Weis-Buy Farms Inc., is expanding its Dominican Republic greenhouse pepper deal.
Over the past year, the Fort Myers, Fla.-based marketer and growers" agent has tripled the number of loads of colored bell peppers it ships from the Caribbean country.
For this season, it plans to load up to 10 trailers a week of red, yellow and orange peppers, compared to the three trailers a week it shipped last year, said Chuck Weisinger, president and chief executive officer.
This winter will be the fourth year Weis-Buy plans to ship product from Dominican Republic greenhouse growers which grow and ship from 494 acres of production and packing facilities in Constanza and Ocoa, Dominican Republic.
Weis-Buy receives the containers at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for assembling and shipment for straight and less than load orders from Pompano Beach, Fla., Weisinger said.
Though the company could import from other northeastern U.S. ports, handling the product at the Florida port provides Weis-Buy more control over quality, he said.
The Dominican Republic growers also grow greenhouse miniature cucumbers, cubanelle peppers and vine-ripe tomatoes.
This winter, Weisinger said he plans to offer the small cucumbers six to a pack and said the offering that would work well in children"s school lunch boxes.
Because the greenhouses are on mountains up to 4,000 feet above sea level, the moderate temperatures allow year-round production, said Michael Shapiro, salesman.
The less expensive sturdy plastic greenhouses keep costs low, he said.
As an experiment, Shapiro said he recently shipped two pallets of peppers shipped from shipped from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to Florida, then trucked them to Philadelphia for loading on a container for shipment to Puerto Rico.
Shapiro said the quality remained high through the longer transit.
"We are receiving good quality from the boats coming in," Weisinger said. "The markets are competitive but we are anxious to compete with product from Holland and other places."
Weis-Buy also ships organic greenhouse vegetables and Weisinger said retail use of the product has doubled since 2012.
The greenhouse production is certified by Primus Labs in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Founded in 1991, Weis-Buy ships a full line of vegetables, tomatoes and melons to wholesalers serving retail and foodservice customers throughout the U.S.