“We have been importing and distributing Chilean blueberries for the past few years,” said Nick Pacia, vice president of A.J. Trucco Inc., located on the Hunts Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY.
“This year for the first time we are delighted to announce that we will be offering domestic New Jersey blueberries under our own private label — ‘A.J. Trucco,’” he added.
The company also imports blueberries from Argentina. The newly added New Jersey program is a part of the company’s goal to offer the item year round.
Pacia explained that A.J. Trucco is currently planning to source from other areas both domestically and offshore, such as Michigan, Canada, Peru and others.
“We are also putting together an organic blueberry program,” said Pacia. “We have experienced an increase in demand for organic blueberries, as well as other organic products, so we are working to provide our customers with an organic option.”
A.J. Trucco began in 1937 amid the aisles of the old Washington Produce Market in downtown Manhattan. In 1965, Salvatore Vacca bought the company and relocated to the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market.
For three decades, he grew and transformed the company into a successful enterprise. In 1999, he partnered with Nick Pacia and together they continued A.J. Trucco.
Trucco has a long tradition of importing and distributing Italian chestnuts, and it has expanded it’s list of available commodities to include kiwifruit, citrus, grapes and figs, as well as a wide array of dried fruits and nuts.
Regarding this year’s New Jersey crop of blueberries, Pacia said that company representatives visited its New Jersey farm in late May and the fruit was coming along nicely.
“At this time [June 2], we are expecting nice volumes from our crops with good-sized berries,” said Pacia. “Our season is going to start around June 20 and we expect volumes to pick up during the first week in July.”
He explained that blueberry demand is on the rise, which is why A.J. Trucco decided to expand with a domestic program.
“Consumers are learning about the wonderful health benefits of blueberries, including the high amount of antioxidants they contain, and so they are buying more and more blueberries,” said Pacia. “Blueberries are also a great snack for kids and that too has contributed to how popular the item has become and is helping to push the continued growth in demand.”