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Ciruli Bros. LLC in Nogales, AZ, is involved in marketing a number of vegetable commodities from Mexico throughout the fall and winter season. Come spring, the company continues with many of its vegetable items and also adds mangos to the mix. Mangos, and particularly the yellow Ataulfo variety which Ciruli Bros. markets under the brand name “Champagne Mango,” are a major focus for the firm.

This spring, Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer at Ciruli Bros., expects to see an increase in mango volume,004-NogalesSpring-CiruliChris Ciruli both for the company and for the industry as a whole, in the U.S. market.

“We always hope to increase in the mango deal,” Mr. Ciruli told The Produce News. “The mango deal out of Mexico, not only for ourselves but just the deal in general, has been growing at about a 10 to 15 percent clip a year, and I don’t see anything that would hold that back.”

At Ciruli Bros., “we will start swinging into [the mango program] about the 18th [of February],” starting with the “Champagne” mangos, he said. Some other Ataulfo shippers had already started. “They were already crossing some stuff in Texas last weekend. We are about 14 days away from first harvest. We are waiting for more maturity — waiting for the fruit to get a little bit sweeter on the tree. Then we should start harvesting right around Presidents Day weekend. I look for light volume those last two weeks of February, and then I really look for that crop to step up and be promotable volume by the month of March.”

Ciruli sources its mangos from various parts of Mexico ranging from the state of Nayarit to northern Sinaloa. “

As of late February and early March, Ciruli Bros. expects to be “in full swing on our Culiacan crops” with “very good volume coming, promotable numbers” on such items as Roma and round tomatoes, Mr. Ciruli said

By then, also, “we will be on a new crop of green beans that will last us till about May. And we will still have good volumes of green, red, yellow and orange [bell] peppers coming from the hothouses.”

From late February through March is “when you will see a lot of items coming out of the Culiacan area” and with that, “a lot of promotable prices, whether it be cucumbers, eggplants or peppers.”

In its bell pepper program this year, Ciruli Bros. will see an increase in production of the elongated “Le Rouge” style pepper grown open-field, Mr. Ciruli said. “This year … instead of growing all hothouse red bells, we also grew the open-field Le Rouge red bell, so in February and March we will see an increase in that outside red bell. I think from the foodservice perspective, they like it better” than hothouse-grown blocky-style reds.

During peak volume time in February and March of last year, Ciruli Bros. was “still struggling with” completion of a major remodeling project in its McAllen, TX warehouse, doubling the capacity of that facility, Mr. Ciruli said. This year, “it’s nice to be going into the season when all of our facilities are ready to go and we are not dealing with any construction issues. I am hoping it will make our lives and our customers’ lives a little easier” during peak volume time in February and March. With both the Nogales and the Texas warehouses now operating at full capacity, “it should make the flow of product more manageable for everyone.”