“We’ve got a couple of new items this year,” said Steve Yubeta, vice president of sales at Farmer’s Best International LLC in Nogales, AZ. “They are European cucumbers and tomatoes-on-the-vine.” The company has been offering those new items through the winter, and they will continue into spring. “Thus far, we have had very positive feedback from all of our customers that have been receiving them,” he said Feb. 9. “It looks like it has worked out very well.”
The Euro cukes and TOVs are coming out of the company’s main ranch in La Cruz, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Thus far this season, “we have had good growing weather throughout the growing cycle,” Mr. Yubeta said. “We had some cooler temperatures about a month ago.” While a mid-February freeze did cause some damage in northern Mexico, fortunately for Farmer’s Best, “it was just cooler weather. It didn’t seem to affect anything long-term. As far as the quality, it has been outstanding all season.”
The company did have some fields planted in areas “that had some freezing temperatures,” he said. However, those crops were “still covered up, so it didn’t get to the point where it harmed anything.”
For the spring season, “we will be handling watermelons again … along with all of our normal vegetable items that we always do,” Mr. Yubeta said. The watermelons are being grown in Hermosillo, Sonora. Among the vegetable items will be squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers from the company’s ranches in Sinaloa.
The company will also have mangos and grapes. “The mangos should be starting within the next week to 10 days,” he said. “Again, it is looking like it is going to be a good season for those — the Ataulfos as well as all the red varieties we handle.”
With regard to the Farmer’s Best grape program, “it is early at this point, but everything indicates it is going to be a normal to a very good season.”
“Once again Farmer’s Best is going to have consistent supplies of our quality product [for customers], like we have in years past,” he said. “It looks like Mother Nature is doing her part.”
New on sales at Farmer’s Best for the 2012-13 season is Justin Lombardi, who joined the company last fall. Also on sales, along with Mr. Yubeta, are Jerry Wagner, director of sales and marketing, and Sasha Lewton, “who has been with us about four seasons now, and he is progressing very well.”
In the company’s McAllen, TX, office, “we’ve got Mario Cardenes” on sales, he said. “He is very focused on our mango program, but he sells the rest of our products as well.”