Altar Produce ramping up volume and staff
Responding to market changes through more partnerships; emphasizing consistent promotion and ramping up staff make up the playbook for Altar’s upcoming Peru season.
“We have plans to continue our Peru program and are looking for more growers who want to partner with us on consignment,” said Chris Ramirez, president of Altar Produce in Calexico, CA. “Working on a consignment basis makes it easier to market the product. It helps us react better to markets. It’s where the future is headed for Peru and it will make Peru stronger.”
Ramirez emphasized the important role of marketing and promoting in stabilizing markets and supply. “It’s crucial for companies to promote and for the growers to be aware of good marketing companies who promote their product correctly,” he said. “We want to work with customers to actively promote product. Market conditions every year are getting more difficult and it’s becoming a real challenge to get good returns back to the ranch. The only thing that will help is everyone doing his or her bit and actively promoting.”
Altar has invested significantly in expanding its people, adding a new procurement team to head up the Miami office and ramping up sales personnel in its San Diego office on the West Coast.
“Moises Celaya joins our Peru Category team tackling procurement working hand-in-hand with Andy Garcia, our veteran East Coast sales manager,” said Ramirez. “We are expanding because we need to be ready for the growth we’re forecasting for Altar.”
This year Altar looks to handle 11 million boxes of fresh asparagus from all source areas, according to Ramirez. “Our overall yearly growth is expected to be 10-15 percent for asparagus,” he said. “We are focusing on more volume during the time periods outside of February through April. We want to see a 30-35 percent growth per year during key time periods and especially during the November-to-January holiday times.”