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Paradise Produce Distributors always on the lookout for new items

As full-line produce distributors operating out of Lakeland, FL, Paradise Produce Distributors Inc. handles just about every commodity in the world with a full line of fruits and vegetables, including imports such as cantaloupe, honeydew and asparagus.

“Florida, because of our location, is very important to us and we have a huge production area,” said Joel Silverman, president of the company. “We had a hurricane come through here recently that did quite a bit of damage, and while it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, it definitely put people behind here.”SubstandardFullSizeRenderJim Spooner, Joel Silverman and Gerald Cassano.

To that end, Paradise Produce Distributors was running about a month behind on most of its crops as of mid-November.

“Most of the plants that were already in the ground had to be replanted again,” Silverman said. “The people that use transplants out of the greenhouse, there’s only an X number of those available so there wasn’t enough for the state to fully fill in for what was needed. That’s going to lead to a decrease in volume to some extent, plus we’re going to be a little bit later coming in.”

The company specializes in putting together “mixers” so a buyer can make one call and Paradise Produce Distributors will put full loads, including anywhere from 25 to 30 different commodities on it.

“Everything is important to us,” Silverman said. “We hate to lose business because we can’t get something, but when you’re relying on Mother Nature to provide you with crops, sometimes you get a curveball thrown at you.”

When that happens, he said, it’s important to react smartly, and service the customer out of some other area, whether that’s Mexico, Texas or any other area that’s producing. It’s a commitment that the company takes seriously.

While nothing major is in the cards for 2018, Silverman did note that there are always changes made in some varieties of certain produce.

“For example, every year we have new varieties of strawberries and there are different strains of things as they try to improve and ride better in transit,” he said. “We’re always on the lookout for new items to present to our customers, whether it’s a new type vegetable or fruit, or new packaging technique they can use to increase value.”