some of its emphasis this year on mini watermelons, said Raul Paez, the Nogales, Ariz.-based company’s president.
“We have some mini trials – some pretty heavy trials,” he said. “We had a pretty good deal in the fall. We’re not getting into the specialties, other than the mini watermelons.”
Shipments out of Mexico should start at the end of March, he said.
“They have a gap from fall to spring here out of Mexico,” he said.
Fresno, Calif.-based Crown Jewels Marketing & Distribution LLC also is looking at the mini melons, said Atomic Torosian, a partner with the company, which also operates an office in Nogales.
“That seems to be a growing category,” Torosian said. “They did very well last year.”