Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc. in Nogales, AZ, which is in the watermelon business year round and in hard shell squash, sweet corn, Italian squash and some other items seasonally, will have “pretty much the same program as we have in past years” for “the winter deal this year,” according to Jesus (Chuy) Lopez Jr., the company’s president.
“The volume hasn’t changed,” Mr. Lopez continued. “We will maintain about the same.”
In most other areas as well, “for the most part we will be the same,” he said. “We have the same staff here. We are trying to move forward and do the right thing for our customers.”
While many things may be unchanged this season at Big Chuy, one area that is dynamic is a continual effort to improve quality.
The company’s major focus is “the service and the quality that we provide,” Mr. Lopez said. “The consistency that we have day in and day out in watermelons and hard squash — the quality we offer — I think is on the top. We are very high on the scale there.
As part of that effort, “we have improved a lot of our varieties” in squashes and watermelons,” he said. “We have looked for better varieties that produce better in some regions than others” and have made the switch to the improved varieties wherever they will do well in a particular growing area.
It is because Big Chuy has production in various areas that the company is able to stay in the watermelon business twelve months of the year. During the fall and spring, Big Chuy’s melons come from Hermosillo and Guaymas in the state of Sonora in northern Mexico. “Right now we are in the state of Sonora,” Mr. Lopez said. That program started in October, “and we will be there until probably the first week or second week of December. Then we are going to the states of Jalisco and Nayarit” for the December-through-March period. “Then we will come back up to Sonora for the spring deal” that will run from March through July.
During the summer, the company has a California watermelon deal that runs from June through September, making the program year-round.
The melons are packed under the company’s “Chuy’s Pride” label.