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Farmer’s Best has slight increases across the board, two new people on sales

Farmer’s Best International LLC in Nogales, AZ, does not have major increases in any of its products out of Mexico for the 2013-14 season, but “we have a slight increase on almost everything,” said Steve Yubeta, vice president of sales, in an interview with The Produce News.

The company’s main commodities are cucumbers, green bells, red bells, round tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, Italian squash, yellow squash, grey squash, Kabocha squash, table grapes and mangos, he said.

Already started were the cucumbers, green bells, squash and grape tomatoes. “The tomato products should start around the 15th [of December], and red peppers between the 10th and 15th,” he said.

Farmers-BeSteve Spence, who is in sales at Farmers Best, with some green squash at the company’s warehouse in Rio Rico, AZ. (Photo by John Groh)So far, everything has been either on time or, for certain commodities, up to five days behind schedule. “We have had weather issues which have gone through the growing area,” but fortunately for Farmer’s Best they “haven’t played a part in delaying us any significant amount. Unlike some other growers in Mexico, weather problems did not necessitate any replanting.”

Mangos will start in March, and grapes are a spring program.

“We are looking forward to another long season where we’ve got steady supplies for all of our customers from beginning to end,” he said.

“We’re excited about some of the personnel changes” in the sales department, Yubeta said.

New on sales this year is Ruben Penunuri. Previously, he worked in production at EuroFresh in Wilcox, AZ. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona.

Returning to the sales desk is Steve Spence, who had been on sales at Farmer’s Best and in the interim has worked for Malena Produce Inc. and Green Point Distributing LLC.

Yubeta himself was named vice president of sales earlier this year after the retirement of Jerry Wagner, director of sales and marketing, who had been with the company 27 years. Also on sales are Sasha Lewton and Mario Cardenes. Cardenes staffs the company’s Texas facility, Yubeta said.

“We are planning on doing more through our Texas facility” this year, he said. “That has worked for us quite well.” Last year, “we saw that we did between 30 and 35 percent” of the company’s volume through the Texas facility, “and we see that only increasing this year.”

The product crosses at McAllen, but the Farmer’s Best Texas facility is located in nearby Edinburg.