Grapeco Farms finding success in its initial year
Veteran grape salesman Jared Lane, who is the co-owner of Delano, CA-based Grapeco Farms LLC, admits it was a big decision to start his own company with partner Robert Caneda earlier this year.
But it wasn’t as gut wrenching as one might think. “We had the opportunity to go out and start our own company,” he said without trepidation. “I figured I’d try it and if it didn’t work out, I could always go work for somebody else.”
Eight months later, Lane said it has worked out and the company’s business model has proven to be successful. “At Grapeco we decided we would handle nothing but the best fruit,” he said. “There is not a lot of room for mediocre grapes in this business.”
He said the company is working with many good growers in California and elsewhere to provide its customers with a solid, year-round consistent supply of top-notch grapes. “We started out with a very big deal out of Mexico and now we are in California with good volume,” Lane said, noting that both Peru and Chile will add volume to the Grapeco’s product mix as those deals get underway in the winter and spring.
He said the California deal will run well into December with a full line-up of grape varieties, including Ivory, Sweet Globe and Autumn King on the green side and Krissy, Jack’s Salute, Sweet Celebration and Allison carrying the red grape load. Lane expects to handle close to 2 million cartons of California grapes this season.
Discussing the grape marketing situation in mid-August, he said after a slow start in July “movement on greens is phenomenal. Demand is well above average due to the many newer varieties which really have great flavor. The red market isn’t quite as good, but I expect that to get better as we move forward.”
Lane said if California is shipping about 4 million boxes each week, the market can handle that with solid FOB pricing.Grapeco Farms is doing its part with a good team that includes Lane, as chief executive officer, Caneda as president and Marc Serpa as vice president of sales. Lane handles much of the sales with Caneda running the operational end of the business.
Serpa is involved in several aspects of the company including handling the imports and logistics as well as sales.