Today's Pricing

WATERMELON — F.O.B.S AS OF APRIL 14

MEXICO CROSSINGS THROUGH NOGALES, ARIZ. — Crossings (416-623-706, seedless 414-622-704, seeded 2-1-2) — Movement expected about the same. Trading approximately 35 to 60 counts fairly active, 75-80s moderate, Miniature slow. Prices bins higher, miniature 6s lower, others generally unchanged. Red-flesh seedless-type 24-inch bins per pound approximately 35, 45 and 60 counts mostly 14 cents, 75-80s mostly 10 cents; red-flesh seedless miniature flat cartons 6s (supplies heavy) $4-6, 8-9s mostly $8. Quality variable.

MEXICO CROSSINGS THROUGH TEXAS — Crossings (190-211*-202**) — Movement expected to increase. Trading fairly active at lower prices. Prices lower. Red-flesh seedless-type 24-inch bins per pound approximately 36 and 45 counts mostly 20 cents, approximately 60 count mostly 18 cents. Quality variable. *revised **data incomplete

FLORIDA — Shipments (1-38-110, red-flesh seeded 0-12-28; red-flesh seedless 1-25-82) — Movement expected to increase. Trading fairly active. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seeded-type 35s 20-22 cents; red-flesh seedless-type 45s 23-24 cents, 60s 23-24 cents. Quality generally good.

CENTRAL AMERICA IMPORTS — Imports (65-53*-51, seedless 5-8*-4; seeded 0-0-0) — Imports via boat from Guatemala and Honduras. Movement expected to be about the same. Port of entry: South Florida. Supply fairly light. Trading moderate. Prices generally unchanged. Cartons flat red-flesh seedless miniature 6-8s $10-10.95. Red-flesh seedless cartons 4s mostly $13-14, 5s mostly $14-15. *revised.



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Kern County Produce

Demand for more colors spurs increase in pepper acres

Specialty colored peppers, whether full-sized or their pint-sized cousins, have become a sweet item for grower-shippers, prompting some to increase acreage this season.

During the past several years, Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World International LLC has enjoyed demand growth on its full-sized elongated sweet red and yellow peppers, marketed under the names Le Rouge Royale and Le Jaine Royale, respectively, said Natalie Erlendson, marketing manager.

This will be the third season that Sun World has offered retailers high-graphic bulk display bins on pallets that are similar to watermelon bins.

“Retailers put it in the front of their store, promote at an aggressive price, and they’re able to move significant volumes with this type of display,” she said. “They have been a successful promotional vehicle for a lot of our customers. They drop them on the floor on Friday, and by Sunday they’re empty.”

Sun World offers two formats — a full-size 2-foot high bin for larger format retailers and a half-size bin for smaller format stores or for retailers who want to split the displays within a store.

Production will transition in early June from the Coachella Valley to Kern County for about a six- to seven-week run, said Gene Coughlin, category director for overseas and domestic peppers. It will then move to California’s Central Coast.

In addition, Sun World markets sweet mini peppers in 1- and 2-pound high-graphics handled pouch bags, Erlendson said.

Sweet minis have become such a seller that the grower-shipper has increased its south San Joaquin Valley acreage twofold and its Coachella and Oxnard acreage by 50% this year, Coughlin said.

“I think it’s something that consumers are becoming more familiar with, and we’re seeing customer demand grow for this product,” Erlendson said. “It’s a unique item that can help grow the product category.”

Consumers’ quest for healthier snacks may be one factor driving demand, she said.

“Snacking is on the rise, and people are definitely looking for options other than potato chips or popcorn. Their sweet, mild flavor profile and how well they pair with dips like hummus or ranch make this is a great healthy snack option.”

Baloian Farms, Fresno, Calif., also will have red and yellow bells, sweet mini peppers and colored baby bells from Kern County this season, said Jay Angulo, salesman.

Production in the Arvin and Wasco areas helps bridge the gap between Coachella, Fresno County and the Westside.

Baloian Farms began growing and shipping sweet minis four to five years ago and has seen demand continue to increase, he said. The grower-shipper added colored sweet baby bells, marketed under the Bella Fina name, last year.

All of the peppers are marketed under the Pam Pak label, and most are packed in high-graphic handled bags.

“They’ve become almost a different category all by themselves,” Angulo said of the pint-sized colored sweet peppers. “People love that grab-and-go bag.”

In addition, Baloian Farms offers retailers high-graphics displays for the stand-up bags.

While the sweet minis lend themselves to snacking, the baby bells are more of a culinary item, such as for stuffing as an appetizer, Angulo said.


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