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Chuck Weisinger, president of Weis-Buy Farms Inc., had nothing but positive comments about the outlook for fresh produce in 2013. “I’m more optimistic about 2013 than in many years,” he told The Produce News March 13. “Nationwide people are eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and that means business will continue to improve.”

The company is headquartered in Fort Myers, FL, and Mr. Weisinger has been in the produce business for more than 50 years. Weis-Buy specializes in tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and watermelons.

Springtime in Florida is characterized by conditions favorable to fresh production with warm days, cool nights and little rainfall. The temperate weather contrasts sharply with conditions in Mexico, where a January freeze in the north adversely affected production of squash, cucumbers and tomatoes.

“Florida did not experience a freeze this year for the first time in several years,” Mr. Weisinger went on to say. Fewer crops were planted in both locations, and Mr. Weisinger expects spring prices will be higher as a result. “Produce should not accumulate, and there will be less shipped,” he continued, adding that the tomato suspension agreement pricing will also keep prices higher. “We anticipate Florida will have good supplies of vegetables by mid-April as the weather in Culiacan, Mexico heats up.”

Several years ago, Weis-Buy initiated a hothouse pepper deal and now grows and ships red, yellow and orange peppers from the Dominican Republic. “It is consistently among the best pepper in the country,” Mr. Weisinger noted. Labeled “Tropical Jewels,” the peppers ship from Pompano Beach, FL to customers in the Midwest and eastern United States. Weis-Buy also sources produce on a seasonal basis throughout the United States and is already gearing up for California commodities. With product from other states following suit, Weis-Buy is able to provide fresh items throughout the year.

Mr. Weisinger anticipates in increase in Mexican volume moving through McAllen, TX. As a result, the company has hired Danny Puchi. “It’s the goal of Weis-Buy to have someone available to look at the produce before it ships or have shipper assurances,” Mr. Weisinger said. “The Weis-Buy philosophy is to source the best possible fresh produce and deliver it in a timely manner.”