Courtesy Fruit Royale Inc.Fruit Royale Inc., Delano, Calif., offers random weight zip-close bags of Mexican green grapes under its Fruit Royale brand. The company also offers 2-pound fixed bags, but theese are more expensive and time-consuming to pack, managing partner Louie Galvan says.Fresh Farms opens warehouse
Grower-shipper Fresh Farms is opening a grape warehouse next to its current facility in Rio Rico, Ariz., just in time for the Mexican grape season.
Director of sales and marketing Jerry Havel said the new warehouse is slightly smaller than the existing facility, with storage for up to 75 loads, but capacity should double next year after the company installs a rack system.
The original building can hold 80 loads, Havel said.
International Fruit Co. markets for Chiquita
The new International Fruit Co., based in Charlotte, N.C., plans to source its first grapes from Mexico this spring as the exclusive licensee of Chiquita Brands International.
“IFC will perform as importer and will work with quality grapes to get the best results on sales for growers and customers,” said Chiquita veteran David Espinoza, now IFC’s president and sourcing director.
He sees this year’s prices and market for Mexican grapes as very similar to previous years.
“Red seedless volume from Chile is always a big volume at the end of the season, but the market is reacting well on consumption and promotions,” he said.
MAS Melons partner expands storage
One of the four Mexican partners of Nogales, Ariz.-based MAS Melons & Grapes LLC has quadrupled his storage facility in Mexican grapes, said major shareholder Miguel Suarez, who distributes 70% of the Molina Group’s harvest.
“We keep improving our pre-cooling facility and capacity,” Suarez said. “We’re working on improving our yields and quality using different techniques, trying to keep up with technology.”
Oppenheimer Group expects more grapes
Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group says its Mexican grape volume could increase by more than 50% compared to last year’s program.
“With the addition of new growers and increased acreage coming into production, we are able to expand our offerings this season,” said Marc Serpa, director of domestic grapes.
Oppenheimer works with four well-established growers producing the full range of preferred varieties, including autumn and summer royals, flames, perlettes, thompsons and red globes, Serpa said.
The program includes zip bags, handle bags, clamshells and RPCs, all packed under the Oppenheimer brand.
Pacific Trellis Fruit increases volume
Fresno, Calif.-based Pacific Trellis Fruit plans to pack about 1 million boxes out of Mexico this year from its two main growers.