Late Easter means big sales for vegetables and more, shippers say

02/11/2011 03:43:16 PM
Jim Offner

Alberto Maldonado, general manager of Nogales-based Apache Produce Co., said Easter is a bonus to business, whenever it comes.

“We get good demand before any holiday,” he said.

San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce prefers a later Easter, said Mark Munger, vice president of marketing.

“I think it tends to suit the produce industry,” he said. “They keep things active and it keeps a lot of interest pre-Easter. A lot of people get excited about Easter and we run a lot of ads and we always run into this little slowdown post-Easter.”

It’s not just Easter’s timing that is working out well this year, Munger said.

“All the holidays are kind of playing themselves out nicely this year,” he said. “They’re spaced very nicely.”

He mentioned Thanksgiving and Christmas coming one month apart, as well as Easter and Memorial Day, coming at roughly that interval.

A later Easter will create promotional opportunities for more than vegetables, said Steve Yubeta, vice president of sales at Nogales-based Farmer’s Best International LLC.

“It seems like we’ll be able to participate more with our spring crops with some melons in a small way, versus last year or other years when they weren’t quite ready, when production got started after the holiday,” he said.

Look for plenty of retail promotions on watermelons, said Brent Harrison, president of Nogales-based Al Harrison Co. Distributors.

“A late Easter is going to be great for our watermelons,” he said. “We normally see a big push for that time period.”

There will be lots of Easter ads, said Bob Shipley, owner of Nogales-based Shipley Sales Service.

“Quite a few chains feature asparagus for Easter, and that means starting about the second week in April or even a little before that,” he said. “But you still have to deal with February and March. And a lot depends on if California comes off early or late.

“Their acreage is reported to be declining, but Mexico’s is increasing slightly.”


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